Hunkeler Innovationdays Brings Future of Digital Finishing Into Focus
Snow-capped mountains were the backdrop once again for Hunkeler Innovationdays 2017, which took place Feb. 20 - 23, in Lucerne, Switzerland. More than 6,000 visitors from 50 nations attended the digital printing and finishing event, which has grown significantly during the past 24 years to become one of the industry's most important meeting places.
More than 90 exhibitors demonstrated equipment at this year’s event, including Canon, Xerox, Pitney Bowes, HP, Kodak, Ricoh, Heidelberg, Screen, Muller Martini and, of course, Hunkeler, among many other companies. Most of the digital print vendors showed new production inkjet technology. Though half of the attendees hailed from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 7% traveled from the Americas.
“We want to have the right people at the exhibition,” said Stefan Hunkeler, president of Hunkeler AG, during a press conference on Monday, Feb. 20. “We want to grow the quality, not necessarily the quantity, of the attendees.”
Hunkeler AG had several new systems on display during this year’s Innovationdays. Of special note was the in-line book production system that featured technology from Hunkeler and Muller Martini.
“We [inkjet engine manufacturers] are only one piece of the story. Finishing can often hold back inkjet adoption. Hunkeler took the next step by partnering with Muller Martini,” said Eric Wiesner, general manager, HP PageWide Industrial Division, HP Inc.
This integrated system from Hunkeler and Muller Martini for book production allows for variable-format, soft-cover book production as an in-line process from the roll to the finished book. It starts with the production of the loose leaf book blocks on a roll-to-stack production system from Hunkeler, followed up by perfect binding on the Vareo perfect binder and three-sided cutting on InfiniTrim from Muller Martini.
The paper web is fed from a UW6 unwind module then slit into two, accurately registered and superimposed in a WM6 web merger (slit-and-merge function) prior to cross-cutting in a high-performance CS6-HS cutting module. The DynaCut function allows dynamic change of book format length while running. The book blocks are laterally transferred (offset transfer) in a SE6 separation module and then delivered via an LS6 stacking module. The loose leaf book blocks are transferred to the Vareo perfect binder using robot technology. After perfect binding, the books are cut at head, foot and face in the variable-format three-knife trimmer InfiniTrim.
Hunkeler also unveiled the latest POPP8 generation, which processes web widths up to 22.5˝ wide at a maximum web speed of 180 meters per minute. The modules process full-color printed matter on coated and uncoated standard paper ranging from lightweight to heavyweight.
Showcase for Strategic Partnerships
Hunkeler also established a strategic partnership with Horizon of Japan, a longtime leader in production post-press automation. Deep technical cooperation has combined the strength of each company to create more efficient high-performance feeding and finishing solutions. Standard Finishing Systems represents both Hunkeler and Horizon in North America, so they can present their customers with fully-integrated, end-to-end solutions in the commercial print, book manufacturing, direct mail and transaction print segments.
Horizon featured the Smart Binding System for continuous-feed digital print, which was producing short-run, variable books of different size and thickness from a roll with no manual touch points. A Standard Hunkeler UW6 unwound a pre-printed roll which was cut into sheets in the Standard Hunkeler CS6-HS rotary cutter. Dynamic sheet-length parent sheets were then folded into signatures in the Standard Horizon AF-566F Folder. The signatures were stacked and glued into book blocks by Horizon’s BBS-40 and presented to the Horizon SB-09V nine-clamp Variable PUR Perfect Binder. Bound books were delivered via conveyor for three-knife trimming on the HT-1000V zero-makeready variable trimmer.
Horizon also partnered with Hunkeler to present in-line production of variable-format softcover books in one complete system. At the front end, the Hunkeler UW7 Unwinder fed a web up to 30" wide into the PF7 Plow Folder, where two longitudinal folding stations created 4-, 6- or 8-page signatures. The web was cross-cut in the high-performance CS6-HS Cutter, with the dynacut capability, which allows non-stop production of variable spine-length book blocks. The signatures were dynamically gathered and glued into variable sheet-count book blocks that exited via the SD7-I Star Wheel Delivery. The book block stacks were then transported to the newly-developed BD7 Book Destacker which intelligently separates variable-format and variable-thickness book blocks from the stack. From there, the book blocks were automatically fed into the new Horizon BQ-480 Perfect Binder for spine preparation, gluing and cover application before being three-knife trimmed in the zero-makeready, fully-variable Horizon HT-1000V.
