Output road test: Seiko I Infotech ColorPainter W-64S
What do you think?
POST A COMMENT
By Sophie Matthews-Paul
13 January 2012
The Seiko I Infotech ColorPainter W-64S in Colourgen's Maidenhead showroom [photograph courtesy Melanie Enser]
There are plenty of sign-makers and display producers whose main bread-and-butter work consists of swift and reliable output on a roll-fed machine that's sensibly priced and easy to use. Despite rumours of its imminent decline, there is still plenty of room for mild solvent-based printers within the armoury of many businesses, and Seiko I Infotech's ColorPainter W duo represents a good workhorse option.
Users wanting to output onto vinyls, banner media and back-lits, digital textiles and other coated and uncoated materials using solvent-based inks have a choice of two sizes with the Seiko ColorPainter W-64S or its smaller W-54S. These come in 1.62m and 1.37m widths, along with a choice of colour options, and I've just revisited the larger machine at UK distributor, Colourgen, to see how it performs with its IX low-odour, HAPS-free inks.
The print-head design and configuration of the W-64S has a maximum resolution of 900 x 900dpi, with piezo-electronic technology that features dynamic dot printing. This means it jets three different droplet sizes on each pass and, with these being twelve, 24 or 36pl, the unit's respectable production speed isn't compromised with any loss in density.
These heads also incorporate Seiko II's smart nozzle mapping, a feature not normally found in modestly priced machines. This means that print-head nozzles can be remapped if clogging happens and production can continue unhindered without any compromise to speed or quality. This facility also reduces the need for print-head replacements.
Quality is also helped with Seiko I Infotech's smart pass technology which uses an interweaving algorithm that removes banding and lets users print with fewer passes on many jobs. Combining this with improved dot patterns has resulted in sharp, crisp text with good graduated tints and strong areas of solid colour. Detail in darker areas is particularly good on this machine, showing a nice wide gamut even on tricky shadows, which can often appear dull and murky.
The ink choice means that users can either opt for Seiko II's original low-solvent EG-Outdoor GX inks or for the new IX version, with the latter being supplied in bags designed specifically for the printer's reloadable cartridge feature. This formulation should appeal to companies who want the benefits of solvent-based ink durability and bright colours without residual odour, and means that prints are suitable for more sensitive and enclosed environments.
The W-64S and the smaller W-54S have four- and six-colour options and average throughput speeds of 17sq m/hr. Able to handle rolls of material up to 50m in length, drying is controlled by a three-way independently controlled heating system.
The media handling benefits from a tension mechanism that controls any drag, keeping the roll feeding consistently throughout the reel, from start to its core, removing the need for manual adjustments and ensuring consistent image quality during the printing cycle. There's also an optional take-up system, blower/dryer, and cutting unit.
Anyone wanting a good workhorse machine should look at this unit. It's suitable for sign-makers, display producers and PSPs, plus in-plant and commercial printers, who want a low-cost rugged solution that does what it says on the tin. It's also a good entry-level machine for businesses moving into wide-format print for the first time.
The W-64S is suitable for most roll-fed applications, including banners, displays, posters, exhibition and event graphics and vehicle liveries. This machine is also suitable for output onto any of today's digital textile materials available for mild solvent-based printers.
The Seiko I Infotech W-64S starts at £14,995, and the smaller W-54S costs from £13,995.
Pros and cons
These are well-made units which plug into a standard 13amp socket, and are easy to set up and run. Colour strength and a surprisingly wide gamut are definite benefits. On the downside there are no specials such as white or metallic, and extras like a take-up unit aren't included in the basic machine price.
Seiko I Infotech made its return to its ColorPainter models at the beginning of 2009, after a three-year break, with the result that the company now has a sensibly sized portfolio of printers which are well suited to a broad range of display applications. These aren't fancy printers but their wide gamut and good print-head performance give users the results they want without any fuss or fiddly messing about.
Ease of use: 5/5
Comments in chronological order (Total 1 comments)
13 January 2012 12:50PM
If you are interested in looking at or are considering the ColorPainter W-Series printers, we are including the take-up free of charge until the end of March.