Digital Printing

A new imaging technology has achieved full-colour printing that produces pictures at a nano scale at the very limits of optical diffraction of visible light.

Developed at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, this technology creates pixels by using metal nanoscale pillars just tens of nanometers tall. Each is capped with silver and gold disks. Colour is established by adjusting the spacing and diameters of these structures, in essence manipulating what colour of light they reflect.

This level of imaging produces and equivalent 100,000 dots per inch where as traditional inkjet or toner technologies struggle to hit even 10,000 dpi. The resolution produced using the new process would be indiscernible to the human eye.

According to its authors, in addition to ultra-high resolution printing (and its related use for security printing), this research also has potential impact in optical data storage and the creation of colour filters in lighting and imaging technologies.

The study is documented in scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology
At the drupa trade show, Xerox highlighted two new machines: the iGen 150 press, which produces pages at up to 150 pages per minute, and a new inkjet production system known as the CiPress 325, which compliments the existing CiPress 500.

Gilmore Doculink, a commercial/digital print shop in Ottawa, was the testing site of the new iGen 150: “The quality is indistinguishable, so our clients can have a short-run custom digital job produced on the iGen 150 and have it look the same as a longer offset run of 20,000,” said Brian Wright, Executive Vice President of Operations, Gilmore Doculink. “The iGen 150 provides the colour, quality and consistency we demand.”

With a base price of US$722,000, the iGen 150 has a new 2,400x2,400 dpi system capable of delivering 3,000 oversized 26" sheets per hour. EFI has also pledged support to the new machine with the announcement of the Xerox EX Print Server, based on EFI Fiery System 10. Orders will be taken starting in June, with installations commencing in July.

The CiPress 325 is a web-fed colour inkjet device capable of printing at 100 metres per minute (325 feet per minute). According to Xerox, it is fully upgradable to its CiPress 500 sibiling through a software license. Xerox claims the CiPress 500 and CiPress 325 as the only waterless inkjet devices, which eliminate bleed-through problems which plague other inkjet systems.

The CiPress 325 will become available in the second half of 2012.
Developments continue in the emerging arena of B2-size, cut-sheet inkjet presses with news that MGI plans to present a prototype of its ALPHAJET system this may at the drupa tradeshow. Following its world premiere in Germany, the ALPHAJET is scheduled for a commercial release sometime in 2013.

Paris-based MGI, now in its 30th year of operation, has historically developed unique toner presses within its Meteor line, including the recently introduced Meteor DP8700 XL with a 13 x 40-inch format size (via manual bypass) and a top speed of 4,260 A4/letter pages per hour.

The ALPHAJET is a 6-colour inkjet press with UV coating capabilities (spot and flood UV) seen previously on MGI’s JETvarnish (B2 format) and JETcard systems. According to MGI, the B2-size ALPHAJET, featuring a format size of 20 x 29 inches ( 52 x 74 cm), is to reach production speeds of 3,000 sheets per hour and a top resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi. The prototype machine is also set to handle substrate weights of up to 500 gsm.

Alon Bar-Shany, VP of Indigo, today drew a rare spontaneous applause from over 120 business journalists gathered in Tel Aviv, as he introduced a 29-inch-format digital press in the HP Indigo 10000.


The B2-size Indigo 10000 press unveiling took place on the first day of HP’s pre-drupa briefing in Israel. For the first time in several years, a development in toner presses seemed to steal the spotlight from inkjet. While HP abhors the classification of its Indigo presses as toner machines, because they print with liquid inks as opposed to solid toners, the new Indigo 10000 represents a sea change in the toner (electrophotography) press space.

Since arriving in the industry in the 1990s, electrophotographic presses have been stuck in a sub-20-inch format size largely because of the challenges – potential R&D and manufacturing costs – of expanding the all-important electro-photostatic drum, which forms the imaging heart of toner machines. The new Indigo 10000 marks the first salvo at one of commercial printing’s standard litho formats, while also presenting itself as a sudden competitor to the emerging cut-sheet inkjet presses of 29-inch format size.

