Durst Rho 160 is one of the tried and trusted UV curable inkjet printers.

Durst was one of the first major companies to produce a UV-flatbed ink printer, their Durst Rho 160. Vutek followed with the PressVu ; Inca came out with the Eagle. Today (2006), a dozen UV-curable inkjet printers are available. By 2005 more than 50 different brands and models were available from over 30 manufacturers. Inca alone makes five models; Durst now has its fifth model.

The original Durst Rho 160 and the first Vutek cost over $460,000. These are industrial strength printers, not for the neighborhood sign shop.

In the last year the prices have tumbled as Korea , Taiwan , and Mainland China have launched lower-priced UV-curable ink flatbeds. DuPont has their printers manufactured by Flora in China , for example.

But buyer beware: not a single Chinese printer passed even the most rudimentary portions of the FLAAR standards for UV-curable ink flatbeds. None of the Chinese printers were past beta stage at the ISA trade show in early 2004.

By October 2004, several Chinese printers were no longer being shown. One main Korean brand disappeared (at least it was not at SGIA). Seemingly Hypernics and Azero Creon both have disappeared. The Oce Arizona T220 UV has been withdrawn permanently (but Oce of course is doing fine and will have more printers later in 2006).

What happened if your company had put a quarter of a million dollars into such a printer, on the premise that an Asian model cost less than a Durst! The word is cheaper, not “costs less.” If you can't get repair parts, the printer is not a good deal. And if the resale value is zilch because the company has gone out of business or because that model has been abandoned, your investment has shrunk to zero.

We recognize that eventually Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese printers will be worthy of our FLAAR certification, but we will have to see their quality in the manufacturing plant and then the printers will have to pass inspection in site-visit case studies. The Durst Rho passed our scrutiny in a successful print shop in Toledo , Ohio . This Durst Rho 160 is repaying its original purchase price plus providing a tidy profit.

The Durst Rho 160 is produced by a known and reputable company; it is backed by an international service organization that has already been proven for years (through the Durst Lambda printers); and the Rho can be seen to function well when we do a site-visit case study. Now you know why we recommend this printer.

Since deciding whether to select a Durst, an Inca, or a Vutek is a costly decision "which UV curable inkjet printer to buy?" or, "should I buy now or wait one more year..." you might want to hire Dr Hellmuth as a consultant in this matter. He collects facts from the leading trade shows in Europe and across the USA . Plus he has access to a fascinating amount of rather interesting information.

Recently a Fortune 500 company hired Professor Hellmuth to accompany them at SGIA for an entire day, to go with them to every single UV curable inkjet printer booth (so Nicholas could translate the mumbo-jumbo into actual reality). Besides, Nicholas got the visitors past the receptionist straight to the pertinent technical people who really knew the printers. You definitely get attention when you visit a booth with the author of the FLAAR Reports.

For additional information and for help making your decision , order the "FLAAR report series for UV inkjet printing on thick and/or rigid material." This report series includes lots of useful information. We found one flatbed which even prints on round objects or material with rough or uneven surface. Sounds like a practical printer to have for a large sign shop. You can definitely get ahead of your local competition in your home city if you had a versatile printer such as this.

These FLAAR reports have been updated based on inspecting printers at trade shows during 2004 and all 2005, both across the USA and in Europe .

Starting in 2005 we have moved all FLAAR coverage of UV-curable and solvent inkjet printers to our sister site, www.large-format-printers.org . The present wide-format site will concentrate on water-based printers from Canon, ColorSpan, Encad, Epson, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, and others.

So if you wish to learn more about the newer Durst Rho printers, such as the Durst Rhopac or Durst Rho 600, take a look at our other site, www.large-format-printers.org .