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"Our new UV digital narrow web press is ... unique to the marketplace," said Jim Lambert, VP and GM of INX's Digital Division. "The NW140 jets a pre-treatment that opens the door to many possibilities. This means traditional substrates used conventionally are possible to employ because of the jetting of receptive coatings for inks. Most vendors require specific substrates ...." It will support media up to 2mm in thickness, INX said, and on three-inch cores up to two feet in diameter. The LED curing lamps are used for the pre-coat, white base layer, and varnish to hold inkjet drops in position before a full cure is added by another LED lamp. Phoseon's FireLine 225 includes patented Semiconductor Light Matrix (SLM) technology, which offers high-intensity and pure UV output while promoting a longer life cycle. Environmentally friendly, it is also safer by being both mercury- and ozone-free.
The UV narrow-web press also "combines printing and conversion in one machine when you use the new Spartanics laser diecutter so you don't have to take a printed roll off the machine," Lambert noted. "Besides brilliant full color, one can expect quicker job changeovers as well as automated, accurate cutting paths." The capability provided by the Spartanics X140 laser cutting station enable this system to eliminate rotary die-cutting tools and printing plates for quick turnaround of high-quality labels. Tom O'Hara, president of Spartanics, added: "The ability to go from artwork to finished product on a single machine within minutes should prove very exciting to the short- to medium run market."
Sheetfed Inkjet Innovates, Too
Our focus in the above article has been on continuous-feed inkjet web presses, but sheetfed/cut-sheet inkjet products have seen innovation, too, such as those from Fujifilm (J Press), Océ (JetStream 1900), and Screen (Truepress). Fourteen months ago, Xerox introduced a waterless sheetfed press building on its proprietary, solid-ink technology. Its patented, granulated, resin-based ink formulation serves the high-speed production market. The key benefit is the elimination of water so that vibrant, consistent color can be printed on low-cost, offset paper that comes out flat with no ink soaking through, said Xerox. The Production Inkjet System can produce nearly 2,200 pages or 500 feet per minute—driving personalized direct marketing, transpromo, and publishing applications.
As consultant Hal Hinderliter has suggested, the commercialization of Memjet print-head technology by Delphax, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Lomond, OWN-X, Xante, and others is newsworthy in the wide-format space. Memjet reveived the 2011 InterTech Technology Award from the Printing Industries of America. The OWN-X' WideStar 2000 was announced last fall and will be shown at the biennial Labelexpo Americas show three weeks prior to GRAPH EXPO 2012.
Xante launched a "super-fast" inkjet category (up to 12 inches per second at 1600x800 dpi; 6 inches per second at 1600x1600 dpi) with a 42-inch-wide printing system powered by Memjet at GRAPH EXPO last fall . Also shown earlier this year at the FESPA show (and at drupa next month), its Excelagraphix 4200 sets a new speed and affordability standard for signage and packaging, printing on a range of media up to 3/8 inches thick, including foam board, folding carton, corrugated cardboard, and sheet sizes from 8.27x8.27 inches up to 3.5x100 feet, the firm said. Exclusive substrate support gives customers the ability to print indoor signage and design graphics through a simple print path height adjustment on the Excelagraphix 4200. Memjet's Waterfall print heads delivers more than 3 billion drops of ink per second, yielding print speeds up to eight times faster than traditional inkjet technology.
"In the case of our [OEM] partnership with Memjet," CEO Robert Ross said, "we are utilizing two particular Xante technologies—iQueue Color Smart Workflow and our unique handling of diverse substrates—to create what will likely be the fastest and, in terms of lower capital and operational costs, most efficient ways to print color."
The cool thing about the Excelagraphix, noted Hinderliter, is that "the device looks like a plate processor, but you can feed it paper, cardboard, [or] corrugated, which it inkjets and spits out on the other side." And with a price point of under $20,000, it allows print shops to get into the point-of-purchase (POP) market without breaking the bank, he added.
The Excelagraphix 4200 employs 2L or 10L CMYKK customized, dye-based aqueous inks for cost-effective operation and consumables cost while ensuring strikingly vibrant color reproduction, Xante said. "It also opens up a different way to think about proofing," Hinderliter suggested, asking hypothetically: "What if you shove a press sheet through it?"