“We believe this is going to take us into the heart of the offset market,” Bar-Shany told the crowd of journalists, speaking about the Indigo 10000 arrival, adding, “It is everything you expect from an Indigo but in a larger format.”

While the Indigo 10000 has been running with a printer in the UK and another in Japan, the new press will find its way into worldwide beta sites by the time Germany’s drupa tradeshow arrives in May, with an anticipated commercial release of the machine in early 2013.

Bar-Shany also introduced what he refers to as derivatives of the Indigo 10000 foundation, with the Indigo 20000 aimed at the flexographic sector of packaging and the Indigo 30000 aimed at the folding-carton sector. These machines are expected to be commercialized sometime after the Indigo 10000 hits the market next year.


The HP Indigo 10000 (750 x 530 millimeters/ 29.5 x 20.9 inches) prints 3,450 sheets per hour in its standard production mode, and can provide a 33 percent faster throughput of 4,600 colour sheets per hour using HP Indigo’s Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM) – knocking out the black ink channel.

Scheduled for commercial availability in late 2013, the HP Indigo 20000 is a roll-to-roll press with a 30-inch media width and a 44-inch repeat length. With up to seven-colour printing, including white ink, the Indigo 20000 runs at 88.6 linear feet (27 linear metres) per minute in five-colour mode (full process colour plus white) and at 147.6 linear feet (45 linear metres) per minute when running in Enhanced Productivity Mode. An inline priming unit on the press is used for compatibility with most standard flexible packaging substrates from 10 to 250 microns thick.

The sheetfed HP Indigo 30000 press features a 29.5 x 20.9-inch (750 x 530-mm) format size with up to seven colour channels. Designed for the folding carton space, the press can handle substrates of up to 24 point or carton stocks of up to 600-microns thick. The press reaches a top speed of up to 3,450 sheets per hour in regular four-colour process printing, or 4,600 sheets per hour in Enhanced Productivity Mode.





In addition to its new HP Indigo 10000 press, described as a fourth-generation engine, HP today announced a series of productivity enhancements to its existing machines, which amounts to 10 new systems in total.

Indigo press enhancements
The company introduced three updated models of its current HP Indigo portfolio, all of which feature higher speeds with the Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM), which is an emulation feature to eliminate the use of the black channel – resulting in a 33 percent increase in speed.

The new HP Indigo 7600 press, for example, has a top speed of 160 pages per minute (ppm) in EPM, which is described by the company as the fastest two-page electrophotographic press on the market. The Indigo 7600 also features an automated detection system to find print defects while running at speed, as well as new features to produce raised print (simulating embossing) and textured effects. This system also features a new light black ink for producing improved monochrome photo images.

The new HP Indigo 5600, an enhanced version of the HP Indigo 5500, has a top speed of 90 ppm in EPM, as well as a new one-shot mode for printing on synthetic substrates.

The new HP Indigo W7250 reaches a top speed of up to 320 ppm in EPM and 960 ppm in monochrome.


The HP Indigo 7600 press, in beta testing at six sites worldwide, will be commercially available at drupa. The HP Indigo 5600 is available immediately, and the HP Indigo W7250 will be available at drupa. HP says most new features will be offered as upgrades for existing HP Indigo models.

Inkjet Web Press enhancements
HP introduced three higher-speed Inkjet Web Press models based on new ink and printhead technology. HP Inkjet Web Presses have produced a total of more than 9-billion pages since the first system was installed in 2009.

The new HP T410 and T360 Inkjet Web Press systems offer increased print speeds of up to 800 feet per minute (fpm) in monochrome – up to 25 percent faster than previous models – while continuing to provide top colour print speeds of up to 600 fpm.

The new HP T230 Inkjet Press incorporates new printheads and inks to increase print speed up to 400 feet per minute for both colour and monochrome.

The HP T360 and HP T410 are expected to be available this fall as new systems or as upgrades from the HP T350 and HP T400, respectively. The HP T230, expected to be available by the end of 2012, will also be offered as an upgrade from the HP T200 press.  
 
