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A solidly built flatbed with attractive pricing from Russia.

What does the software do?
The BigJet is a wide-format flatbed printer, with a large 3.1x2.02m bed that takes substrates up to 105mm in height and 50kg in weight. The bed itself is divided into four vacuum zones. It’s been designed and built by a Russian company, BigPrinter, which started off as a reseller for well-known wide-format brands into the Russian market, before building its own range of CNC cutters followed by a range of printers.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
The BigJet printer itself has been sold in the Russian market for around two years but is only just becoming available in the British Isles, having been taken on by a local reseller, Conversion-UK.
It’s available in two versions, with the Standard model competing against entry-level flatbed printers while the Professional version is targeting the mid-market where in both cases it offers a solid build quality for a competitive price.
In addition, it can print directly to glass without needing a primer and can achieve some very nice tactile effects.

How does it work?
It’s a UV flatbed, using conventional curing lamps with air cooling on the carriage to keep the media from overheating.
It takes up to eight heads for CMYK plus light cyan, light magenta, white and varnish in whatever configuration is required.
It’s fitted with Konica Minolta 1024i heads, with a choice between 6pl or 13pl native drop sizes, giving users a choice between better image quality or faster speeds. These are greyscale heads, with up to eight levels from 0 to 42pl.

How do the models differ?
The BigJet is available in two versions. The Standard configuration uses 120W UV lamps and comes with a PhotoPrint RIP. It has a recirculation system for white ink.
The Professional variant gains a number of advantages, including much more powerful 200W lamps. It also has a linear motor for moving the print carriage on the X-axis as well as linear encoders for the X and Y axis. The white channels are fitted with a slightly different version of the 1024i heads to extend the recirculating system through the printheads. There is a smaller LS model available in Russia and due to arrive in the UK later this year. This has a 2.7x1.3m bed and LED curing and should be cheaper.

How fast is it?
For the Standard version, the 6pl heads produce 20-28m²/hr with a maximum resolution of 1,016x1,440dpi, while the 13pl versions print at 21-30m²/hr with resolution up to 720x1,440dpi.
For the Professional version, Print speeds for the 6pl heads range from 28-39m²/hr at 1,270x1,440 dpi while the 13pl version runs at 30-43m²/hr with resolution up to 1,016x1,440dpi.

What is the USP?
They are solidly built machines at a reasonably low price. Colin Price, one of the partners in Conversion-UK, says that the build quality of the standard machine rivals all the other mid-range belt-driven machines but at a lower price. The professional model includes many other features normally associated with more expensive machines, including the use of a linear drive for the movement of the print carriage, with a Renishaw Gold linear encoder accurate to 1 micron for positional accuracy and two more of these encoders both sides of the machine for crossbeam positional accuracy. He states: “For front or back printing the machine can control both ends of the crossbeam ensuring accuracy.”

How easy is it to use?
The installation including training normally takes four or five days. Conversion-UK says that everything on the Bigjet is accessible for easy cleaning and maintenance.

What training and support is on offer?
The price includes a 12-month warranty covering all parts and labour on the machine, excluding printheads. Conversion works with Dennison Group, which provides installation and support, including 20 field engineers. Dennison can respond to calls or emails within an hour, during office hours.