Production Inkjet

Epson sold its hundredth SurePress, engineered for primary label production, to Kanae Co. Ltd. of Nagano, Japan. The inkjet-based printing platform was first launched in October 2010 with the SurePress L-4033A.

In December 2012, Epson then launched the SurePress L-4033AW with white ink, using its Micro Piezo and soluble ink technology, which marked significant progress based on market needs to run white ink at high speeds. Epson states that as many as 20 percent of SurePress customers have purchased two or more units.

“We will launch a new model that includes a print-head using our cutting-edge PrecisionCore technology,” said Eisuke Shimoyama, General Manager responsible for sales and marketing of industrial solutions at Epson. "Going forward, our aim is to expand our market share and lead the digitalization of the printing industry."

Epson introduced its PrecisionCore print-head technology in September 2013, during Labelexpo, in its new SureColor F2000 Series garment printer. At Labelexpo 2013, Epson also presented PrecisionCore within tech demonstrations of the SurePress L-6034V and L-6034VW presses (the latter including white ink), with a planned release date for summer 2014.

PrecisionCore print-heads are produced in a Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) industrial facility and will eventually be deployed across a range of sectors from industrial and commercial printing to office products.

“PrecisionCore represents a leap forward in printing performance,” said Minoru Usui, Epson’s global President at last year's Labelexpo exhibition. “We continue to deliver outstanding quality thanks to superior dot control, and have introduced a new system to ensure reliability. At the same time, scalability allows us to fully leverage our historical strengths of ink flexibility and print-head durability.” 


The SurePress L-6034VW includes six array lineheads which are comprised of 11 PrecisionCore print chip modules (totaling 52,800 nozzles) with multi-size dot control and high native resolution. The linehead is designed to work with Epson’s new low-energy LED-cured UV ink and in-line digital varnish technology, which can ultimately image at a 600 x 600-dpi resolution at up to 49.2 feet per minute. The press works with standard film and paper label substrates between 3.15 to 13-inches wide up to 0.013-inches (0.32 mm) thick. In addition, it enables printing onto heat-sensitive substrates like polyethylene.

HP last week introduced two new technologies within its Inkjet Web Press portfolio, including the T260, which is a monochrome inkjet web press, and the HP Priming Solution, allowing its inkjet presses to print on a broader range of media, including coated substrates. HP also announced its new SmartStream Solutions Partner Program for finishing.

The T260, aimed at both long- and short-run monochrome work, was introduced as a 26-inch-wide (66-cm-wide) press with the ability to run at speeds of up to 800 feet (244 meters) per minute, employing 1,200 nozzles per inch. The HP T260 is rated for a per-month duty cycle of 111 million mono landscape letter-sized, or 87 million portrait letter-sized (123 million A4 sized) and 211 million 6-inch by 9-inch (152.6-mm by 228.6-mm) equivalent images.
The first incarnation of the HP Priming Solution, available for the company’s full line of inkjet web presses, offers a matte finish. Components of the HP Priming Solution include an aqueous-based priming agent for HP A51 Inks, engineered to work with HP Inkjet Web Presses, and the Epic PrimeCoat priming system from Epic Products International. In addition to this new solution for working with coated stock, the company also provides HP Bonding Agent for production on uncoated offset papers.

HP’s inkjet web presses also leverage inkjet-optimized papers with ColorPRO technology and the HP Media Certification Program to identify compatible substrates.

HP’s new SmartStream Solutions Partner Program is designed to help customers with high productivity finishing options. This includes the FlexCut digital sheeter/stacker solution developed by Magnum Digital Solution exclusively for the HP T410 press.

The FlexCut, which will be sold directly by HP, offers automated make-ready and on-the-fly stack changes, among other features. It allows users to produce 42-inch by 39.4-inch sheets at speeds up to 14,440 sheets per hour.
The HP SmartStream Solutions Partner Program also includes the Sprint Variable Data Finishing System by VITS International, KOLBUS systems, and a moisturizer that uses electrostatic dispensing technology developed by Eltex-Elektrostatik GmbH.

