Sheetcut production inkjet advancements and opportunities

PrintAction Staff
February 19, 2019
By PrintAction Staff
PrintAction consulted a number of print experts for their thoughts on sheetcut production inkjet press advancements, challenges and why commercial printers should invest. 

Brett Rogers, Technical Sales Manager, Komcan/Komori
Production inkjet is the future — bottom line. It is the perfect marriage of the short run/variable benefits of traditional (toner) digital with offset quality and run lengths. Uptime is paramount in any manufacturing setting, and inkjet provides uptimes previously unheard of in the digital space. The Komori Impremia IS29 truly capitalizes on that ‘marriage,’ combining the uptime, in a B2 format, with perfecting capability and instant LED-UV curing. The crossover with lithography is high, and the complete substrate freedom will allow any commercial printer to satisfy a very broad range of needs for their clients. It is important to note our B1 offering, the Impremia NS40, will be commercially available in 2020, and will offer that same flexibility, uptime, reliability and quality at even faster speeds on up to 29.5 x 41-inch sheets.
Impremia_IS29_copy.jpg
The Komori Impremia IS29 features a UV inkjet architecture to print on a range of stocks, making it suitable for commercial printing and packaging applications.


Andrew Gunn, Director of Production Marketing North America Operations, Xerox Corp.
Several key challenges still exist for production inkjet — first, media compatibility comes to mind. If you look out into the toner world, there are literally thousands of media available. Inkjet, while it has made strides over the past several years, still has a long way to go to be on par. Second, finishing. Inkjet vendors are creating speedier configurations every year. Once you deviate from a roll-to-roll solution in the 20-inch space, there might be further investigation needed on the most productive finishing solution available. There is no one inkjet solution to handle every type of print application. You need to understand a system’s key applications and the particular requirements. If average jobs are statements on one stock, booklets and direct mail on other stocks, the Xerox Brenva HD would be ideal. If much of a printer’s work is statement or manuals, mainly letter-sized applications with only a few types of paper, look at the Xerox Rialto 900. For printing catalogues or high-end direct mail, the Xerox Trivor 2400. It all comes down to understanding your needs and selecting a solution that addresses what you need today, and allowing for future expansion and growth.

With the demand for inkjet pages expected to grow, Xerox has increased the output capacity for the Brenva HD by more than 50 percent, as well as introduced expanded stock choices and roll-feed capabilities.


Norm Bussolaro, Senior Director of Marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (Canada)
Digital inkjet offers ease of personalization, the ability to print on thick stocks, reliable feed capability, automated front-back and colour registration, and more. Konica Minolta’s flagship inkjet printer, the AccurioJet KM-1, offers various advantages, including the ability to print on a wide range of uncoated, coated and textured paper; capabilities for 6-up printing (B2+); specially-formulated UV ink which eliminates the need for drying and curing; and printing without the need for special stocks or pre-treatment. Still, inkjet struggles to gain widespread acceptance from the industry. Traditional lithographic printing methods have cemented a reputation for consistent quality, and many are hesitant to make an investment in something new, while others are making the jump to or supplementing their capabilities with inkjet and, as short-run and variable data printing’s popularity continues to grow, the business case for this will become stronger and stronger.

Ed Pierce, Product Marketing Manager, Fujifilm North America, Graphic Systems Division
There are two key reasons why printers should invest in inkjet today: 1. Run lengths have decreased to the point that many jobs (can be upwards of 60 percent of overall jobs but only 20 percent of overall impressions) simply are not suited for offset and certainly not profitable for the commercial printer; and 2. Not to get left behind. Commercial printers don’t want to find themselves in a position where they are not able to offer what others that have invested in inkjet technology can. Scrambling to dig out of being so far behind can prove almost impossible. Fujifilm’s J Press is often referred to as better than offset. Featuring the Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads along with Fujifilm’s recently released ColorPath SYNC Brand Color Optimizer, Fujifilm has announced its third generation of the J Press — an even more productive device running at 3,600 static or variable sheets per hour and a new maximum sheet size of 23 x 26.5 inches.
 
Fuji_-_J_Press_750S_Fujifilm_copy.jpg
Fujifilm last November introduced the third generation J Press 750S, generating 3,600 B2 sheets per hour, for both static and variable jobs.

 
Philip Hampson, Sr. Director, PPS Sales, Canon Professional Printing Solutions Group (PPSG)
The flexibility, control and cost-effectiveness of inkjet have always appealed to the graphic arts market. However, limits such as print quality, media choices, and ability to print on coated stock have deterred the realization of inkjet’s full potential. With the new wave of high-speed presses producing quality results on untreated coated offset stocks, commercial printers are recognizing inkjet as a relevant and cost-effective production tool. The changing dynamics in marketing communications have created a demand for shortened runs, personalization/customization, and diversification in print offerings. Commercial printers thriving in this space are no longer just curious about inkjet but searching out vendors to help position their business for growth. Leveraging core technologies honed in the transaction and direct marketing segments, Canon has produced an award-winning graphics portfolio. This technology is backed by a specialized Canadian team dedicated to transitioning commercial printers to production digital inkjet. Herein lies the last challenge for commercial printers — their willingness to adapt their aging analogue workflow toward a modern digital inkjet workflow. Those making the investment have quickly come to value the agility and time- and labour-savings inherent to inkjet and are seeing their businesses poised for growth.

Tim Wakefield, President, Insource Corp.
Today, production print shops and in-plants alike are investing in inkjet so they can reduce the cost of printing in colour, enhance black print, and grow their revenue streams with added-value applications like variable data envelope printing, personalization and high-volume transactional printing. Insource distributes RISO inkjet technology. The top-end printer, the ComColor GD9630 Series, is well-suited for all commercial printers looking to complement their current toner fleet with the flexibility to shift jobs to lower-cost inkjet and draw new customers looking to convert monochrome work to affordable colour print. The ComColor GD9639 prints at speeds up to 160 ppm and prices out at one-tenth of the cost of other production inkjets that print at comparable speeds, making it an affordable option to any printer looking to take advantage of colour inkjet without making a large capital investment.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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