Category: Decorative Printing

Pre-drupa: Israel’s Scodix Rolls Out Speedy, B1-Sized Digital Enhancement System

Bob Leahey
Apr 12, 2016

Scodix, the Israeli provider of digital enhancement systems for the graphic arts industry, announced on April 7 its introduction of Scodix E106, a B1-sized version of inkjet-based embellishment systems for which the company is now famous. Scodix will target the folding carton market with Scodix E106, where it says the new press will enhance up to 4,000 sheets per hour, speed that will allow it to finish short and medium print runs for both digital and analog presses. Scodix says it has already taken eight orders for E106, which will be the centerpiece in its booth at drupa; InfoTrends will report on that show (May 31 to June 10 in Düsseldorf ) for its package related consulting service.

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The “New Print”: Separated by a Common Language

Frank Romano, Ron Gilboa and Jim Hamilton
Apr 7, 2016

Note: This blog is a result of an ongoing discussion about market definition that began with a conversation that Frank Romano and Ron Gilboa had at SGIA last November. Jim Hamilton joined the discussion later and after a few exchanges Frank suggested that we present this in point/counterpoint form. Frank will go first.

Frank: Separated by a Common Language

When you are on a ship in the South Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from any land, and the satellite connection is down, you start to overthink things. Some people multi task; I multi think. And I started to think about all the new technology we will see at drupa for printing beyond the traditional. But as I read the releases, articles, and punditry, I wonder if we are all on the same page.

Take the three terms that are now bandied about: industrial and functional printing, and decoration.

  • Industrial Printing: the product is produced using multiple technologies in an integrated manufacturing process. A prototype gear that becomes part of a mechanism is industrial. A container that has its identification printed at the factory where it is filled is industrial. Printed display screens are industrial. Most printed electronics is industrial.
  • Functional Printing: the product is sellable in and of itself. A brochure is functional. A sign is functional. A 3-D printed model of a person is functional (your own personal mini-me). A package is functional. A printed T-shirt that changes color in the sun is functional. Products that change color due to external influences such as light (UV/black light), temperature (heat), pH changes, or water contact are primarily functional. “Smart” textiles and wearables are functional. Home decor wallpaper, fabric, and floor coverings are functional. The argument may be made that everything has a function, so why have two categories. But we must distinguish between products where commercial printing may be integrated at the point of manufacture, and products that may be produced by outside services.
  • Decorative Printing: adding type, color, and imagery to existing products. This would include inkjet food decoration, printing on glass, wood, textiles, and other material. In the late 1800s they figured out how to print on metal, and beautiful tin boxes were produced for both home use and packaging. Embossing, coating, and die-cutting are decorative. This category may not be necessary, but Ron likes it.

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SPGPrints Shows Off its Archer Technology in Singlepass & New Multipass Textile Printers

Catherine Cresswell
Mar 24, 2016

A select number of potential customers from all over the world were invited to visit the SPGPrints factory in Boxmeer, Holland on a day trip out during FESPA Digital 2016 to see the singlepass PIKE up close. In addition, previews of the new Javelin multipass device were also given inducing much interest from the international group of printing companies. The factory tour also showed how the company that is also largely an ink manufacturer, has now completed its third phase of expansion, doubling its production space.

PIKE’s Archer Ink Jetting Technology Extends to Multipass Javelin

Following its official launch at ITMA 2015 and announcements preceding, (SPGPrints Gives ‘Sneak Preview’ of New Single-Pass Printing Solution) SPGPrints’ 1.85m single pass textile machine and a preview of the multipass Javelin were shown in action, up close and personal to the group of printing customers from Brazil, Columbia, Greece, India, Israel, and Pakistan among others, enabling insightful questions to be asked about their ability to perform high speed textile printing cost effectively. The PIKE’s ‘Archer’ ink conditioning and delivery system used in conjunction with the Fujifilm Dimatix Samba printheads is also being used in the new multipass Javelin with the same jetting distance to fabric expected to be achieved by launch in the summer of 2016.