The HP Priming Solution and the T260 Mono Inkjet Web Press are expected to be available before the end of 2014.

Canon introduced the new Océ ImageStream 3500 as its first full-colour press from its Océ inkjet product range that can print on offset coated paper stocks. The new press will be available from the beginning of 2015. In conjunction with the arrival of the 3500, Canon also recently unveiled a range of monochrome and colour presses.

The company explains the imaging system of the Océ ImageStream 3500, using pigment inks, allows for the elimination of treated paper or special add-ons such as bonding agents or primers to produce high-quality inkjet printing. The new pigment inks are engineered to create finer edge sharpness, less fray and dot gain and increased optical density for a stronger contrast. Canon continues to explain that the perceived colour gamut on low cost standard papers is higher on pigment inks than on dye inks.

The Océ ImageStream 3500 reaches speeds of up to 160 metres per minute  (525 feet per minute) at 1200 x 600 dpi, using flexible droplet modulation for higher apparent image resolution. The press also carries a compact footprint for its class, which Canon describes as a design that is 10 to 50 percent smaller than other similar production systems.

The Océ ImageStream 3500 is driven by Océ PRISMA workflow software with the scalable Océ SRA MP controller and the embedded Adobe APPEengine for the support of a native PDF formats.

“With the development of the Océ ImageStream 3500, there has never been a more enticing and attractive proposition for commercial printers using offset technology to enter the digital printing market,” stated Craig Nethercott, Commercial Print Group Director, Canon UK. “The Océ ImageStream rivals the speed and image quality of offset technologies, such as conventional B2 presses, while harnessing the capabilities of digital printing technology for shorter runs, print-on-demand and variable data for personalization.”

Canon also introduced other colour and monochrome printers last week, including the Océ VarioStream 4000 monochrome simplex/duplex continuous-feed press, with a speed range between 180 to 1,200 pages per minute (ppm). The new Océ VarioStream 7110 continuous-feed toner printer runs at 108 ppm simplex, for entry-level transactional printing. The light production imagePRESS C800 Series cutsheet press, which prints 80 ppm on paper up to 220 gsm, uses the company’s new CV (Consistently Vivid) toner.

Late last year, Canon also unveiled plans for a cut-sheet colour inkjet printer, called Project Niagara, which is still under development.

EFI and Landa Corporation entered into a partnership agreement for the development of a Digital Front End (DFE) for Landa’s Nanographic printing technology. The announcement was made today during the opening session of Connect, EFI’s annual users conference in Las Vegas.

The new DFE, scheduled to enter beta testing in the fourth quarter of 2014, is to be based exclusively on EFI Fiery technology, which the companies state will provide new functions for the sheetfed and web-fed Nanographic machines. When they reach market, these 4- to 8-colour presses are to be aimed at commercial, folding-carton, point-of-sale, publishing, and flexible-packaging work.

“Benny Landa is a legend in our industry, and we are excited to work with his company as its exclusive DFE technology provider,” stated Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “Landa Nanographic printing presses have potential to accelerate the migration of mainstream commercial printing and packaging to digital printing. The Landa DFE provides a proven, ultra-high-speed and well-integrated front-end platform that Landa customers will require.”

Landa states the 4- to 8-colour presses are being designed to print short-to-medium job lengths up to five times faster than existing digital (toner) presses. The Landa DFE is to support both static and variable-data printing when using what the companies describe as off-the-shelf B1 format substrates (41 inches/1,050 mm).

“Our unique Nanographic Printing process enables us to offer offset-quality digital printing and a combination of format size and throughput speeds unprecedented in the graphic arts industry,” stated Benny Landa, Chairman and CEO of Landa Corporation. “Reaching this remarkable and exciting goal requires partnering with best-in-class providers. That is the reason we chose Fiery technology and EFI as our development partner.”