Workfow and substrates
New workflow solutions include HP SmartStream Production Center for managing large job volumes, as well as updated versions of HP SmartStream Production Pro Digital Front End and HP SmartStream Director. HP also now offers HP Hiflex cloud-based software applications, including MIS and web-to-print solutions, as a result of its recent acquisition of Hiflex.


HP has added four HP Indigo preferred media partner agreements with Sappi, Avery Dennison, Mitsubishi and ArjoWiggins Graphics. The company already has over 3,000 certified media types for HP Indigo presses.

HP also introduced new media for its Inkjet Web Press models, such as Utopia Inkjet gloss media from Appleton Coated for direct-mail and publishing applications. ColorPRO papers will now include inkjet-coated papers from Sappi and Appleton Coated, designed to deliver superior print quality with the HP Inkjet Web Press.

HP Scitex white ink kit
HP introduced new options to improve the versatility and productivity of its HP Scitex wide-format systems, including a white ink kit and an automatic loader for the HP Scitex FB7500 and FB7600 machines.

The company also introduced a new version of HP SmartStream Production Analyzer for automatic monitoring of HP Scitex industrial wide-format presses.

Print module solutions

HP has introduced what it called Print Module Solutions for adding colour images, graphics and variable data to preprinted documents. Available in colour and monochrome, HP Print Module Solutions print up to 800 fpm and include full workflow software for integration with existing equipment. 


HP Print Module Solutions are expected to be available to order starting May 1.


Following the August announcement that the IDEAlliance has certified its first toner press, Canon has just achieved the same feat with its imagePRESS C7010VP series of toner machines. The Digital Press Certification signifies that digital print systems comprised of a digital press, a digital front end, and a specified paper stock conform to GRACoL and its underlying G7 appearance matches within specific colorimetric tolerances.

"Canon is pleased to have the imagePRESS C7010VP digital press series recognized as an IDEAlliance Digital Press Certified printing system," said Sam Yoshida, Vice President and General Manager, Imaging Systems Group, Canon U.S.A "This certification recognizes the investment that Canon has made in developing a platform capable of meeting the high image-quality standards of today's production print customer."

The Digital Press Certification verifies the stability of the press in terms of variation within a page, and from page to page for a run length of 1000 sheets, over a 24 hour period. By following the IDEAlliance protocols and achieving the standard, the Canon imagePRESS 7010VP/C6010VP/C6010 with Fiery-based imagePRESS Servers -A3200/A2200/A1200 with EFI Laser Proof Paper XF130 (Semimatt), were placed in this elite certification category.

"The digital print market is poised for significant growth," said David Steinhardt, President and CEO of IDEAlliance. "This market expansion has brought with it a critical need for a program to help prospective buyers assess the capabilities of digital press systems. We congratulate EFI and Canon for their leadership role in being among the first to achieve IDEAlliance Digital Press Certification."


MGI Digital will be making tie North American debut of its new Meteor DP8700 XL press at Graph Expo this September

MGI claims the following benefits for the Meteor DP8700 XL:

    Largest sheet size among production sheetfed digital presses (up to 13 x 40" in production, up to 13 x 47" via manual bypass)
    Increased production speed for up to 4,260 A4/letter pages per hour and up to 2,280 A3 pages per hour
    Output quality at 3600 dpi (8 bit printing) and more than 20 line screen variations ranging from 95 to 270 lpi, plus stochastic. Users also have the option to choose up to 2 different line screens within the same print job.
    New auto-adjusting offset feeder table, which eliminates skew and keeps registration consistent at an industry-leading ±0.2mm (L-R)
    The new EnvelopExpress Pro, featuring an updated design for the Meteor DP8700 XL, increases production capabilities and improves job efficiency
    Fiery RIP for maximum processing power and graphics management. Support for VPS & PPML 2.2, plus Adobe PostScript Level 3, TIFF and PDF, JDF compliance, as well as APPE (Adobe PDF Print Engine).

