Features Encoding Postpress
Litho Press Makers Integrate Inkjet Modules

May 8, 2012  By

Amid the scores of inkjet innovations at drupa 2012, manroland, Heidelberg, KBA and Presstek highlighted their progress in adding inline inkjet stations to their traditional offset press lines. Both manroland and KBA have been working closely with Atlantic Zeiser to integrate these full-colour inkjet modules. 

manroland announced the inkjet technology can be applied on various press sizes, in sheetfed or web. While it has been testing extensively with Atlantic Zeiser, the manroland module can integrate single or multiple inkjet print heads supplied by any manufacturer. For this module, manroland developed a patented suction cylinder and adapted the grippers to provide a very close distance (less than 1mm) between the inkjet heads and the substrate.

These print heads are fixed to a print bar covering the whole printable surface of the sheets and reach a 600-dpi monochrome quality at 7,000 sheets per hour (or 300-dpi monochrome up to 14,000 sheets per hour). Using UV-inks, the system works on substrates with coated, uncoated, glossy or silk surfaces, eco-material or plastics, because the application module is equipped with a LED UV-light dryer (provided by Eltosch/Hönle). manroland is currently developing the same print heads with water-based inks and plans to qualify the use of this hybrid technology for food packaging.


At drupa 2012, KBA described new sheet coding with Atlantic Zeiser’s DELTA 105i integrated printing module for a hybrid version of its Rapida 105 press. The module includes a VERICAM verification system, which together with the DELTA 105i will reach speeds between 7,500 and 14,000 sheets per hour. In inkjet parlance, the system is designed for speeds of up to 240 metres per minute at a resolution of up to 600 dpi.

“We have designed the latest Rapida medium format generation to offer our customers the maximum range of applications increasingly being demanded by the sheet offset printer market in recent years,” stated Jürgen Veil, Head of Marketing Sheetfed Offset. “A key point here is the integrated option to code and serialise sheet, label and packaging printing variably inline.”
Presstek announced plans to add inkjet heads to its recently introduced, B2-format 75DI press. All 75DI presses with this personalization capability will be specially configured to each client’s needs. The 75DI prints up to 16,000 six-up sheets or 96,000 letter-sized pages per hour, while supporting 300 lpi and FM screening, and 6-minute job-to-job turnover based on Presstek’s on-press plate imaging technology.

Heidelberg announced its coating-unit integration of an inkjet device from Inkdustry, in conjunction with Prinect Inspection Control, which makes it possible to check individual repeats using a PDF comparison and mark specific repeats as waste. Such repeats can then be automatically identified and ejected by postpress equipment, such as the folding carton gluing machine. 

Heidelberg’s inkjet approach is designed to imprint additional, customized alphanumeric codes. Up to 12 print heads employing continuous inkjet method can be integrated into the coating unit. Simultaneous coating and imprinting is possible despite the fact that no additional unit is needed for the inkjet device. Non-absorbent materials can also be printed using solvent-based inks.

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