Graph Expo Review: Digital Printing & Workflow - Inkjet Is the New Heavy IronOctober 2011 By Mark Smith
Heidelberg, for example, once again had its traditional booth location at the entrance to the hall (alongside Xerox) after taking a one-year hiatus. However, the piece of equipment front and center was an EFI VUTEk GS3200 grand-format UV inkjet printer. That machine was running in conjunction with a Ricoh Pro C901 Graphic Arts Edition color digital press and a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74 offset press to demonstrate integrated workflows and color management.
Wide- and grand-format printers really stood out around the show floor, with the size of some devices giving them the impression of being the new “heavy iron” in the industry. Heidelberg had a second offset press on display, but the only other sizable piece of offset iron was in the Presstek booth.
Presstek stresses the digital aspect of the five-color Presstek 75DI it brought to the show, since it can go from a digital file to sellable sheet (max. 31.02x23.62˝) in only six minutes. The company also had its smaller format digital offset presses, the Presstek 52DI-AC (aqueous coating) and 34DI, on hand.
Other smaller format devices could be found around the show floor, such as the two-color BaumPrint 18 press Mitsubishi Imaging used to demonstrate the quality and printability of its Thermal Digi- Plate processless and chemistry-free plates.
Even the new crop of inkjet presses for high-volume page production was overshadowed a bit by their wider brethren, as fewer vendors elected to bring machines to Chicago.
Under the partnership announced earlier this year, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. displayed a Truepress Jet520 inkjet system from Screen (USA)—which did not exhibit. Konica Minolta also featured its own bizhub PRESS C70hc color printer, a 70 ppm version of its High Chroma color print engine introduced earlier this year; and the bizhub PRESS C8000/C7000 color press family that it promotes as “big-iron,” toner-based machines.
Revved Up Their Engines
The InfoPrint 5000 version of the Screen inkjet engine was featured in the Ricoh booth, along with the InfoPrint ProcessDirector bringing native PDF support to the automated document factory (ADF) environment. The company also showed the recently introduced Pro C651EX (65 ppm) and C751EX/C751 (75 ppm) printing system line, which features a maximum resolution of 4,800x1,200 dpi, TCRU (Trained Customer Replaceable Units) kits and a new liquid-cooled developer system for heavy usage.
Océ, a Canon Group Co., showed its ColorStream 3500 inkjet system for the first time in North America. The 201⁄2˝-wide machine prints at 246 fpm to produce 536 ppm with a single unit, and 1,073 ppm in a twin-engine configuration. The machine on the show floor was due to ship to Itasca, IL-based SourceLink as part of a twin configuration. The new Océ JetStream 1400 (328 fpm/1,428 ppm) and 3000 (656 fpm/2,865 ppm) models were only virtually displayed in the booth.
Canon, meanwhile, was running its seven-color DreamLabo 5000 roll-fed inkjet printer with a 12˝ width and 2,400x1,200 dpi resolution designed for high-end applications. With U.S. shipments set for early next year, it uses proprietary FINE inkjet technology to apply CMYK plus photo cyan, photo magenta and gray dye-based inks.
Xerox did make a splash in this product class by previewing a single-engine duplex configuration of its newly named CiPress 500 waterless production inkjet system. The twin-engine duplex configuration actually will be the first to market, with installs slated for later this year. It is capable of printing a 201⁄2˝ web width at a rated speed of 500 fpm (or 2,180 pages) at a 600x400 dpi resolution. (To read more about this press and the U.S. beta site, turn to Digital Digest on page 36.)
Also creating a buzz at the show were implementations of the Memjet inkjet print head technology. The printing speeds/productivity said to be achievable with the technology have made it the “next big thing” for a number of years.
Scheduled to ship next year and targeted for signage and packaging applications, the Xanté Excelagraphic 4200 inkjet system employs five Memjet thermal inkjet print heads for a 42˝ print width. It outputs 60 fpm at 1,600x800 dpi and 30 fpm at 1,600x1,600 dpi up to a 100-foot length. In the FASTechonology Group booth, Colordyne Technologies launched its CDT-1600 line of label printers developed in partnership with Memjet, capped off by the production-class model that prints a 8.69˝ width at 160 fpm and 1,600x1,200 dpi.
Like offset presses, computer-to-plate systems were conspicuous by their near absence from the show floor. Heidelberg did feature a Suprasetter A75 thermal platesetter in its booth, but Agfa Graphics had the only other significant hardware on display in the form of a couple of new plate processors. The latest developments in plates were featured by several vendors.
Turning to the specific product developments at this show, Agfa’s booth was dominated by three wide-format printers in a display of real-world inkjet applications. Making its first appearance at a commercial printing show was the Anapurna M1600—a 63˝, CMYK plus white ink UV machine that outputs a 720x1,440 dpi resolution at speeds to 500 square feet/hr.
On the CTP side, the company’s product introductions included the Azura Vi chemistry-free, violet photopolymer plate rated for up to 150,000 impressions, and the Energy Elite Pro thermal plate with a higher sensitivity. Agfa also introduced the Apogee Prepress 7.1 workflow upgrade featuing the latest version of the Adobe PDF Print Engine and preflight enhancements.