In 2013, Landa reached an agreement to have Komori provide all sheetfed platforms for the Nanographic printing presses, which were first shown in Germany at the quadrennial drupa tradeshow in May 2012.


Domino Printing Sciences is presenting an inkjet head system designed integrate into existing sheetfed and webfed presses at speeds of between 50 and 75 metres (246 feet) per minute.

The K600i piezo inkjet system can integrate variable data printing at 600 dpi. At Labelexpo in Brussels last week, the company demonstrated a double printhead bar for the first time, which allowed the system to print at up to 150 metres per minute.

“Today, printing companies are looking for solutions that offer new revenue streams and competitive advantage within their existing businesses,” said Philip Easton, Director of Domino’s Digital Printing Business. “The K600i with its native 600-dpi print resolution, selectable drop size, superior linear speeds and productivity features really sets new standards for integrating variable data print into existing print lines and onto a wide range of substrates.”
The K600i can be configured for different print widths ranging from 108 mm (4.26 inches) to 557 mm (21.96 inches), which is achieved by mounting a series of stitched print heads across a bar to cover the full width of the press or finishing line.

The K600i is the latest edition to Domino’s K-Series range, which the company says accounts for an estimated 30 percent of worldwide market share in its target sectors. In common with all K-Series models, the K600i has a compact modular design to facilitate integration with a range of host machines.

Landa Corporation, after making a big splash at drupa last year, has been relatively quiet about its progress in commercializing its Nanographic Printing presses. Today, the company announced new developments in its first production machines, the S10FC and S10C, as well as a timeline to release.

Landa says it plans on shipping beta units of its S10FC press, aimed at the folding carton marke,t by Q4 2014 and will ship the S10C press, aimed at the commercial and publishing markets, shortly after.

The design of the press has also altered substantially since it was shown last. The large touchscreen display, previously mounted to the front of the press, has been moved to the delivery area, forming what the company calls an Operator Cockpit. This redesign stems from feedback the company received from its prospective buyers, of which there are 400 who have signed letters of intent to purchase, and supplied a reported $10,000 for the opportunity.

Landa also announced other enhancements, including new ink ejectors which increase print quality that “match offset resolution and grey levels.” The press also features an advanced paper handling system that supports both paper and plastic substrates and a continuous paper feeding and delivery capability to load and unload without stopping operations. Landa has also announced an optional conventional inline coating unit that will support flexo rollers and plates, as well as UV and aqueous coatings.

“We have been working closely with our customers to ensure that our Nanographic Printing presses will provide the performance, print quality and feature set for high-speed production,” announced Benny Landa, Chairman and CEO of Landa Corporation. “In addition, the new Landa Operator Cockpit will set a new standard for operating any production press, whether digital or offset.”

Canon at PRINT 13 this week showed a concept of a B3 format inkjet device code-named Niagara. The device has an anticipated production speed of 3,800 duplex B3 sheets per hour and up to 8,500 duplex letter-sized sheets per hour, with a monthly volume of up to 10 million letter sheets per month.

The device, which was not on hand at the show, was demonstrated through a virtual experience to show goers. A presentation by Canon claimed that the press will be available to beta testers starting next year.

“Offset run lengths are rapidly decreasing while job frequencies are increasing. To achieve the flexibility, speed and control over operational costs required to compete effectively, professional printers need solutions capable of meeting a wider array of applications,” said Sam Yoshida, vice president and general manager, Marketing, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “Over the last few years, Canon has achieved several breakthroughs in scaling inkjet technology to enable new levels of productivity, quality, reliability and cost effectiveness in its offerings, leading to the development of the Niagara digital press.”

The Niagara press has a four-colour ink system, but there are plans to expand it to up to six ink stations. Also on the Canon booth was the Oce ColorWave 900, making its North American debut. It is a high-speed wide format production printer with print speeds of up to 12 inches per second and productivity of more than 800 B2 or 500 B1 sheets per hour. Delivering 3.4 billion, 1.2 picolitre drops of aqueous ink per second, the machine is able to produce resolutions of 1,600 x 1,600 dpi.