Horizon and Hunkeler demonstrated an integrated Roll-to-Fold direct mail solution, which combines Horizon folding technology with Hunkeler unwinding, dynamic perforating, web inspection and cutting expertise. Featuring the Hunkeler DP8 Dynamic Perforator, the compact new WI8 Web Inspection System, which employs state-of-the-art CIS technology (compact image sensor) for quality monitoring (color, register, codings, variable data, etc.) while production is in progress, and the new CS8 Rotary Cutter which performs cross-web chip-out before the piece is presented in-line to the Horizon AF-566F Folder. This solution was producing complex, variable-data direct mail pieces in one pass with dynamic perforating from sheet to sheet.
After Canon unveiled its new Océ ProStream series during a worldwide launch event in Poing, Germany, on Feb. 17, customers were able to see the device running live on the floor during Hunkeler Innovationdays. The Océ ProStream prints uncoated, inkjet-optimized, gloss and matte-coated papers at premium quality at a rate of 80 m/min or 1,076 A4/min.
“We created a product that would open up fresh business opportunities for printers, particularly in high-growth segments such as premium direct mail and marketing collateral,” said Christian Unterberger, chief marketing officer and executive vice president, production printing products. “The Océ ProStream delivers on this commitment, pushing inkjet even further into the commercial printing mainstream with its amazing quality and versatility.”
Xerox Rialto 900 With In-Line Finishing Options
Xerox featured its entry inkjet portfolio — Xerox Brenva HD production inkjet press, Xerox Trivor 2400 inkjet press and Xerox Rialto 900 inkjet press — at Hunkeler Innovationdays. Xerox also showcased the Rialto 900 with two new in-line finishing options: a dynamic perforator and second dual high-capacity stacker. The dynamic perforator enables the creation of horizontal, vertical or t-section tear offs — such as coupons, reply cards and payment stubs — opening up new opportunities in the transactional and direct mail markets. Additionally, a second dual high-capacity stacker enables a continuous operation feature so print providers can keep presses running while unloading the other stacker.
During its press conference, Xerox highlighted how print providers have been benefiting and growing with inkjet technology.
“The inkjet opportunity is no longer on the horizon — it’s here right now,” said Andrew Copley, president, Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox. “With our next generation production inkjet presses, customers get the right technology at less cost and space of traditional inkjet presses.”
UK-based print, mail and digital communications provider McLays bought the Brenva HD to expand its direct mail and transactional applications. In the first month of production, page volume increased 15%, hitting up to 150,000 pages per day on peak days.
“We produced more than 1.5 million pages in January with the Brenva HD and are confident that we can double that figure in the coming months as the machine moves into 24-hour print production,” said Gary Wheeler, direct manufacturing manager, McLays. “The press performs extremely well with low coverage, light tints and sharp black text, which are critical in our transactional business.”
During Hunkeler Innovationdays, Pitney Bowes announced an agreement with TagG and HP to develop a new native IPDS (Intelligent Printer Data Stream) controller for the Pitney Bowes IntelliJet and HP PageWide Web Press printing systems to deliver higher-value communications.
“The IPDS controller will allow Pitney Bowes to offer an additional option for clients who desire to create higher value communications, or move to higher quality inkjet printing,” said Jason Dies, president, Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies. “We’re grateful for the collaboration with our long-term partner HP and our new partner TagG, and excited to bring this new capability to market.”
The new IPDS controller will be sold and supported by Pitney Bowes and will be available globally beginning Q3 2017.
HP announced the launch of the new HP PageWide Web Press T235 HD, part of the T200 HD Color series. The T235 HD is a low total-cost-of-ownership platform for publishing, production mail and commercial printing needs. It operates at a maximum duty cycle of 48 million full-color impressions per month and a speed of 400 fpm (122 mpm). It can be upgraded to the HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD for increased productivity. Pitney Bowes will also sell the T235 HD as part of its IntelliJet 20 HD series for transactional print and mail operations.
“With the introduction of the HP PageWide T235 HD, it’s easier for more PSPs to make the analog to digital transformation,” said HP’s Wiesner.
HP also demonstrated the HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD, HP Indigo 12000 digital press and the ability to create book blocks from rolls printed on the new oversized B1 duplex HP Indigo 50000 digital press.
