Ink-jet Printing -- Coming Up Heads and Tales
Earlier this year, the company announced the first installation of the standalone print head version of the Stream technology. Cyril-Scott Co., a Consolidated Graphics company, in Lancaster, OH, installed four heads in-line with a web offset press to produce personalized direct mail.
The main wave of ink-jet press introductions arguably started with the Truepress Jet520 from Screen (USA). It uses piezo DOD heads and water-based pigment inks to print at up to 720 dpi and 420 fpm. Total Printing Systems, a short-run book manufacturer in Newton, IL, and Flagship Press in North Andover, MA, which serves publishers in the educational and high-tech markets, are two U.S. printers among the installed base.
InfoPrint Solutions soon jumped on board by launching its own branded version of the print engine: the InfoPrint 5000. Last month, the company announced it would begin offering higher-speed models in the second quarter of this year, matching the 420 fpm output of the Screen press.
Screen, meanwhile, was one of two companies to show sheetfed ink-jet presses at Drupa. The Truepress JetSX piezo DOD machine (shown in Germany) used water-based pigment inks to print a maximum 20.8x29.1? sheet at up to 1,440x720 dpi with a rated speed of 1,600 sph.
Another early market entrant was Océ North America with its Jetstream product family, starting with the 1100/2200 water-based piezo DOD models. The line has since been expanded to five presses, ranging in speed from 328 fpm to 492 fpm at 600x600 dpi, and 656 fpm at 480x600 dpi in the case of the Jetstream 3000.
The company’s latest innovation is the introduction of MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) ink-jet capability. Direct Group, an integrated direct marketing solutions provider, has been an early adopter of the technology. It installed two Océ JetStream 2200 systems at its facility in Swedesboro, NJ, the latest including the new optional MICR printing unit. Direct Group reported having reached full capacity on its first press after only six months of operation, serving clients in the financial services and education sectors. It is looking to extend the capability to applications in the telecommunications, retail, automotive, insurance and nonprofit sectors.