Digital Printing
Xeikon of Eede, the Netherlands, today announced the termination of its Trillium liquid toner development project. First demonstrated at drupa 2016 via the Trillium One press, the company explains the technology program has encountered several challenges in bringing it to market as a commercial product.

“We continuously review our portfolio and we are confident the segments we operate can be well served with our current dry toner technology and the newly launched Panther UV inkjet technology,” said Benoit Chatelard, President and CEO, Digital Solutions, Flint Group, which owns the Xeikon division. “With our dry toner technology, we will continue our focus on both the packaging and document businesses, as well as specialty segments where we bring significant value including security printing and wall décor.”

Chatelard continued to describe the company’s rationale behind cancelling its Trillium liquid toner development: “Changing market dynamics but mainly ongoing technical issues in developing the liquid toner technology, including press uptime issues, encouraged us to take this difficult decision, and to communicate it to the marketplace in the straightforward, no-nonsense approach we have always taken,” he added. “Our core vision remains supporting high volume, high quality, high value business for our customers in the graphic arts market and security printing.”

In 2015, Xeikon joined Flint Group to create a new Digital Printing Solutions division. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Flint Group employs around 7,900 people.
Kodak has launched a NexPress Substrate Expansion Kit to increase the types of paperboard and synthetic substrates that can be run on the digital press. The Expansion Kit allows the NexPress to handle paperboard substrates with weightings graded up to 24 points (610 microns). For synthetic substrates, the Expansion Kit will give printers the option to print on materials with weightings up to 14 mil.

Kodak explains the ability to work with thicker substrates opens up new opportunities for printers with short-run packaging applications including labels, tags and small folding cartons, as well as differentiated commercial and publishing products like point-of-sale displays, retail signage, business cards and hospitality pieces such as menus and door hangers.

The upgrade takes approximately two days, according to Kodak, and is supported by a full day of onsite training by a Kodak technician that includes best practices associated with running a broader range of substrates. Once installed, Kodak explains the Substrate Expansion Kit allows press operators to quickly make configuration changes to run the full range of substrates without having to have a service technician visit the printing site.

Kodak’s investment in the NexPress platform over the past year also included the release of the NexPress ZX3300/ZX3900 series, as well as the recent release of the NexPress Opaque White Dry Ink, complementing the company’s other nine specialty inks.
At Labelexpo Europe, Xeikon introduced the new Xeikon CX500 digital label press, which the company describes as its first press based on a new generation dry toner platform. It is scheduled to be commercially available as of 2018.

The Xeikon CX500, with a web width of up to 520 mm (20.47 inches), is designed for larger sized labels, labels requiring an opaque white or an extended colour gamut. It also features full rotary printing technology and speeds of up to 30 metres per minute (98 feet per minute).

The wider web of Xeikon CX500 is part of the company’s dry toner Cheetah Series aimed at the high-end self-adhesive label market. Xeikon explains it also complements the narrow-web CX3 press introduced in 2015. “[The CX500] is the most productive digital label press in the high-quality class thanks to its combination of high speed and wider web. The ability to produce larger labels is particularly important with end-use applications such as labels for household products, pet food, decoration, etcetera,” said Filip Weymans, VP Global Marketing, Xeikon. “At the same time, we continue to support the entry-level Xeikon 3000 Series dry toner label presses, which are complementary to our high-end Cheetah Series.”

Like the Xeikon CX3, the CX500 runs on Cheetah toner, which is based on Xeikon’s ICE technology and is designed specifically to cope with the higher speed. The company explains its dry toner process is based on a proven printing process operating at 1,200 dpi that meets FDA regulations for food contact and allows to print on standard label materials without the need pre-treatment, including direct thermal papers, BoPP, PE and Co-Extruded films. The CX500 is also driven by the Xeikon X-800 digital front-end.

“This introduction extends the Xeikon dry toner digital label production portfolio from the entry-level Xeikon 3000 Series presses through to the high-end Xeikon Cheetah Series which includes the Xeikon CX3 and the Xeikon CX500,” said Weymans. “This places digital label printing within reach of label converters of all sizes.”
HP Inc. introduced a range of new technologies for digital printing and embellishment of labels during Labelexpo taking place in Brussels this week. This includes the new HP Indigo GEM, a one-pass digital embellishment system now available for pre-ordering.

Integrated with the HP Indigo WS6800 Digital Press, the GEM produces labels with foil, screen, tactile, varnish and other special effects, using one workflow, one operator, and one design file without the need for tooling. The HP Indigo GEM utilizes GEM Coat and GEM Clear, developed in conjunction with JetFX. Shipping of the GEM is expected to begin in the spring of 2018.

