Observations on the Gretag Arizona 180, digital screen press; Arizona 30 (Gerber Orion), and the new Gretag Arizona 1100-3, grand format solvent ink printer.

The Gretag Arizona 180 prints about 52" wide on 54" media (compared to 60" of the HP 5000 and 72" of the ColorSpan DisplayMaker XII). Resolution is 360 dpi, as typical of solvent ink printers with Xaar or Xaar-like piezo printheads. This Arizona is also called a" digital screen press," probably to encourage everyone from the screen press generation to switch to digital. When first introduced in 1998 this printer carried a price tag of about $64,000. I don't know that the street price is currently. The Arizona uses six inks.

The Arizona 30 was the former ANAgraph Spectrum which was spun off and re-branded as the Gerber Orion (also Spandex). It's a $40,000 printer, extremely slow, with generic banding due to its Xaar printheads and solvent ink system.

The Gretag Arizona 1100-3 is just four colors, rather a surprise considering that Vutek 2360 offers six. Press publications quote the Arizona's top speed as 1100 sq ft per hour, with no warning that this implys "draft" quality. The Gretag brochure, in distinction, says this speed is "great for billboards viewed at 10 meters" which is 30 feet away. Will have to see whether draft speed holds up even at that distance. That's the difference between a trade magazine and a FLAAR report. We don't use press releases, we try to ascertain the facts.

Summary: the Gretag Arizona 180 is (so far) our favorite solvent ink printer. Better quality than the Mutoh Albatros (renamed Mutoh Tomahawk, with a numeral designation in other parts of the world). The Gretag Arizona 1100-3 is priced at roughly $250,000, about what to expect for a SuperWide inkjet printer. Since Vutek, Nur, and ScitexVision have already staked out the grand format printer world, it will be interesting to see how a four-color printer survives in that crowded market.


Most recently updated August 02, 2001.