The second day of PackExpo 2013 was highlighted by several digital printing announcements and continued strong attendance. As with the first day of the show the aisles were full with attendees, including many international visitors. Of the 26,000 or so buyers, Mexico represented the biggest group with about 1,000 attendees, followed by China and Japan. In all 25% of Pack Expo visitors are from outside the United States. On the announcement front we saw several new products from companies such as Epson, HP, and Quick Label Systems.
Epson simultaneously released their new label digital printing system at LabelExpo in Brussels Belgium and PackExpo in the United States. The new SurePress L-6034VW and L-6034V are developed around a new platform called PrecisionCore linehead. PrecisionCore line head is comprised of two components: a new inkjet head and a line print bar. The new inkjet head is manufactured in a microelectromechanical systems (i.e., MEMS-based) process with 600 dot-per-inch (dpi) resolution, 1.5 to 24 picoliter drop size, and 50 kilohertz drop velocity. To achieve the 50 foot per minute (fpm) throughput of the new system Epson developed a line print bar that has in 11 staggered print heads providing a total image width of up to 13 inches. The PrecisionCore technology in the L-6034VW is likely a precursor to many other possible implementations of this technology in future products.
The SurePress L-6034VW and L-6034V are printing systems with image size ranging from 3.15” to 13” in width and up to 39.37” long, print resolution of 600 by 600 dpi, and 50 fpm speed for static printing (25 fpm for printing with variable data). The system has the following features:
- Quick curing UV ink
- UV LED and conventional curing
- White + CMYK + varnish for the L6034VW model
- CMYK + varnish for the L-6034V model
- Varnish can be applied in three ways: glossy flood coating, matte flood coating, and an image-based selective UV coating that allows for some elements of the image to be matte and smooth while other areas can be glossy.
- A center imaging drum that keeps substrate in position to ensure accurate imaging
- An automatic maintenance cycle to keep the system operating at maximum up time including an Epson-developed inkjet nozzle testing tool that can analyze the status of each ink chamber for faults and proceed with corrective measure as needed to complete the print job.
The system initial list price is $550,000 and available now for customer orders.
HP News: New Cartridges, Inks, and Indigo Silver
Delivering more inks to more substrates is the theme behind several HP announcements. The new HP 45si Print Cartridge (integrated with the print head) is optimized for mild solvent inks, used for printing on non-porous and semi-porous substrates. The 45si cartridge can support extended shelf life for ethanol-based solvent inks, helping OEM partners and ink developers to improve supply chain and inventory management processes. The HP 45si Print Cartridge enables higher-frequency printing at a longer throw distance for higher productivity. It also supports higher viscosity inks, expanding the range of substrates it can print on. Partners such as Collins, General, ImTech, Mylan Group, and Tritron will be able to use this cartridge to develop their own solutions. To complement the new cartridge HP introduced a new solvent ink, HP 2580, to be delivered in the new HP 45si Print Cartridge. HP 2580 solvent ink is designed for printing on coated and blister foils commonly used in the pharmaceutical market. The extended decap time of the HP 2580 ink provides production flexibility such that stopping and restarting production line can be done without having to maintain the print cartridge. HP 2580 Solvent Ink in the HP 45si Print Cartridge is expected to be available after January 2014.