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#Ipex: Domino Moves Forward with Color Ink-jet Printing Solutions

February 9, 2010
LONDON—02/09/2010—IPEX 2010 marks a watershed for Domino, with the Cambridge, UK-based company using the show as the launchpad for a brand new range of four/five color digital presses. The move marks Domino’s transition from acknowledged market leader in in-line variable data printing to mainstream supplier of full color digital printing equipment.

The N-Series piezo ink-jet line-up will incorporate both standalone label printing presses and modules featuring scalable print-width for OEM integration. The N600 digital label printing press to be shown at IPEX offers 1,200 dpi nominal print resolution with a native resolution of 600dpi and four greyscales operating at a leading edge 50-75m/m using durable UV inks. Capable of printing onto a range of paper and plastic label stocks, the N600 will be demonstrated in a reel-to-reel execution with a print width of 333mm (13.1”) — compatible with most standard finishing solutions.

“We have been closely monitoring technology and market trends in the digital printing market since before IPEX 2006, when we test marketed an early 200dpi prototype machine,” explains Philip Easton, Director—Digital Printing Solutions at Domino. “Brand owners are increasingly seeking to address their customers more directly and specifically by means of targeted and localised labels and packaging and initiatives such as special promotions.

“Combined with this are more generalised trends for efficiency savings: brand owners are wary of holding large numbers of SKU’s due to the risk of obsolescence, the potential for waste and the complexity of stock management. For printers, this translates into greater demand for short runs with fast turnaround. Conventional flexo printing involves production economics that incline towards multiple SKU’s, while the beauty of digital is that bespoke labels can be produced rapidly using blank or generic stock. The greater flexibility afforded by a fully digital process for both pre-print and variable data enables users to efficiently meet customer requirements for localisation, including language changes, and special promotions.”

The N600 label press can also be configured to operate in-line with a digital finishing solution, such as those produced by GM and AB Graphics, via dancer roller web infeed. Standard features include automatic head cleaning; if the printer is left inactive for a period of time it will automatically go to the cleaning station so the print nozzles can be flushed and then parked. The fluid management system cycles the ink in order to further reduce the risk of nozzle blocking requiring maintenance. A range of optional quality assurance measures includes vision systems for tracking registration and color density.

The capability to handle as wide a range of substrates as possible is afforded by an optional corona treatment module. The majority of industry label stocks can be used without the need to pre-treat and the durability of UV ink jet means over varnishing is not always necessary.

“In our view there is now an excellent fit between digital printing and the underlying requirements of the brand owner,” affirms Easton. “Our objectives in the development of the N-Series have been to provide the flexibility of digital with variable data capability, leading edge productivity and low cost of operation. Ongoing development activities will ensure that Domino continues to sustain its lead in quality and performance.”

Also making its debut at IPEX 2010 will be the Domino K600 high resolution single color piezo ink-jet system. The latest addition to the successful K-Series line-up, the 600dpi K600, satisfies the growing market requirement to digitally print complete products. Print widths range from 108mm (4.25”) to 780mm (30.8”), with scalability being achieved by mounting print modules across a bar.

The K600 joins a range which includes the K100, K150 and K200 variants. These are available with UV curable and low volatile solvent inks and have been successfully deployed in a variety of applications since their 2005 introduction, such that the range now accounts for an estimated 30% worldwide market share in its target markets.

The K-Series’ variable data printing capability supports barcodes, 2D codes including QR Codes, numbers, graphics, logos and personalised data in a range of different image sizes.

The capability to accommodate different print widths by stitching heads across the web is key to the K-Series’ appeal. The existing stitchable K200 provides up to 244mm (9.6”) single image area. The new K600 provides double the print resolution, greyscale capability and is suitable both for narrow web as well as wider format sheet and web applications.

Philip Easton, Director—Digital Printing Solutions at Domino, says, “Installations of the K-Series have been increasingly weighted towards multiple printer installations, indicating a general market requirement to print high quality variable data across full web widths. The K600 responds to this need, offering a native print resolution of 600dpi with three or four greyscales (nominal 1200dpi) and line speeds of 50 to150 metres (160 to 490 ft ) metres per minute.

“The new K600 offers a flexible single-color solution for part-personalisation through to full sheet or web printing, delivering a quality indistinguishable from that of pre-print at double the speed of most comparable systems,” he says.

Typical web applications for the K600 include digitally printing single color language variants for short run production, helping to reduce complexity, changeover time and inventory requirements compared to conventional flexo solutions, while in the sheetfed arena, the system is ideally-suited to sheet-to-sheet game card and security printing applications. In common with all K-Series models, the K600 has a compact modular design to facilitate integration with a range of host machines and is available with both aqueous and UV curable ink options.

“Alternative binary technology, although high speed, cannot match the simplicity of the K600 piezo-based technology or indeed get close to the print quality,” he continues Easton. “For applications including direct mail, forms and tickets, we believe this product will be seen as a significant advancement.”

At IPEX 2010 Domino will be showing a 333mm (13.1”) K600 printing solution integrated on an AB Graphics rewinder.

About Domino
Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Cambridge, UK, Domino has a global reputation for the development and manufacture of coding, marking and printing technologies that satisfy the requirements of manufacturers and commercial printers. Domino’s year-on-year growth — both organic and through acquisition – is underpinned by an unrivalled commitment to product development. Services for the commercial print sector encompass the design and manufacture of binary, continuous, piezo and thermal ink jet print solutions, to apply variable and serialised data within a wide range of markets, including the finishing/bindery, newspaper and magazines, tickets, tags and labels, business forms, plastic cards, gaming/lottery and direct mail & postal sectors. The 2010 introduction of full-color in-line printing expands Domino’s offering to embrace a wide range of narrow web applications.

In 2009 the Domino Group (Domino Printing Sciences plc) achieved a turnover of £256.1 million; it is listed in the FTSE 250 share index on the London Stock Exchange (share code DNO). The Group employs 2,000 people worldwide and sells to more than 120 countries through a global network of 25 subsidiary offices and more than 200 distributors. Domino's manufacturing facilities are situated in Canada, China, Germany, India, Sweden, UK and USA.

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