“Our LEP technology unveiled at drupa last year was a leap forward, and fully launched to customers. The innovation now continues, as we expand our capabilities and bring the industry’s most powerful digital label printing solutions that will help converters double their digital business over the next few years,” said Alon Bar-Shany, General Manager, HP Indigo, HP Inc.
 
At Labelexpo 2017, HP is demonstrating the HP Indigo WS6800 integrated GEM, as well as the HP Indigo 20000 press with Pack Ready Lamination for flexible packaging, and the HP Indigo 8000 press. Pack Ready for Labels is a new solution to produce high-resistance labels. It includes an upgraded Inline Priming Unit as an option on the HP Indigo WS6800.
 
HP Indigo also announced a new ElectroInk Silver, now in beta customer testing. The new ink formula is capable of generating a wide gamut of metallic colours, combining metallic effects with digital capabilities in one printing process.
 
The HP Indigo WS6800 with Indigo GEM will be powered by the new HP Production Pro with what the company describes as five times faster processing to handle large volumes of variable data printing. HP Production Pro enables converters to centrally manage fleets of HP Indigo label presses, while connecting the press to automation tools like HP PrintOS, MIS systems and the Esko Automation Engine QuickStart for Labels.
 
Also announced today, HP and Esko have incorporated the Esko Color Engine into HP Production Pro and are extending the cooperation to resell the new Esko Automation Engine QuickStart for Labels, an entry-level solution that allows converters to ramp up prepress productivity in a simple and cost-effective manner.
Canon unveiled the Océ VarioPrint 6000 TITAN Series of sheetfed monochrome production presses, which will be on display at PRINT 17 in Chicago later this month. Set to be available in the Americas in 2018, the TITAN Series builds off the existing Océ VarioPrint 6000 Series and its Gemini Instant Duplex Technology.

The technology, explains Canon, has been developed with increased quality, speeds and a wider selection of media weights and formats. Supporting volumes of up to 10 million letter-size impressions per month, Canon explains the new presses are ideally suited to produce commercial print materials, books and transactional documents.

The Océ VarioPrint 6000 TITAN Series will be available in three versions, including Standard/TP(Transactional Print)/MICR, with a range of finishing options that include booklet-making, perfect binding, tape binding, die punching and trimming.  The Series also offers an open Document Finishing Device (DFD) Interface for further connectivity to compatible third-party finishers on demand.

The redesigned Océ VarioPrint 6000 TITAN Series offers maximum running speeds of up to 320 letter images per minute in perfecting mode, which translates to a potential of more than 30,000 additional letter prints in one week in a one-shift operation. Four new speed models will be available to meet different production requirements (VarioPrint 6180, 6220, 6270 and 6330).

Increased productivity is also supported by extended functionality in the TITAN Series’ new, Windows 10-based PRISMAsync Print Server v7, which allows for job scheduling for up to eight hours to enable unattended printing. Further available tools include PRISMAsync Remote Manager and Remote Control App. User authentication, configurable UI and an e-Shredding option are some of the security features on this device.

The new TITAN Light Weight Media (LWM) Option with LWM Air Guide Technology will enable printing on substrates as light as 30 pound Text (45 gsm). The new light weight media capability is supported by the Océ Gemini Instant Duplex Technology, which uses twin print heads to print simultaneously on both sides of the media without the need to stop and turn the sheet.

Canon explains the Océ Copy Press Technology, which presses toner into the substrate at a low fusing temperature, further reduces the physical stresses on the substrate, while also helping to maintain a flat surface for print and finishing quality and delivering a matte, offset-like image.
Xerox plans to commercially release a White Dry Ink on October 2, 2017, for the fifth print station of its iGen 5 digital press. The technology, which has been undergoing tests at Brampton’s Data Communications Management, will be on display from September 10 to 14 at PRINT 17 in Chicago.

“This is exciting news for iGen 5 customers,” said Jim Hamilton, group director, Keypoint Intelligence InfoTrends. “This announcement opens up a whole new range of applications. Designers will love the ability to use white on coloured and transparent substrates to create promotional items like brochures, business cards, greeting cards and invitations, point-of-purchase signage, direct mail postcards and letters, and book covers. The opportunities also extend to packaging applications like folding cartons.”

According to InfoTrends, digital print enhancement volume is predicted to grow at a 27 percent CAGR from 2015 to 2020, reaching 25 billion pages by 2020 in the U.S. and Western Europe. With the addition of White Dry Ink to the iGen 5 platform, print providers can apply spot effects to produce printed pieces with a physical look and feel.

