Versatility is the axiom of EFI's 5m VUTEk GS5500LXr Pro, and this is apparent in almost every aspect of the machine's design. Released in mid-2014, the roll-fed print engine offers print houses the machine width to handle the widest of jobs, while also providing the company's latest print-head and cold-curing technology, ensuring its quality is on a par with the rest of the company's wide-format range.

The inclusion of 7pcl greyscale UltraDrop technology means that the GS5500LXr Pro can output with four levels of greyscale and two levels of ink density, allowing flexibility of resolution and gradients depending on the requirements of the job. The machine incorporates 5l ink tanks of 3M's Superflex UV-LED inks, which are formulated to have solvent-like elongation qualities. This means prints can be heat-installed without fear of cracking, making it suitable for outdoor and graphic applications, or even vehicle wraps.

Along with much of EFI's portfolio, the VUTEk GS5500LXr Pro uses UV-LED cold curing, which expands the range of supported media that can be used in the machine while also offering a significant reduction in energy consumption compared to rival engines, according to a study published by Fogra. With no need to wait for the lamps to reach optimum temperature and low VOC expulsion, the machine can boast green credibility alongside its flexible production capabilities.

Not only can the machine handle wide substrates, it also handles a broad range of media. The VUTEk GS5500LXr Pro can process flexible media, textiles and mesh up to 1,100 grams per sq m thick up to 5.18m wide and up to a roll diameter of 35cm. The machine offers full-bleed printing, reducing the need for trimming.

Printing in quality eight-colour mode, the machine can reach 1,000 dpi at 28sq m per hour, the machine also has a 600dpi, eight-colour point-of-purchase mode that runs at 65sq m per hour and a banner quality mode in 600dpi with the company's Fast-4 setting, which can output at 130sq m per hour. At top speed, the VUTEk GS5500LXr Pro can reach speeds of 260sq m per hour while still achieving 600dpi quality.

Unsurprisingly, EFI Fiery proServer is intended to be the RIP of choice for the machine, with bi-directional communication possible between the Fiery XF RIP and the print engine. The addition of Fiery to the VUTEk GS5500LXr Pro allows users to nest, step-and-repeat, scale crop and tile multiple jobs, as well as manage colour profiles through Fiery's ICC colour management tool.

Built into the machine is the Orion operating system, which allows users to select a variety of production processes, including single-pass, multi-layer printing, on-demand multi-queuing and, as an option, automated double-sided printing.
A 5m machine is a significant investment for a print house, and EFI has taken this into account with its enhanced service program (ESP). This provides a warranty for the print engine, Fiery proServer hardware and Fiery's XF software for thirteen months. 3M's superflex inks also come with the company's MCS Warranty for graphics printed with co-branded ink and certain 3M flexible media, which are produced and applied according to its guidelines.