Tom Cloots (TC), the man behind the latest in the M-Press stable from Agfa, explains what makes this addition worth the investment. By Christel Lee from PrintPackPublish Asia.
GPM: Can you share with us the biggest selling point of the M-Press as it may appear to be just another wide-format press?
TC: It's the fastest in its class; it's also the machine with the lowest ink consumption. It translates to lower cost-per-print offered to customers. Additionally, with the ultra-fine drops of ink, the quality of the printout will be very detailed and sharp – making it comparable to offset quality. The automation also allows customers to save on labour cost.
The M-Press also has a large colour gamut due to high density and pigment loading. Combine that with thin ink layers, and it gives Agfa a very unique position. You can easily spot machines at the show offering fast speeds, high quality and thin ink layers. But to have them incorporated into one, it's only M-Press at our booth.
GPM: Can you elaborate on the curing aspect of the M-Press, apart from it using the UV inks by Agfa?
TC: The curing is done in two steps. The first is the curing of UV inks with minimal pin curing, providing minimal energy without heating the substrates. As heating plastic substrates may expand or shrink the material which will result in inaccuracy in printing. The M-Press prints on an accuracy of 5um.
Thereafter is the post-curing step, this is done in a separate curing station on the M-Press tiger thus not loosing any speed for the curing process.
GPM: With that, what would you conclude as the biggest selling point?
TC: The quality combined with the running cost would be the biggest selling point. Another would be the upgradability. Many pieces of equipment have a life span and upgrading can be a challenge especially when certain technologies become obsolete. That results in customers having to dispose of the whole piece and invest in a brand new machine.
You can avoid that with Agfa equipment. You just need to change the print heads and shuttle, which means you are able to have the latest version at a reasonable cost. Parts are replacable.
GPM: I do pick up a hint of "economies of scale" with the features you have mentioned of the M-Press. Is there a specific industry or clientele that this M-Press is targeted at?
TC: It's targeted at the high-end screen printers whose run lengths are on average of above 100 sheets, and depending on system of 200,000 square metres (Leopard version) and between 400,000 and 2 million square metres (Tiger version). So it's for the screen printers with a four-colour print line, as it can shave a big chunk of costs from typical screen printing.
We have also received response from customers who print on metal plates and those who need special industrial applications – those not doing point-of-sale/purchase business. But that was where we started.
GPM: How would you rank yourself? 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent)?
TC: With the M-Press, we can rank ourselves at 5. So far it's the only fully automated, with screen printing able to be incorporated, fastest in its line. But of course, it's for you to judge!
About Tom Cloots
Cloots has been with Agfa for 18 years and started in Research and Development and evolved after 10 years to Marketing and Business oriented functions.