Just prior to the show, OKI Data Americas announced a national agreement with Agfa Graphics that enables the latter to sell the OKI pro510DW digital web press, which prints continuous-fed media or cut sheets in widths up to 12.9˝ at up to 30 fpm/36 ppm, respectively, with a maximum 600x1,200 dpi resolution. In its booth, OKI displayed its complete proColor series, including the pro930 printer and pro900DP envelope press.
To complement its super-wide printer in the Heidelberg booth, EFI launched the Fiery XF proServer for the VUTEk family. The scalable system is optimized for fast image processing, features colorimetric tools for color correction and integrates with other EFI products, such as Pace and Digital StoreFront.
Among EFI’s other workflow news was the launch of PrintSmith Vision, a browser-based management solution that provides estimating, quoting, order tracking, scheduling, production forms, data collection, inventory, costing and invoicing tools. It’s slated for release in Q1 of 2012. EFI also previewed a new version of Digital StoreFront—which Xerox is also now offering—that features an enhanced user interface and new online preview capability.
Shown for the first time in the states, the Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600 wide-format inkjet printer features LED UV technology, which cures ink using less energy and at a lower temperature to support thinner substrates. Slated to ship in early 2012, the eight-color, 1.6 meter-wide device prints roll and rigid media at up to 215 square feet/hr. and a 1,200 dpi resolution.
Since it elected not to show the J Press 720 sheetfed inkjet press, the dominant piece of hardware in Fujifilm’s booth was the Inca Onset S40 flatbed inkjet printer, which is the first model in the line to use heads based on Fujifilm Dimatix MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) technology for increased imaging accuracy. The four- or six-color production device prints 94 full beds (63x123.6˝) per hour at up to a 600 dpi resolution.
An unfortunate confluence of events left HP to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its agreement to acquire Indigo N.V. one day after the show—and country—observed a very somber 9/11 anniversary. While the HP Inkjet Web Press family was not on the show floor, the company did announce that the 201⁄2˝-wide T200 model will get a high-productivity color printing option early next year that increases the speed to 400 fpm. The upgrade will be available for both new and current T200 customers, including Pitney Bowes’ IntelliJet 20 printing systems.
HP also introduced the 41⁄4˝ HP C500 (color) and M500 (monochrome) inkjet printing modules that enable in-line printing at up to 500 fpm with a 600x300 dpi resolution. As the distributor of the HP Scitex industrial inkjet printers, PriscoDigital demonstrated the 126˝-wide HP Scitex LX850 inkjet printer featuring environmentally-friendly Latex ink technology, and the six-color HP Scitex FB700 hybrid UV system that handles rigid or flexible media up to 98.4˝ wide.
Get a Head in the Game
Kodak didn’t bring a Prosper Press to Chicago, but did team up with Adphos North America/GSS on a technology demonstration of the Kodak Prosper S20 imprinting system’s ability to run in-line with web presses and finishing equipment at speeds up to 2,000 fpm. The 4.16˝ Stream inkjet heads print CMYK at 600x300 dpi.
In its booth, Kodak featured workflow enhancements that included upgrades to Prinergy Connect and EVO Workflow, Kodak ColorFlow and Kodak PREPS 6 imposition software with a new user interface. Making its debut was the Kodak MarketMover Managed Campaign Services suite, a set of services designed to help printers market and sell data-driven, multi-channel, direct marketing campaigns.
Having first moved into inkjet technology with its JETvarnish machine for spot UV coating, MGI Digital Graphic Technology has now advanced into inkjet printing with the JETcard press. It uses UV inkjet technology to print up to 8,000 CR-80 format cards per hour (simplex) at 720x2,160 dpi in four to six colors with spot or flood UV coating.
MGI also featured its new four-color Meteor DP8700 multi-substrate (paper and plastics) digital press that supports up to a 13x40˝ sheet (13x47˝ with manual bypass) and prints up to 71 ppm (letter-size) with a maximum 3,600 dpi resolution. The EnvelopExpress Pro option improves the efficiency of envelope printing.
Other digital printing and workflow news at Graph Expo included:
• Heidelberg unveiled the Prinect Web-to-Print Manager solution developed in cooperation with Pageflex, a division of Bitstream Inc., and previewed its new Prinect Business Manager MIS software.
• AccuLink, in Greenville, NC, placed an order for a Scodix1200 press from Scodix Ltd., enabling it to variably “print” a clear polymer coating.
• ColorBurst Systems introduced the ColorBurst Digital Inkjet CTP system, which uses Epson Stylus Pro printers to image plates, and the CleanDot eco-friendly line of ink and press chemistry.
• ERP and ERP showed its ERP Print software module that works in an SAP environment to quickly estimate accurate costs and determine crucial job information.
• ECRM Imaging Systems began selling its DPP 1200 color printer that outputs up to 31 ppm with conventional offset screening to 175 lpi and a maximum 12x18˝ sheet size.
• Enfocus released the Switch 10 workflow update that introduces the optional SQL-based Database Module, a SwitchClient iPad app and support for Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and XMP.
• The NW140 digital narrow web press from INX International uses Xaar inkjet heads and LED curing to print at up to 80 fpm with a 51⁄2˝ print width.
• Keen Systems launched its e-commerce and online customer management solution based on the software-as-a-service model.
• Olec and Canon showed a custom-designed bridge between the Olec Swift coater and image- PRESS C7010VP color digital press for in-line UV coating.
• Xerox introduced the 70 ppm Xerox 770 and 770i color presses that use EA toner to print at 2,400 dpi, and can be configured with various in-line finishing options. PI