MGI will also show off its JETcard inkjet press, which produces up to 8,000 cards per hour in full colour. The machine prints at 720 x2160 DPI with 4+2 UV colours, allowing for spot or flood UV coating or use of security inks. MGI claims the JETcard can replace up to five different pieces of equipment traditionally used in plastic card production. The company also claims it is not only cheaper than offset on a cost-per-card basis, but also faster than offset.

MGI will be showing the above technologies, as well as its other solutions at booth 3619.

Konica Minolta's bizhub PRESS C8000 has become the first toner-based press to receive the IDEAlliance Digital Press Certification. The certification ensures that a toner press can consistently meet the production requirements of IDEAlliance's GRACoL colour reproduction specifications.

"By being the first in the industry to earn Digital Press Certification from IDEAlliance, the bizhub PRESS C8000 is setting the standard for excellence that will come to be expected by customers looking for the highest quality and superior performance from their digital presses," said Kevin Kern, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. "Having G7 Experts in house and certifying our industry-leading digital presses is just another reason print professionals can count on Konica Minolta to ensure that our technology is not only innovative, but also leading the industry in superior performance certification."

A program that verifies a toner-based production press' ability to meet print specifications based on internationally recognized ISO standards, the IDEAlliance Digital Press Certification testing was produced by a team G7 Experts from two separate divisions of the Konica Minolta Group including Russell Doucette from Konica Minolta Sensing Americas and Jeff Collins from Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Dawn Nye, Product Marketing Manager for Production Print at Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., provided leadership and support on the Konica Minolta Team.

"Our industry benefits greatly from independent system verification and certification. Digital press technologies that meet industry specifications and standards have crossed a new milestone and we thank Konica Minolta for their leadership in supporting this exciting program," said David Steinhardt, President and CEO, IDEAlliance. "Konica Minolta's participation in obtaining a Digital Press System Certification will go a long way in helping the industry enhance its understanding and application of digital printing."


Ricoh Company has launched what it classifies as two new colour production systems in the Pro C751EX and Pro C651EX. Ricoh released its higher-end machine in this production line, the Pro C901 Series, back in October 2010.

Employing Ricoh's new generation of toner technology, called PxP, the Pro C751EX hits a maximum resolution of 1,200 dpi x 4,800 dpi.

This machine reaches a top printing speed of 75 pages per minute (both colour and black-and-white), while the Pro C651EX produces up to 65 pages per minute. The previously released Pro C901 produces up to 90 pages per minute.

The new machines can handle substrate weights of between 52.3 and 300 g/m2, while working with a format range from postcard-size up to 13 x 19.2 inches. The machines are available with various finishing options, including an inline booklet maker and trimmer.


Xerox has unveiled a new addition to its DocuColor lineup. Called the DocuColor 8080, the machine features up to 80-pages-per-minute printing and is available with three different print servers.

"Our focus is to help customers produce more jobs, reduce costs and grow their business. The DocuColor 8080 was built with this in mind," said Eric Armour, president, Graphic Communications Business Group, Xerox Corporation.

Xerox highlights three features of the 8080:
  • Productivity Apps, which simplify the most-common print jobs with read-to-use templates,
  • Low glass dry ink, which creates a smooth matte finish,
  • Colour accuracy via its Automated Colour Quality Suite, a system featuring an inline spectrophotometer.
The DocuColor 8080 is available for orders immediately with installations starting in August. The U.S. list price is $260,000.

MGI Digital Graphic Technology this week will make the worldwide debut of its new Meteor DP8700 XL toner-based press during the Graphitec exhibition in Paris. The press’ North American debut is scheduled for Chicago this September, during Graphic Expo 2011.
 
Described by MGI as a true multi-substrate press (paper, plastics and envelopes, laser-safe prints), the 4-colour Meteor DP8700 XL has a printing-format size of up to 13 x 40 inches, while a format of 13 x 47 inches can be reached via manual bypass. The machine’s imaging area reaches from 12.6 inches up to 39.8 inches.



