Rejuvenating Print In an Omni-channel World
If there is one approach to finishing that has taken the industry by storm, it has been “digital embellishments”—adding foil stamping and other effects in a way that can cost-effectively handle short runs, as well as variable-data foil stamping.
MGI (Booth 2031) burst onto the embellishment scene with its JETvarnish line of digital embellishment products. Here in Chicago, says Jack Noonan, Marketing Coordinator for MGI-USA, “the entire JETVarnish series will be presented on one show floor.”
The JETvarnish 3D Evolution is a B1+ format machine designed to offer digital and offset printers a scalable upgrade path for a full range of production environments and postpress applications. Originally developed for labels, it has been expanded to handle flexible packaging.
In addition, MGI is demonstrating the Meteor Unlimited Colors XL+, a digital press fully integrated with MGI’s iFOIL module to create in-line printing and hot foiling solutions on a wide variety of substrates both common and unique, such as plastics, wood, even steel. The system is also capable of doing variable-data holograms, which, says Noonan, “we feel are going to get a lot of printers new business, and also help get them into merchandising, POP displays, security documents, and other kinds of new applications.”
MGI is showing, for the first time in North America, the Alphajet Ceradrop technology it had previewed at drupa 2016. Based on technology developed at CERN, it is a materials deposition platform that can print chipless RFID, electronic circuits, OLED flexible displays, and both organic and inorganic 3D electronic component parts. “It’s at the vanguard of our movement into conductive inks and intelligent, smart, and interactive packaging,” says Noonan.
The Alphajet Ceradrop technology is poised to take advantage of the growing interest in the “Internet of Things.” Alphajet offers nine different inkjet colors, including white, on top of RFID or NFC sensors. Think of a package with an eye-catching image on it, but that is also a sensor. If applied to, say, food packaging, that sensor can detect if the food has gone past its expiration date, and the image can automatically transform into a different image to indicate that it should be removed from the store shelf or warehouse.
Food packaging can be embedded with FDA information, scanned with a mobile device, and can indicate any adverse effects if the user is, say, on a special diet or has food allergies.
Whether it’s digital embellishments or new kinds of printed electronics, it’s taking print in some unique new directions.
“We are trying to rejuvenate print in an omni-channel world by making it fun, sexy, and exciting again,” says Noonan. “That’s really where the embellishments and enhancements come into play.
“We want to help printers generate new kinds of print jobs, rather than compete over the same old work,” he adds. “It opens up doors and new possibilities for growth in the marketplace.”