Mimaki JV4 wide format inkjet as fine art giclée printer
Four companies use similar piezo printheads: Epson, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland.
Mutoh uses approximately the same Epson printheads as the older Epson 9000.
Roland uses an Epson printhead one generation past that of the Epson 9000 and therefore gets variable droplet sizes out of it.
Epson then came out with the newer faster heads for their Epson 10000 that also has variable droplet. These are the piezo printheads now used by Mimaki JV4.
When Mutoh began to develop their next printer (after the Falcon I; same as also sold by Kodak, by Accuplot, by Improved Technologies and other OEMs), they selected more or less the same printhead generation as the Roland HiFi (namely variable droplet but one generation back from the newest Epson head).
Nicholas Hellmuth (left) with M. Fujita (right), President of Mimaki USA visiting from Japan at ISA tradeshow, Orlando, 2002
Mike Terlizzi from Improved Technologies with a fine art print from the Mimaki JV4 at ISA tradeshow
This evidently caused a delay since Mutoh has now recognized the importance of having a newer head. But they had to remove the earlier heads and go back to R&D which has delayed their new Falcon 2 model.
Roland has no new model for over a year; it would be obvious they also will work on a printer with the newer "Epson 10000 head." But it will be quite a while before such a new model is perfected (it took Mimaki almost a year but that year has paid off with a great printer; now tried and true). Besides, the Roland Pro II can't run two different sets of six inks. Mimaki was able to engineer a superior product, and make it work over a year before Roland even got their prototype out.
Summary: at present time you get the faster better Epson head in four printers: in the Epson 10600 itself (six colors), Roland Pro II (still rather new), in the Mutoh Falcon II (has 8 slots but runs 6 colors and two cleaning fluids) or in the Mimaki JV4 (dual six colors).
This means the Mimaki is faster since it has dual parallel ink lines.
But more importantly, the Mimaki takes about any ink you can pour into its chambers. Not possible at all with Epson or Roland; only proprietary inks; can't even switch back and forth between dye and pigmented with Epson.
Yet with the Mimaki JV4 you can use virtually any ink, including dye sub heat transfer inks, textile inks.
Plus, you can use one set of six inks and a totally different kind of ink in the other six ink chambers. So you can print all kinds of things one after the other. Textiles one minute, signs another minute. Must more versatile. Furthermore you can print on thick and rigid materials that will not fit through a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet printer of any current generation.
Now you can see why FLAAR likes the Mimaki JV4 (we also are impressed by the quality achievable by the Epson), but for industrial use, for larger companies who need more speed, this is the market for the Mimaki.
Mimaki at BGSU
As one person in the industry said: "The Mimaki is rock solid."
We would also add: since several thousand Mimaki JV4 printers are now in use worldwide, you don't get a beta-test model, no vapor-ware printer. The JV4 is an actual production model, available today. Our JV4 has proven itself in the FLAAR facility at the university.
For further information on the Mimaki JV4, ask the source: Mike Terlizzi (
) or ask the people we know personally who are major national source for the Mimaki JV4 as a fine art printer, as a dye sub heat transfer ink printer, and as a textile printer, namely Improved Technologies. E-mail
Last updated Jan. 14, 2003, Previous updates: Nov. 15, 2002, first posted Apr. 23, 2002
error, omission, or have a different opinion on a review, please contact the editor