In the PIKE the Archer Printbar jets ink up to 4mm from the fabric (as opposed to the usual 1.5mm), which helps to reduce ‘headstrike’ with the fabric and reduce what is described as the ‘printhead headache’ of costly print head damage and machine downtime. Linked to this a 2.5 year printhead warranty is offered which could even extend beyond this timeframe once customer experience is gained. The Archer name is taken from the Archerfish found in estuaries and mangroves of Australasia that forms a narrow groove in its mouth to jet out a long spurt of water to capture insects some distance away.

SPGPrints’ PIKE Singlepass in action at the customer demo day

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The PIKE, which is targeted Read more »

Highcon Ramps Up: Lots to Show at drupa 2016

Bob Leahey
Mar 23, 2016

Highcon, the digital finishing system supplier, recently held a three day event at its headquarters in Israel to show technology developments that it will soon unveil at drupa 2016 in Germany. The short version of our report on this “pre-drupa” gathering:

  • Since its debut at drupa 2012, Highcon has placed 25 of its “Euclid”  and “Euclid II” devices globally
  • In 2016 it will add a new portfolio of digital cutting and creasing systems and related tools, the Highcon Beam, Highcon Euclid III and the Highcon Pulse.
  • These products will give carton converters and other printers new access to Highcon’s unique finishing, and also to two applications new at Highcon, 3D printing and variable data cutting.

 Why Highcon Matters Read more »

Manufacturing Ink for Digital Print: EFI’s Acquisition of Rialco

Ron Gilboa
Mar 7, 2016

On March 2nd, EFI has acquired Rialco Limited, a UK-based supplier of dye powders and color products for digital print and industrial manufacturing industries. The acquisition is an important one for EFI because it could augment EFI’s equipment offerings with complementary EFI OEM inks for their digital textile printing products.

Based in Bradford (an hour’s drive northeast of Manchester), Rialco manufactures inks and dyes for textiles and wood finishing applications. Rialco was incorporated in 2003 and its latest turnover is just about 7.9 GBP (or just over $11 million) and gross profits of about 2.1 GBP (or just under $3 million) for 2014 (according to DueDil.com). According to EFI the company will operate as part of EFI’s industrial inkjet business, and will continue to support its existing clients as well as expand and grow its capabilities with new products and new customers as part of its long term growth strategy. As noted by Stephen Emery, Vice President of EFI’s Ink and Jetrion businesses, “The deal announced today gives EFI the platform to accelerate the technical advantages we provide to customers in the textile, signage, ceramics and other industries that are rapidly transitioning from analog to digital printing.” Read more »

2016 Development of Digital Ceramic Printing in China: A CEO’s Perspective

Ron Gilboa
Feb 22, 2016

InfoTrends has been tracking the ceramic tile industry’s adoption of digital printing technology for several years. China is the primary producer of ceramic tiles on a worldwide basis. According to an industry review by the China Building Ceramics & Sanitaryware Association, there are now over 3,600 ceramic tile production lines in operation in China in just under 1,500 facilities. With about 12 billion square meters produced worldwide 2014/2015 this market is estimated to grow at about 3% in subsequent years. Asia-Pacific region accounts for the majority (70%) of the total most is produced in China.

This market was destined to take advantage of the benefits inherent to digital printing technologies such as reduced make ready, design latitude, timely manufacturing and cost reduction. Spearheading these efforts are companies such as Xaar and Fuji Dimatix and few others. These companies, along with ceramic ink manufacturers, developed by a range of ceramic inks that meet the unique characteristics needed for inkjet printing. The initial success in Europe naturally spread to the Chinese market as well which is the focus of this blog.

We had the privilege of sitting down for an interview with Stella Hu, CEO of Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co. Ltd., a leading Chinese supplier digital printing technologies. This interview provided an unique perspective on the current market status and future expectations for the digital ceramics printing in China.

Stella Hu, CEO, Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd

Stella Hu, CEO, Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd

In 1994, Stella set up a successful print shop in Shanghai that offered top-quality local services. Compromising on quality was never an option, so the company ran top-of-the-line VUTEk and Scitex machines. At that time, there were very few local manufacturers of wide format printers. Stella spent the next 6 years studying the machines and developing applications.