Fujifilm unveiled Arian GmbH, based in Gleisdorf, Austria, as the site of its first European Jet Press 720 installation, which actually took place back in January 2013. The cutting-edge B2-size sheetfed inkjet press is now in production to complement Arian’s screen- and toner-based printing presses.

In February 2012, PrintAction reported Digital Edge Print and Media Services Ltd. of Mississauga as the first operation in Canada to install Fujifilm’s J Press 720. Digital Edge, in addition to its offset-based commercial production, is heavily focused on in-house data capabilities with mailing services.

Arian GmbH specializes in the production of POP, POS, outdoor advertising and self-adhesive products, including 3D design and development. It is a family-run business with over 220 employees that has been in operation for over 35 years.

“As one of the leading companies in the world for screen and digital printing, customer satisfaction is a top priority for us, so we are committed to providing support for our customers in order to make their ideas and visions a reality,” stated Stephan Kollegger, Chief Executive Officer of Arian on news of the Jet Press 720 installation. “We wanted to offer the same kind of service levels on jobs we were outsourcing to offset as our mainstream in house POP and POS work, but this proved impossible. Our ability to turn jobs around quickly on the Jet Press 720 now helps us fulfill this goal.”

The applications being run on Arian’s Jet Press 720 so far include small-format POS and posters, while also allowing the company to meet what Kollegger sees as a growing market requirement for lower run lengths of flyers and brochures. “We were also impressed by the material handling capabilities of the machine which is one of the most important issues to address,” explained Kollegger. The Austrian company’s 21,000-square-metre plant includes 5,000 square metres of space dedicated to logistics.

“We anticipate the sweet spot for the Jet Press 720 to be between 200 and 500 sheets, although this may change as we put more print through the machine,” stated Bernd Büchel, Technical Director at Arian. “We are also very keen to explore the personalization and versioning that we can now do with the variable data XMF module recently installed, as over 80 percent of our work is exported and we have many multi-lingual jobs requiring versioning coming through.”

The Jet Press 720 is a four-colour inkjet press capable of printing a 29-inch format sheet in a single-pass, resulting in production speeds of up to 2,700 B2 sheets an hour. By applying a primer to the printed sheet prior to imaging, the Jet Press can print onto standard offset coated and specified uncoated papers. 

The press makes use of Fujifilm Dimatix SAMBA print-head technology to reach resolutions of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi with four variable dot sizes. The first implementation of SAMBA inkjet technology is in a parallelogram-shaped chip (referred to as a print-head on a chip by Fujifilm) that packs 2,048 jets per module at 1,200 dot-per-inch spacing. It holds one of the highest jetting frequencies ever developed.

“We anticipate building up the volume of work on the machine to two shifts over the spring and summer,” stated Kollegger. “We are excited about what the Jet Press 720 brings to our business. We often invest in digital presses and end up using them for many more applications than first anticipated.”

Unveiled at drupa last year, the RotaJET 76 has made another appearance, this time at the Hunkeler Innovation Days in Switzerland. The RotaJET 76 shown in Switzerland has optimized ink feed, ink system, screening and colour management. A new rewinder and a new, even more efficient IR/hot-air drying system – both in-house developments from KBA, were also shown.

KBA attributes an important share of the machine’s improved print quality to its newly developed polymer-based pigment ink: RotaColor. Compared to conventional inks, it significantly reduces the capillary effect (penetration of the pigments into the paper), and that translates immediately into exact print and reduced print-through. KBA is the first manufacturer to use the new polymer-based ink in a high-volume inkjet system. 

According to the KBA experts, the new ink extends the printable range of untreated papers and offers considerable potential for further quality advances and cost savings in the future. “We have kept the promises we gave to those interested in the press at drupe,” said Project Manager Oliver Baar. “The KBA RotaJET is now well prepared for daily print production.”

