The GRAPO Manta has now been exhibited at SGIA 09 as GRAPO moves towards opening a distributor network in the US. Previously, since 2004, GRAPO has been available on all continents except North America. Now these UV-cured printers, including the Octopus II and Shark are now available in America.
Since trade shows are too busy and hectic to really do a full study of any brand of printer, the Grapo staff invited FLAAR to visit their factory in the Czech Republic in 2006 and then for another three days during summer 2008. So for day after day it was possible to inspect the Grapo Manta and theGrapo Octopusinside-out, since we could study them along the assembly line.
Grapo Manta UV that we saw and photographed in the Bedigital booth at FESPA Digital trade show, May 2006. We will be able to learn much more about this interesting UV-curable flatbed printer when we visit the Grapo factory in the Czech Republic after Photokina trade show. It is important to document that this printer is Made in Europe. It is not made in China. Plus, tech support is also provided by Bedigital if you buy it from Bedigital (in those countries that this company covers).
As a result we are substantially updating our reports on these printers for autumn 2008. Eventually it even became possible to undertake a site-visit case study in Germany. But even before the site-visit inspection, so far the reputation for this Manta flatbed is better than some of the other flatbeds; the Mimaki JF-1631, for example, has innumerable minor issues. All the problems of the Mimaki are explained in the FLAAR Reports on this printer.
The first company that realized the importance of arranging a factory visit was actually Raster Printers. We spent a week there. As a result ourFLAAR Reports on this printeris among our most comprehensive.
Then MacDermid ColorSpan arranged for us to visit their factory in Minneapolis. Everything we learned here made it possible to prepare athrough report on the ColorSpan 9840uv.
We are now waiting for visits to the factories of other UV-curable inkjet printers. The invitation has already arrived to visit the factory of the Sun/IncaFastJet. Earlier last year (2008) a visit to the two Durst factories has resulted in two new reports (see vertical column of free reports).
FLAAR Reports now available on other dedicated flatbed UV-curable printers
More and more manufacturers are producing dedicated roll-to-roll or dedicated flatbed printers. This reminds us that a hybrid machine cant be perfect at both roll-fed and rigid material. There is no hybrid vigor in UV-printer design like there is in evolution, where a hybrid may be better than its progenitors. So far, a dedicated flatbed handles flat, thick, and rigid materials better than any hybrid (a ColorSpan 5240uv ; HP Designjet45500now is an example of a hybrid that failed; the Keundo hybrid and all Neolt hybrids have also not succeeded in the marketplace). If a printer has a moving transport belt is should be called a combo, but there is no consistency in the industry, so each printer manufacturer mixes up the term hybrid. Hybrid is a slightly derogative term, since pinch rollers are not capable of moving most heavy thick materials: a combo transport belt is best and a dedicated flatbed is also obviously apt for thick rigid materials.
•Gandinnovations Jeti flatbed(two reports: evaluation and site-visit)
•Luscher JetPrint(two reports: evaluation and site-visit)
•NUR Tempo, Tempo II and Tempo Q (eval combined with notes from site-visit). This flatbed is now the HPScitex FB6100.
•Oce Arizona 250 GT(the FLAAR Report indicates which crucial flat materials do NOT work with the Sericol ink in this otherwise nice printer).
Since October 2007, a curious new flatbed competitor has been launched, the Gerber Solaraion dedicated flatbed printer. The cationic ink chemistry is a bit unusual, and in the beginning, a bit cationic (pun obvious). Fortunately that ink chemistry has matured and now offers better functionality. Recently another flatbed competitor appeared on the market, theTeckStormfrom Teckwin. If you are tempted by the TeckStorm, be absolutely sure you get your hands on the FLAAR Report first, as we have updated our evaluation during 2009.
The advantage of the GRAPO Manta is that this is a serious production printer. The GRAPO company is a printshop (literally, they print banners, billboards, and POP signage). GRAPO designs and manufacturers the Manta to produce its own signage. This is the only flatbed printer in the world that is made by a sign shop. So they make sure that their own printer is functional yet reasonably priced.
The Manta flatbed is outselling the Mimaki JF-1631 flatbed because of more reliable engineering on the Manta. You can obtain the FLAAR Reports on the Mimaki from our separate web site whereall of the hundreds of FLAAR Reports can be ordered. When you compare the Mimaki JF-1631 with the GRAPO Manta flatbed UV printer you see an easier cleaning system on the Manta as well. There are also advantages to the printhead used in the Manta and several flukes in the Toshiba Tec head in the Mimaki (again, discussed in the Mimaki JF-1631 report from FLAAR).
No matter what brand of UV flatbed you select, a cutter will be necessary too
To finish your UV print you will eventually need a flatbed cutter. These are available from companies such as
FLAAR is currently evaluating the Kongsberg flatbed cutter-routers as well as workflow, JDF, PDF, and MIS software from EskoArtwork.
The Grapo Manta UV dedicated flatbed printer at FESPA Digital trade show 2006.
The GRAPO Manta flatbed UV printer have a easier cleaning system. FESPA Amsterdam 2009.
GRAPO had a booth at SGIA 2009 in October
If you are in the US, Canada, or Latin America, you can now inspect the GRAPO Manta dedicated flatbed printer at a major American trade show, SGIA 2009. GRAPO exhibited in this part of the world for the first time this October.
Grapo was a well intentioned company which had a good potential future. But their high-end model was not able to compete with Durst, Scitex Vision (HP) or NUR (also HP), nor with efi VUTEk.
Grapo printer division was reformed as SigmaJet, but that in effect no longer exists.
The status of spare parts is thus an unknown. Also, is full service available in your part of the world (if you buy a used model)?
Most recently updated November 28, 2014 after several more printer factories in other countries seem to be either closed, or even if open, barely really producing any new models.
First posted April 17, 2006, updated May 29, 2006, October 30, 2006, Oct 9, 2007. Updated May 12, 2008, July 14, 2008 after visiting factory a second time. Updated sept. 22, 2008. Updated August 15, 2009.
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