Visitors to the Kodak stand at Hunkeler Innovationdays were able to see how the latest advances in the company’s Stream and ULTRASTREAM technology create new opportunities in digital printing.
“Built on Kodak’s proven continuous inkjet Stream technology, ULTRASTREAM technology will move production inkjet into the mainstream of commercial printing, packaging, labels and home décor. The development timeline for ULTRASTREAM technology remains on track, with evaluation kits available later this year. We look forward to continuing discussions with OEMs on how this next generation technology will take production inkjet to the next level,” said Randy Vandagriff, vice president of Kodak’s Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division.
DFE Spools, Processes Static, VDP Jobs
Kodak also introduced the Kodak 800 Print Manager, its newest digital front end, designed to drive its high-speed inkjet presses and ideal for a range of applications including commercial, book, direct mail, transactional, newspaper and packaging printing. The 800 Print Manager batches multiple jobs into a single run and can spool, process and print static or variable data printing (VDP) jobs at press-rated speeds of thousands of pages per minute (up to 300 m/min or 1,000 ft/min). Based on a unique VDP-optimized architecture, 800 Print Manager combines cutting-edge software and hardware, caching of reusable elements, front-to-back balancing and on-the-fly page assembly for ultra-fast printing, while an object-oriented color engine offers sophisticated color control options, ICC profile support, object-independent screening options and text enhancement.
Ricoh showcased its expertise in the production printing space at Hunkeler Innovationdays. “We want to emphasize that we are here for the long haul,” said John Fulena, vice president, production printing business group, Ricoh Americas. “It has taken us 11 years to get to this point and we want to keep pushing forward. We want to be the consultant to our customers as they expand into new markets.”
Ricoh featured the Ricoh Pro VC60000 and demonstrated both roll-to-roll and roll-to-cut finishing capability with dynamic perforation enabled by Hunkeler systems. A broad range of pre-printed and show-produced samples demonstrated a variety of creative possibilities. This included perfect-bound books for the publisher Elwin Street and the guide for the Speed of Light photography exhibition. Posters, postcards, loyalty cards and statements were also on display. Ricoh also showcased a direct mail application featuring three different duplex A4 mail pieces output to different devices.
“By presenting our digital continuous-feed and cut-sheet print solutions side-by-side we can show how workflows can easily be switched to maximize efficient, color consistent production,” said Benoit Chatelard, vice president, production printing, Ricoh Europe. “Supported by Ricoh’s dedicated workflow solutions, commitment to research and development and a global service team, visitors will leave Hunkeler Innovationdays with a clear picture of how to enhance their operations by opening new worlds of opportunity with Ricoh.”
2017 marked the seventh time Xeikon exhibited at Hunkeler Innovationdays. “The sector has undergone a significant amount of change. Our toner technology delivers sharp print and micro text detail. We are excited to see how it can help customers in this sector strive to meet increasingly complex job requirements,” said Dimitri Van Gaever, business development manager of Xeikon.
At the event, Xeikon featured a demanding security application on its Xeikon 9800 press that featured precision, quality and reliable data integrity. The security application was centered around a personalized mailer that included a high value personalized entry ticket. The substrate was a top quality security paper and the inline finishing was performed on Hunkeler and GUK equipment. The goal was to highlight the opportunities offered by security features such as variable data, UV clear toner, barcode, spot colors, microtext, guilloches and raised images.
During the event, the Screen Truepress Jet520HD press printed onto standard offset coated paper using new Truepress SC inkjet inks for the first time – expanding the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of this powerful system. These inks provide the same wide color gamut and stability as Truepress inks, while also featuring Screen’s absorption technology. The inks are also compatible with printing on a range of paper types, including popular standard coated paper and high-quality inkjet paper, as well as standard plain paper. The Truepress Jet 520HD was also integrated with a Hunkeler roll-to-stack solution with Dynacut function to show automatic cutting and stacking of variable sheet lengths.
At drupa last year Screen announced the Truepress Jet520NX model and HID2017 marks the commercial launch of this press. It is equipped with a newly developed 5˝ printhead module and supports a maximum resolution of 600 by 1,200 dpi plus advanced ink volume control. This press can be fitted with an extra printhead for a “fifth color” that enables the use of MICR black ink and other special inks. At the event, the Truepress Jet520NX was integrated near-line to a Hunkeler roll-to-stack solution featuring the HL6 laser module and printing value-added transactional applications.