Xerox’s White Dry Ink features the ability to print White Dry Ink only as well as white layers under or over CMYK. The company claims it provides strong brightness and opacity that’s achievable in a single pass of white. The iGen 5’s automated multi-pass mode can also be leveraged to produce up to two layers of white. Additional layers of white can be manually printed for custom applications.

“We have been testing White Dry Ink with our iGen 5 and we see great promise for expanding our offerings to our customers,” said Alan Roberts, Senior VP, Data Communications Management Corp. “White Dry Ink has great applications for printing on black and other stocks and as an underlay to create memorable cards, posters, signage and other marketing collateral.”
J Zarwan Partners, based in Charlottetown, PEI, has published a report on the Overall Equipment Effectiveness of digital presses, with the goal of providing printers with better information about purchasing a digital press. The report examines the OEE – based on availability, quality and performance – of three popular presses: Canon imagePRESS C10000VP, Ricoh ProC9110, and Xerox Color 1000i. Xerox provided financial support for the publication of the report.

“OEE is a powerful tool that can be used to measure and improve operations,” said John Zarwan, author of the report. “The output quality, consistency, and reliability of digital production presses have improved dramatically. It is often difficult to choose among them. When buying a digital press, it is therefore particularly important to evaluate how they actually function.”

The report notes that the OEE of all three presses meets standards with room for improvement, especially in performance. The Xerox Color 1000i press had the highest OEE of the three presses, according to the report, and was rated top in each of the three metrics. The report found that all of the presses produce high-quality output, with generally good availability, with the main differences being a function of press breakdowns and the amount of time to repair.

The greatest amount of variation in press performance, according to the report, was how fast the machines printed compared to their rated speeds.

“There are many things to consider when buying a digital press. It is important to match a press’ actual capabilities with your needs,” said Zarwan. “It is equally important to operate the press efficiently and effectively. OEE can be a powerful tool for improving print operations. Our hope is this analysis of the operating effectiveness of these three press installations is a useful start.”
Brett Kisiloski, Sales Manager of Print Digital Solutions, discusses advances in short-run printing and finishing technologies.
Electronics For Imaging and Sharp Imaging have launch a new EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) to drive Sharp’s new MX-6580N and MX-7580N Color Document Systems.

This new Fiery server, together with optional modules, make available to Sharp users a range of workflow and productivity advantages, including the Fiery Command WorkStation, a print job management solution to manage multiple printers within the enterprise from a single point.

The server includes Fiery VUE, a free 3D visual print client application designed to simplify the creation of booklets, sales guides, manuals, and more. It provides an interactive interface that lets users produce professional-looking materials.

It can also be integrated with cloud-based operations management for in-plant print departments and production printing operations through integration with EFI Quick Print Suite workflow software. It can also include Fiery Spot-On and Fiery Image Enhance Visual Editor, and built-in Fiery FreeForm for variable-data printing.
In May, HP unveiled the Indigo Pack Ready Laminator commercial model, optimized for the HP Indigo 20000 press, which the company explains to allow for immediate time-to-market for flexible packaging.

Now commercially designed, the laminating system will be manufactured and supplied by Karlville. Customer beta testing of the laminator is scheduled for this summer. First units are to ship by the end of the year. The HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination is new machinery created with thermal lamination as part of the HP Indigo Pack Ready. It is targeted at the digitally printed flexible packaging market.

HP also recently announced new substrates for the HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 presses, as well as new white ink offerings for the HP Indigo labels and packaging press portfolio, for expanded possibilities and higher performance. The 762 mm HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press for flexible packaging, labels and shrink sleeves now supports printing on aluminum and polyethylene, new substrates that expand packaging solution offerings. 
Sun Chemical entered a collaboration agreement with HP Indigo to develop coatings to help drive digital printing in the packaging industry.

“Printers and converters have already invested in digital presses and need specialist coatings and varnishes that would enable packaging applications to be printed digitally according to market requirements and standards,” said Felipe Mellado, CMO, Sun Chemical. The digital coatings will include overprint varnishes and adhesives.

Sun Chemical, a member of the DIC group, has annual sales of more than $7.5 billion and over 20,000 employees.
Danish press manufacturer Nilpeter has expanded PANORAMA, its digital product line.

The advancements include a re-design of PANORAMA’s converting and flexo printing units and an update of the press software. The digital hybrid configurations meet a number of requirements, including standalone, all-round and value-added PANORAMA hybrids.

