Awards & Engraving

2012 Sublimation Report

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ROAD TO SUBLIMATION SUCCESS: Introducing The Epson 7700 BY DAVID GROSS "I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning," said Alice a little timidly: "but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." "Explain all that," said the Mock Turtle. "No, no! The adventures first," said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: "explanations take such a dreadful time." Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Introduction Yes, explanations do take a long time. So to those that just want the adventure, here it is: The new Epson 7700 is, without a doubt, the best 17" and above dye-sub printer on the planet. And to those (like me) that really want to understand, the rest of this article is for you. MEET THE FAMILY Our new printers are the Epson 7700 and its big brother the 9700 (See Image 1). The origins of these printers can be traced back to the Epson 4000 in 2003. The Epson 4000 was the first profes- sional desktop printer that really filled the needs of sublimators: print size up to 17x22 (with roll capability), excellent speed, and greatly improved reliability. Since the 4000, we have seen printers such as the 4800 and 4880 come and go. These printers, however, lacked the excitement, performance, and simplicity of the 4000. The introduction of Ricoh printers into the industry really shook things up and established Ricoh as the new King of the Road in desktop dye-sub printing. Well, all I've got to say is, "Welcome back Epson!" The only difference is that these printers are too big for desktop! Meet the Epson 7700 (24" print width and weighing in at 230 lbs.) and its big brother the Epson 9700 (44" print width at 295 lbs.) These printers really fill the needs of an experienced (some may say "mature") sublimator: Bigger print size, extreme speed, high reliability, long life, and reasonable cost. The list price on the 7700 is $2,995 and $3,995 for the 9700. As I write this article, Epson is offering some very generous instant rebates. Before we get started talking about these new printers, let's answer the question, "Why Epson and Ricoh printers for subli- mation?" The answer is that both companies use a printhead technology called Piezo DOD (Drop on Demand) that vibrates the ink out of the printhead (instead of using Thermo DOD that boils the ink out). Since dye-sublimation ink is heat activated, piezo printers are the best choice. Companies like Epson, Ricoh, Mimaki, Roland, and Brother are among some of the companies that use Piezo technology. What are some good reasons to con- sider these new printers? Maybe your dye-sub business has grown past your Image 1 38

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