The new model is rated with a higher production speed for up to 4,260 A4-letter pages per hour and up to 2,280 A3 pages per hour. MGI also describes the image quality of the DP8700 XL as reaching 3,600 dpi (8-bit printing) and more than 20 line-screen variations ranging from 95 to 270 lpi. Users can choose up to two different line screens within the same print job.



The DP8700 XL also employs new silicone-free dry toners (CMYK) with a smaller particle size relative to previous Meteor models, while cartridges can be changed on the fly without interrupting production.


Based on its solid-ink technology, developed in part out of the Mississauga-based XRCC research facility, Xerox has launched the new ColorQube 9300 Series as a multifunction printer for the office market.

The solid-ink based ColorQube platform was first introduced on a light-production printer in May 2009.

According to Xerox, companies can cut colour printing costs in half based on the “Hybrid Color Pricing Plans” available with the ColorQube 9300. This involves only paying  for the amount of colour on any given page, such as when a company logo is used on letterhead.

The cartridge-free ColorQube 9300 prints at speeds of up to 55 pages per minute (ppm) in colour, 60 ppm in black and white, and colour scanning is produced at up to 60 impressions per minute.

The based model of the ColorQube 9300 Series sells for just over $22,000.


Canon Canada has commercially released what the company refers to as its "next generation" of toner-based presses. After first introducing the imagePRESS back in 2007, the company’s new toner-press line holds three models, including the imagePRESS C7010VP, C6010VP and C6010.

The presses employ new sensor technology for better humidity control, as well as an enhanced airflow unit and toner-density stabilization. Canon’s oil-free V Toner used by the presses is now comprised of smaller-sized particles at 5.5 microns.

“Canon has invested three years of product research and development, incorporating significant customer input and feedback to improve the platform and deliver greater performance across a range of categories,” said Ian Macfarlane, Senior VP, Sales & Service Operations at Canon Canada.

The imagePRESS C7010VP and C6010VP presses are equipped to handle an expanded range of media, from 16-lb bond to 120-lb cover weight, while reaching print speeds of up to 70 letter-sized pages per minute (ppm) and 60 ppm, respectively. The new models can also integrate a new saddle-finisher accessory for the stitching of up to 25 sheets of 13 x 19.2-inch paper.



Océ today announced the immediate availability of three MICR-enabled machines in its VarioPrint 6000 line, for printing both standard and magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) documents on a single hybrid cut-sheet platform.



“For years, print professionals relied on dedicated MICR devices to produce checks and other negotiable documents. Today, our focus is on flexible solutions that balance fast, secure MICR printing with the versatility to do more with one machine,” said Eric DeGoeijen, VP, Product Marketing, Océ Production Printing Systems.



The three toner-based machines with MICR capabilities include the VarioPrint 6160 MICR, 6200 MICR and the 6250 MICR. The VarioPrint 6000 line itself is designed to produce up to 160, 190 or 234 duplex prints per minute. Océ rates the machine with a monthly duty cycles of up to 7.5-million prints. 



“There's a significant advantage in not having to purchase, run and maintain separate devices for check printing and regular applications,” said Dave Erlandson, General Manager at the PODi consulting firm. “With a hybrid solution like the Océ VarioPrint MICR system, users can take on more work, offer more services and maximize their printing resources.”



RISO introduced its RZ1090 duplicator with a printing speed of up to 180 pages per minute, at a 600-dpi resolution, which the company describes as the world’s fastest duplicating machine. The machine’s paper-based plates are rated to run up to 4,000 prints.

RISO states that the RZ1090 is able to work with up to 70 ink colours, while a new ink-saving mode can reduce ink usage by up to 20 percent. RISO claims production costs of the RZ1090 can reach as low as one-third of a cent per page. A new plug-and-print feature of the RZ1090 prints one or multiple saved jobs from USB flash drives, while the machine employs a built-in GDI controller.

Users can rotate pages 180 degrees to reverse the lead-edge for jobs with high-density coverage. The RZ1090 can be integrated with a new Thompson T-100D envelope feeder and T-200 exit conveyor, when working with envelopes ranging in size from 3 x 5 inches up to 6.5 x 13 inches, as well as paper up to 110-lb index. 


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