At Hunkeler Innovationdays, Riso highlighted two concept models in the production inkjet space.
The Riso T2 uses the main engine of the ComColor GD. By using two ComColor GD engines in a twin-engine design, the T2 will allow high productivity of 300 A4 pages a minute duplex. It will be able to be used with a variety of post-processing devices such as those for high-capacity output and envelope stuffing and sealing.
The ComColor GD is a high-speed, full-color printer that delivers prints at speeds up to 160 ppm and is designed to meet the demands of high-volume variable data printing for direct mail and transactional printing. It can handle a broad range of paper/card stock and envelopes, with weights ranging from 12-lb. bond to 56-lb. bond. It also introduces gray as a fifth color, for better reproduction of pastels, skin tones and an exceptional grayscale print quality. ComColor inkjet printers utilize Riso’s FORCEJET technology. This heatless imaging system has a short, straight paper path, enabling extremely high printing speeds in full color, and a cold, flat and dry output that is ideal for transition to finishing equipment.
The Riso T1 full-color continuous-feed production inkjet printer features a small footprint (78.6 sq. ft.) with a duplex printing capability. Riso’s newly developed Quick Dry ink provides vibrant colors with high density, quick drying inks on uncoated paper. The combination of the Quick Dry inks and Riso’s inkjet technology helps to achieve energy savings by eliminating the ink drying and cooling unit usually appearing in inkjet printers. Moreover, paper waste is also reduced by optimizing the paper feed path.
Heidelberg, together with Muller Martini and Polar, presented a range of finishing solutions aimed at print shops and bookbinders. A highlight of the joint booth was the presentation of the Digital Presto II saddle stitcher from Muller Martini with an integrated Heidelberg Stahlfolder TH 56 producing brochures live. Also, visitors saw the Stahlfolder BH 56 buckle plate folder. On the Kodak booth a Hunkeler machine was producing two jobs, showing quick job changes together with the Inlinefolder Stahlfolder TH 56.
Visitors could see end to end applications running on the show floor prepared and imposed by Impostrip in partnership with the Hunkeler platform. With Impostrip, Ultimate TechnoGraphics offers an advanced set of tools to automate digital print finishing and short-run finishing, including everything from dynamic imposition, intelligent Marks Profiles, conditional marks, dynamic data-driven barcodes with precise placement and dynamic variable content, Origami virtual paper folding for easy work planning setup and more. Impostrip now also offers customized automatic imposition logic for new digital print finishing requirements, allowing printers to automate their finishing workflow and have a clear impact on their bottom line.
“At the trade fair, you could see multiple applications running end-to-end on different equipment configurations, produced thanks to our solutions,” said Julie Watson, CEO of Ultimate TechnoGraphics. “We define ourselves as an automated finishing enabler, extending a customer’s existing workflow to becoming an ultimate workflow.”
Ironsides Technology showcased its end-to-end, real-time document tracking system at the event. “Print, mail, fulfillment and packaging centers are rapidly adopting digital technology such as inkjet production systems and looking towards Print 4.0 as a way to deliver personalized documents efficiently and effectively,” said Bill Riley, president of Ironsides Technology. “At Hunkeler Innovationdays, we demonstrated how the Ironsides Automated Production Tracking (APT) open software system provides the real-time visibility and data analytics needed to manage every job, down to the piece level, effectively through the production process while maintaining all the necessary industry compliance and customer SLA requirements.”
Global Graphics Software
Harlequin ScreenPro, the screening technology that allows single-pass inkjet presses to achieve better print quality, and a new engineering service, BreakThrough, were highlighted by Global Graphics Software. Harlequin ScreenPro improves the printed quality of photographs and similar image types, especially in gradations, anything that requires a full range of tonality, and problematic colors such as olive green or russet. It varies the ink droplet patterns on media, helping to avoid over-inking, mottling and streaking. Global Graphics measures the printing characteristics of the press and calculates optimal changes in the dot patterning. These mitigate the effect of drops straying in flight from their aim points and possibly then spreading and coalescing on the substrate before they can be cured. Also highlighted was BreakThrough, an engineering service offered by the company’s experts in color, screening and RIPs to help bring presses to market quickly. The Global Graphics’ BreakThrough team works side-by-side with the manufacturer to create a solution that is customized to the press and its operating environment.
The dates for Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019 have already been set. It will take place in the Messe Lucerne exhibition facility, from Feb. 25 - 28, 2019.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.