Cut-Sheet Production Inkjet Printing Generates Excitement for Commercial Printers
One of the most exciting technologies in the commercial printing world took center stage on Wednesday, Oct. 28, as three printers shared their cut-sheet production inkjet success stories. John Hummel, CEO of Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions; Jeff Hernandez, VP of Classic Color; and Ken Chaletzky, president and CEO of Copy General; joined Printing Impressions Editor-in-Chief Mark Michelson for a roundtable conversation as part of the PRINTING United Digital Experience.
Each of the three companies represented on the panel specialize in different areas of the commercial printing industry, and have each installed different cut-sheet inkjet devices. But throughout the panel, some similar themes were uncovered, including the quality of the inkjet printing being achieved, the dependability of the equipment, and the efficiency gains inkjet has provided.
At Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions, an AccurioJet KM-1 from Konica Minolta has been providing the company with excellent output in the year and a half that it has been installed, Hummel said. The Union, N.J.-based company provides a variety of products spanning the commercial print and mailing sector, and utilizes toner-based equipment and offset presses in addition to the inkjet press, Hummel added. But with 1,200x1,200 dpi resolution, he explains that the KM-1 is highly competitive when it comes to quality.
“One customer who is a printer came in and we did some photos he retouched,” Hummel recalled. “When he came to see it, he said ‘you should have told me to come sooner.’ He said, ‘I retouched these pictures and they’re better than I even imagined.’”
Classic Color, which spans the commercial and packaging segments with a specialty in high-end coatings, has integrated the Fujifilm J Press 750S into its operation, which also includes toner-based equipment and a fleet of offset presses. While each technology has its niche, Hernandez said that when looking at inkjet, he recommends viewing it as a way to take on some work that had been previously been done on conventional presses.
“The technology is second to none,” he says. “I have toner-based and they’re totally different machines. Don’t look at [inkjet] as toner replacement. Look at it as an offset replacement. It does that great of a job.”
On the efficiency front, Chaletzky said that at Sterling, Va.-based Copy General, the Canon Océ VarioPrint i300 is almost always in motion, and with its high levels of automation, allows the company’s operators to take on more tasks.
“The i300 runs all the time and is happier the more it’s running,” Chaletzky said. “The only time it’s ever down is when technicians come in to do regular scheduled maintenance.”
Hummel explained that as inkjet technology gets even faster, he expects to see increased investment in the technology. Because inkjet removes many of the variables that offset provides, and doesn’t require as much oversight as toner, he says that it’s just a matter of time until cut-sheet production inkjet sees more adoption across the industry.
“One of the things I’ve said is with inkjet, it’s a matter of time,” Hummel said. “As they get faster, that’s going to be a real issue to the offset. With offset you have so many variables. With inkjet, all the variables are gone and we can set it up with a high pile, walk away for three hours, and let it run the pile.”
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