For its entry into the digital print market, KBA will at first be focussing on the target segments books, direct mailing, manuals, advertising, newsletters and newspapers. The live demonstrations of book production and a daily exhibition newspaper with original content from the “Neue Luzerner Zeitung” were among the highlights of the show. The book sections were produced reel-to-reel on the RotaJET and then combined with ready-printed offset covers on a Hunkeler finishing line. The finishing of the exhibition newspaper was also handled by post-press systems from Hunkeler.

Kodak has announced a new addition to its Prosper line of inkjet production presses at the Hunkeler Innovation Days in Luceren, Switzerland. The company claims the press is the fastest, most accurate writing engine on the market.

The press features what Kodak calls the Intelligent Print System (IPS) which measures performance across the operation and makes adjustments on the fly. The IPS also learns from the data to improve imaging quality and speed for the machine’s 100,000 nozzles.

The Prosper 5000XLi uses Kodak’s newly formulated nano-particulate pigment inks which the company claims offers a colour gamut up to 30 percent wider than offset printing. 

“The Prosper Press Platform is a high-performance solution for a range of digital printing applications, such as direct marketing, commercial print, and publishing,” said Kodak’s Will Mansfield, Director of Marketing, Inkjet Printing Solutions. “The high speeds and large volumes these presses offer make it more important than ever to ensure the highest performance and quality throughout the print run. Automatic monitoring and on-the-fly adjustment of printing parameters do just that—enabling printers to achieve very high image quality and excellent colour-to-colour registration on a wide range of media, including glossy.”

The Prosper 5000XLi Press features a number of innovations in its transport system that virtually eliminate page imperfections caused by paper stretching and wrinkling. The press offers full process colour perfecting with a print width of up to 24.5 inches (62.23 centimeters) at speeds up to 650 feet (200 meters) per minute with a duty cycle of 90 million A4 or US letter pages a month. The system is capable of print quality that rivals offset output—up to 175 lpi. The key advancements include an adaptive web stretch control system that uses advanced servo rollers and software algorithms to make automatic adjustments, as well as select rollers that have ribs and other advanced design features to minimize wrinkling.

The machine is available commercially immediately. Current owners of the Prosper 5000XL are able to upgrade to the 5000XLi.

At Hunkeler Innovation Days in Switzerland, Xerox unveiled CiPress 500 and 325 Single Engine Duplex machines aimed at lower-volume production – relative to the company’s existing twin-engine CiPress models.

The CiPress SED models can print duplex, one-up jobs on a narrow 9.5-inch web at 500 or 325 feet-per-minute, as represented by the model number. Xerox points out the systems are designed for producing transactional and direct marketing applications, catalogues, books and manuals.

The machines employ Xerox’s waterless inking system to print colour graphics on low-cost, plain papers. Ink monitoring reports inform printers about the amount of ink used for job costing purposes. The The CiPress SED models can be configured with Xerox FreeFlow Print Server to provide native support for IPDS, PDF, PS and VIPP.

Kyocera of Japan announced it has developed what it describes as the world's fastest 300-dpi inkjet printhead. The new head also features simultaneous two-colour printing.

Running at a speed of 152 metres per minute, the heads also have a 112 millimeter width and print both UV-curable and water-based inks.

According to Kyocera, the distinctive two-colour printing capability of this new printhead allows the company to effectively halve the number of printheads required in a printer, while also reducing the number of parts required for wiring, contributing to equipment downsizing. Furthermore, the 300-dpi model's nozzle configuration prevents the mixing of inks at the point of contact with the printed material — a potential problem when printing two colours simultaneously from the same printhead — ensuring that the new two-colour printhead delivers quality printed images.

This technology will be making its way into the commercial printing market, where Kyocera also distributes 600-dpi and 1200-dpi inkjet heads.

Fujifilm announced plans for its drupa presence to an international group of trade journalists in Dusseldorf today. The company, in its 2,020-square-metre booth, will debut eight new products under the theme of "Power to Succeed." Among these products is a new folding-carton press, based on the company’s Jet Press design.