The new digital hybrid configuration features digital inkjet, flexo units, an FP-4 unit for hot foil and embossing, a semi-rotative die unit and a smart matrix unit.

The enhancements to the product line will be on display at LabelExpo Europe 2017 in Brussels from September 25 to 28.
HP recently reached a milestone with the sale of its 500th Indigo Series 4 press. The Series 4 press includes the HP Indigo 10000 and 12000 for commercial printing, HP Indigo 20000 for labels and flexible packaging and HP Indigo 30000 for folding cartons. The oversized, roll-fed HP Indigo 50000 also just completed its first customer installation at Digital Lizard in Las Vegas, Nev.

“We have used HP Indigo technology to offer innovative solutions that are tailored and customized for our clients to help them secure the growth they are looking for,” Jayme Wisely, President and CEO, GLS/NEXT Precision Marketing, says. “The B2 sheet size and high quality output have been a real game changer, and we expect our new HP Indigo 12000 to enable our company to raise the bar even higher.”

HP has also sold more than 200 HP Indigo 7900 units in less than a year, since drupa 2016 this past June/July.
Canon on March 9 released the third generation of its varioPRINT DP product line, aimed at the monochrome production print market, with the varioPRINT 140 Series. Models in the new series print at speeds of up to 140 ipm, 130 ipm and 115 ipm

Aimed at small- to mid-sized commercial printers and in-plants, the 140 Series is rated for average monthly print volumes up to 800,000 letter-size images and, explains Canon, has the capability of producing peak volumes up to 2.2 million letter-size images per month.

“Monochrome printed documents likely affect all facets of our everyday life… [they] are projected to remain the largest by volume in the coming years and there is still a strong desire for devices dedicated to black-and-white printing,” said Toyotsugu Kuwamura, Executive VP and GM, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A.

Software tools for the 140 Series include: PRISMAsync Job Scheduler, PRISMAsync Remote Manager, and the new PRISMAsync Remote Control app for smart devices. The Remote Control app, which can be applied to multiple PRISMAsync Print Server-driven printers, provides notifications of upcoming operator actions like loading media or adding consumables, or alerts of immediate actions needed. PRISMAsync Print Server is currently driven from a Windows 10 operating environment.

The 140 Series includes enhancements to copy and scan capabilities for document digitization with tools like book-copy mode, an easy-copy screen, page numbering and a smaller scan file size. Canon explains theses tools are well suited for high-volume copy/scan environments.

The printing systems use ScreenPoint Technology’s SuperCell rasterization, which allows for the reproduction of colour halftones and photographs as grayscale images – without operator intervention. Canon states the 140 Series’ DirectPress Technology all but eliminates quality degradation, based on working within a process taht isn’t affected by light, static charge, temperature, humidity, developer or toner mixtures.

The varioPRINT 140 Series offers a range of in-line finishing and output options, including stapling, saddle stitching, folding, die punching, inserting, ring binding and high-capacity stacking. The 140 Series’ open Document Finishing Interface enables in-line connectivity to third party devices.

The varioPRINT 140 Series is equipped with new security features to help provide better control over unauthorized usage and activity reports. Security features include user authentication by role or via LDAP-based operator login, a configurable user interface and extended audit logging.
Ricoh at the start of January unveiled its Pro C5200s series, a toner-based colour production printer aimed at in-house print centres, corporate reprographics departments, print-for-pay and commercial printers.

The new Ricoh Pro C5200s and Pro C5210s produce colour and black-and-white documents at up to 65 and 80 ppm, respectively, reaching VCSEL resolutions of up to 1,200 x 4,800-dpi. Along with optional oversized media support, the Pro C5200s works with medias of up to 360 gsm simplex and 300 gsm duplex at 13 x 19.2 inch standard format. The optional oversized media support provides a 13 x 27.5 inch format.

“With the RICOH Pro C5200s series, we are helping expand customers’ capabilities so they can serve as a one-stop shop for their clients, whether they’re an in-plant or print-for-pay…. This series is designed to fit easily on our customers’ production floors, within their information flows, and within their budgets,” said John Fulena, VP, Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh USA Inc.

The system has a total paper capacity of up to 8,250 sheets and four paper trays available as standard. This feature combines with the series’ saddle-stitching, embedded paper library, and folding capabilities to make the Pro C5200s devices suited for booklet production. Optional Cover Interposers and Booklet Finishers are available.
 
The new systems leverage Ricoh’s optional Smart Operation Panel for workflow automation, as well as a variety of scan-to options, including Scan-to-URL, Scan-to-Directory, Scan-to-USB and Scan-to-SD.
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