Hal Hinderliter, the new program coordinator for the Must See ’Ems product recognition awards, is among those who are bullish on inkjet and can’t wait to see what new technologies are in store for Graph Expo come October. In the near term, Hinderliter anticipated a sneak-peek in Dusseldorf last month.
“I expect to see more low-end inkjet at drupa 2012, as the market is spreading downstream,” predicted the industry consultant and newest independent contractor for the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC). Lower cost options include Xanté’s new large-format sheetfed inkjet printer, featuring Memjet technology from Australia, as well as roll-fed inkjet imprinting (over-printing) systems, such as those from Kodak, and now Hewlett-Packard.
Sheetfed/cut-sheet inkjet products have seen innovation, such as those from Fujifilm (the J Press 720) and Screen (the Truepress JetSX). The cornerstone of Fujifilm’s inkjet technology, for example, is the Dimatix SAMBApiezoelectric drop-on-demand (DoD) print head. Micro-electromechanical systems manufacturing allows the head to achieve resolution of 1200x1200 dpi with four levels of gray scale.
Screen introduced new solutions offered by the Truepress Jet520 Series at drupa. EQUIOS is the driver for its Truepress line of presses. In addition to managing the press operation itself, it is a front-end, universal workflow application with the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) at its core. It supports CTP devices and presses with applications that include variable data, color management, and imposition, and it connects with many third party, JDF-based devices for both input and finishing.
Fifteen months ago, Xerox introduced a waterless sheetfed press, building on 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, according to Xerox. The Production Inkjet System can produce nearly 2,200 pages or 500 feet per minute—driving personalized direct marketing, transpromo, and publishing applications.
KBA put on display an array of new press technology. The firm’s drupa slogan, “sprinting ahead,” spotlighted the encouraging opportunities for print in the multimedia age. Under the banner “Designed for Performance,” KBA presented its Rapida 105 41-inch model in a hybrid offset/inkjet version. Five offset printing units and coater tower are joined by an inkjet unit with two Delta 105iUV printing systems from Atlantic Zeiser for personalized imprinting and coding applications.
Due to an innovative vacuum cylinder (AirTronic Drum) to fix the sheets under the inkjet heads, the Rapida 105 and 106 are currently the only presses on the market to incorporate this option without the need for mechanical sheet guides and print-free corridors, according to KBA North America. The unique solution prevents lifting of the tail edges and enables the inkjet systems to be installed at a clearance of only 0.04 inches from the sheet. UV-LED dryers provide for fast drying of the ink.
There are many potential applications for inkjet systems in a sheetfed printing press. They range from sheet marking in connection with quality inspection using the alphaJET-tempo printer from KBA-Metronic to codings for purposes of brand protection (barcodes, QR codes, numerical IDs, or combinations thereof). Relevant fields are security printing, packaging, labels, lottery tickets, and industrial product marking. Up to eight inkjet heads from Atlantic Zeiser can be accommodated in a printing unit of the Rapida 105 or 106 press. The high-speed grayscale printer is equally suitable for coated, laminated, glossy, and non-absorbent materials. A mini-controller takes care of system handling in marking, inspection, and quality assurance processes. Quality control, including verification of the variable data, is similarly the purpose of a high-speed camera system.