The yet unnamed press will be similar in size to the Jet Press 720 system, but will produce print on carton stock. The company says its target market will be short-run packaging, up to 1,000 sheets. The B2-format machine will be shown on the Fujifilm booth, and company officials promise it will make its commercial debut sometime in 2013.

Fujifilm also announced it will be entering the flexo plate imaging market with a product called the FLENEX DLE. According to Fujifilm, compared to the common laser ablation mask system, the FLENEX DLE is not only faster, but more environmentally friendly, with no VOCs released in the process. The system will launch with a platesetter called FLENEX DL-25 and a DLE plate called FLENEX WV-1.

On the consumables front, Fujifilm will introduce a new line of UV inkjet inks called VIVIDIA. Its characteristics are created for commercial and packaging segments. The inks will be used by the Jet Press 720 and the as-yet-unnamed B2-size carton printing press. The company will also add a new long-run thermal CTP plate to its low-chemistry line called the Brillia HD LH-PXE. The plate promises print runs of up to 500,000 unbaked and 1,000,000 when baked. The long runs are possible through a new double layer emulsion and are processed using Fujifilm’s ZAC processors.

On the topic of processors, Fujifilm will also launch the XR-1200F at drupa. It is a developer waste reduction and water re-use system, which separates plate chemistry into concentrated waste and distilled water. Waste volume is reduced as much as 90 percent, according to Fujifilm.

Fujiflm’s XMF workflow software will also be updated for drupa. The XMF brand will be subdivided into four parts: XMF Workflow, now at version 5; XMF Remote, newly upgraded to version 5 to support mobile devices (iOS and Android) as well as HTML 5; XMF PrintCentre; a Web-to-print e-commerce system; and XMF ColorPath, which is a new cloud-based colour management tool that promises ease-of-use for non-colour experts.

Fujifilm's Dimatix division will show off its new high nozzle density, drop-on-demand, SG-1024 industrial single-pass printhead. It incorporates Dimatix' new RediJet technology, which is a combination of several new features such as a unique nozzle plate design, enhanced on-head electronics, ink recirculation and waveforms tailored to specific fluids.

Océ expands its inkjet-based Océ JetStream product line with the launch of a new series of 30-inch monochrome printing systems, which the company describes as ideally suited for book production. Océ also heralds what it sees as a relatively small footprint for the new systems at 27 square metres, when compared to other machines in the same production class.

There are three new 30-inch monochrome systems being released, (with a four- to six-month order window) including: Océ JetStream 2300 mono, which hits a top speed of 100 metres per minute (2,020 A4/min or 328 feet per minute); Océ JetStream 3300 mono, which reaches 150 mpm (3,030 A4/min or 492 fpm); and the high-speed Océ JetStream 4300 mono, which hits 200 mpm (4,040 A4/min or 656 fpm).

All three models carry a 30-inch paper width and a printing width of 29.5 inches, while reaching an apparent resolution of 1,200 dpi. The new models use core Océ technologies like the SRA MP controller architecture and DigiDot.

At the Labelexpo Europe tradeshow in Belgium, ended October 1, EFI launched its new UV inkjet-based Jetrion 4900 press, which includes inline laser finishing for label converters. 

The Jetrion 4900 is described by EFI VP Sean Skelly, as “a robust industrial press that is ideal for label converters looking to transfer high-cost, short- and medium-run jobs to digital systems, from print file straight through to finished roll."

A four-colour system, the Jetrion 4900 has capabilities to print opaque white UV inks in a single pass, delivering flexo-quality labels, according to the company, that are heat, cold and chemical resistant, and UL-certified on select substrates.
The finishing system features high-powered dual lasers from SEI Laser Converting, offering capabilities like die cutting, slitting, and back-scoring on a range of substrates from paper, foil and film to specialty stock. The press runs standard flexo rolls and offers inline and offline modes for special jobs.

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