Ease of use and uptime are a pair of critical issues that all ink-jet manufacturers are working to improve, according to Troy Greenwald, director of sales and manufacturing for inc.jet Inc.
"Older ink-jet systems can take half a day to start up on a Monday morning," Greenwald says. "Changing colors can also take half a day. On the maintenance side, repair issues force larger users to keep 10 to 20 percent additional print heads in inventory/repair."
In terms of equipment, Greenwald sees a continuing market penetration of ink-jet imaging as lower cost equipment makers employ the technology. "Recent price declines of ink-jet print systems make the technology possible in simpler, less complex systems," he says. "Smaller equipment is sold to smaller end users and, as ink-jet enters those fields, the need for ease of use increases.
"Let's also remember that the higher resolutions ink-jet offers today also opens new opportunities. You can customize printed material with an appearance that closely matches the printed media."
The latest offering from inc.jet is the jet.engine variable data printing system. The system enables users to put high-speed, high-resolution variable data virtually anywhere in a printing or production line. Speeds range from 125 fpm to 1,000 fpm, depending on resolution.
The capabilities provided by Hewlett-Packard print cartridge technology provides mailers with the ability to add value to a mailing piece by use of spot color and additional messages with wide-format print capabilities, according to Melvin Collins, president of Kirk-Rudy.
Kirk-Rudy, which offers systems with print areas ranging from 1.5˝ to 8˝, introduced a pair of new ink-jet systems at the recent GRAPH EXPO. The W'Inkjet II (HP cartridge) offers a simplified print module format based on a 1.5˝ format with the option of a remotable 0.5˝ module.
The print modules may be linked by a network to print in multiple locations, as well as any wide-format printing. New layout and mailing software provide added capabilities and a simplified operation.