Once Stella had fully experienced the fun of digital printing with extensive applications, she set her sights on developing a new brand of digital inkjet solutions based on her insights on industry and client needs. She launched Shanghai Teckwin Technology Development Co., Ltd. in 2001. The Shanghai-based company developed and introduced its first wide format solvent printer in 2002, and has since continued with product innovations. The company now offers digital inkjet ceramic printers, grand format solvent UV flatbeds, and roll-to-roll inkjet printing systems for graphics and industrial applications.

During our interview, Mrs. Hu offered her perspective on digital printing within the Chinese ceramic tile market.

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InPrint 2015 – demonstrating that print is much more than ink on paper

Ralf Schlozer
Dec 21, 2015

November 2015 saw the second instalment of InPrint, the industrial print show and conference. A total of 3,400 visitors from 68 countries came to the Munich Trade Fair Centre. Compared to the previous event in Hannover, the numbers of exhibitors, attendees and foot print increased by a third.

InPrint focussed on three fields of application: functional, decorative and packaging printing. Unlike traditional printing shows, InPrint has a different attendee profile: Typical visitors to InPrint are companies such as system integrators, materials developers, and manufacturers interested in providing solutions for the industrial/decorative print market. But even if you do not intend on integrating a custom press, the show is a good opportunity to get informed on where printing technology is being used beyond document printing. Print service providers, who visit InPrint, have been able to expand their horizon while visiting vendor booths as well as attending the conference with its extensive program.

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Konica Minolta Announces Next Generation High Resolution, High Speed MEMS Printheads

Ron Gilboa
Jul 27, 2015

Konica Minolta, a long time innovator in inkjet technology with over 30 years of experience, has released information on a new generation of print heads aimed at the evolving graphic arts, industrial, and functional printing markets. These printheads have resolution as high as 1,200 nozzles per inch (npi), drop size as low as 3 picoliters, jetting frequency of up to 100 kHz, and a physical size that is significantly smaller than the previous generation of Konica Minolta heads. As with many print head manufacturers Konica Minolta is manufacturing these printhead using Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) fabrication. Konica Minolta’s high precision printhead is capable of jetting of a range of inks and functional materials such as resins. These new capabilities will enable innovative new products in a range of industries. Konica Minolta expects to begin mass production of these heads in the spring of 2016. Read more »

EFI Extends its Reach into Textile and Grand Format Segments via the Acquisitions of Reggiani and Matan

Catherine Cresswell, Ron Gilboa and Steve Urmano
Jul 7, 2015

On July 1st EFI made two announcements: One was the acquisition of the Israeli Matan Digital Printer, a supplier of grand format printing solutions and the second was the acquisition of Reggiani Macchine a supplier of high end textile printing equipment.

Both acquisitions are part of EFI’s stated strategy to invest and grow its product portfolio in adjacent markets and technologies. Workflow and inkjet have been at the forefront of acquisitions by EFI in the past and is likely to continue in the future as this strategy evolves. This strategy enables EFI to leapfrog some graphic arts suppliers and enter into industrial segments that are emerging as adopters of digital technology as a means to dramatically change their respective industry segments’ supply chains and transition mass production markets into mass customization digitally enabled segments. Read more »

Interprint Digitally Prints Décor Paper with KBA’s RotaJET Technology

Ron Gilboa
May 13, 2015

Interprint one of the world’s most prominent manufacturers of décor paper for the laminate industry has gone digital. In a press release dated May 5th 2015, the company stated their strategy to use digital printing technology to address the growing demand for shorter runs of décor paper used in the manufacturing process of decorative laminates used for furniture, cabinetry, kitchen counters, doors, and other woodworking applications. Interprint is using the marketing slogan “Hello World!” to introduce its clients to this investment in digital innovation, a KBA RotaJET with a print width of 1.68 meters capable of speed up to 150 meters per minute. This CMYK device is capable of producing over 3.7 million square meters per month (based on a speed of 150 meters per minute, a 1.68 meter width, 2 shifts a day, and 22 days a month operating at 70% productivity).

Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)

Interprint is using the slogan “Hello world!” to promote its new capabilities (Source: Interprint)

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