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Infobank

Printers: Large Format Printers

For making prints larger than A3+, Canon’s imagePROGRAF Large Format Printers (LFPs) provide a range of models that are able to print up to 60” across from roll-fed paper. The printers all feature the same print head technology and all use either the Canon LUCIA or LUCIA EX inks. The key differences in the models are down to the maximum print width, the number of ink tanks and whether the printer includes a Hard Disk Drive for large print jobs or not.

L-COA image processor

The core of the Canon LFP printers is the L-COA image processor. This processes the high volumes of image data present in large prints and controls the print head that, in the LFPs, is one-inch wide. This print head is where ink is ejected from in droplets as small at 4 picolitres from as many as 30,720 nozzles. When making large prints, a large print head with a high number of print nozzles ensures that printing happens quickly and accurately for high-resolution prints.

The secret of the L-COA processor is that it integrates three different printer functions onto a single chip, where previously several different processors had handled them. By integrating the processing for printer protocols, image processing and printer control the system responds quicker with a shorter communication lag to provide high-speed output.

 

The imagePROGRAF iPF9400 is one of the Canon Large Format printers that incorporate a built-in Hard Disk Drive (in this case 250GB), which allows print jobs to be streamed to the printer and stored, then re-printed from memory without having to re-stream the data.

Built-in colour calibration

Achieving accurate print colours can prove difficult, but the LFP models all have a built-in colour calibration system to achieve accurate and consistent results from the first print to the last, thus avoiding the trial-and-error process of colour matching, which on a large print would prove a costly process. Once calibrated, the iPF Large Format Printers will adjust the ink output to suit the media being used for that print to ensure optimum ink usage and accurate colours each time.

LUCIA and LUCIA EX inks

The LUCIA and LUCIA EX inks used in the LFP printers are all pigment-based inks. However, they have been designed to offer the best of both dye inks (glossiness) and pigment inks (vivid colours and weather resistance) in one.

The printers featuring 12 inks have not just Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black ink tanks, but also Red, Green and Blue and two separate shades of Gray ink, one light and one dark. By using more vivid pigments in each of the ink colours, the colour gamut range has increased by 20% compared to previous ink types and the use of two different gray inks improves the tonal gradation and reduces the graininess often associated with monochrome prints.

Traditionally pigment inks have been better suited to matte and fine art papers, however the change in the inks and increase in number of colours ensures high quality results are produced on a much wider variety of media types, including glossy media.

 

Front left view of the imagePROGRAF iPF6300S showing the ink tanks of the printer, which uses an 8-colour LUCIA EX pigment ink system.

Hot-swap ink tanks

Many of the LFP models feature a hot-swap ink tank system that allows you to change a depleted ink tank during a print job without having to stop the printer. With large print jobs, this ensures continuous printing with less downtime and also ensures prints are completed as one rather than in stages. Finally, it saves you ink by ensuring you don’t have to change a nearly depleted ink tank before starting a job, which would waste ink and increase your printer running costs.

Built-in Hard Disk Drive

Several models in the Large Format Printer range feature a built-in Hard Disk Drive (HDD). This drive acts as a buffer for the printer so jobs can be streamed to the printer and stored, then re-printed from memory without having to re-stream the data. For large print jobs the drive acts as a store so the data can get to the printer and then be printed from the drive rather than having to stream slowly over to match the printer speed.

Key features of the Canon LFP range

Printer Size Number of inks Built-in colour calibration Hot swap inks HDD
imagePROGRAF iPF5100 17” 12 Yes No No
imagePROGRAF iPF6400 24” 12 Yes Yes No
imagePROGRAF iPF6450 24” 12 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)
imagePROGRAF iPF8400 44” 12 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)
imagePROGRAF iPF9400 60” 12 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)
imagePROGRAF iPF6400S 24” 8 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)
imagePROGRAF iPF8400S 44” 8 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)
imagePROGRAF iPF9400S 60” 8 Yes Yes Yes
(250GB)