TKS to Unveil JetLeader Production Color Inkjet Newspaper System

Jim Hamilton
Nov 10, 2009

At the JANPS newspaper production show in Tokyo later this month a web offset press manufacturer called TKS (Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho) will be unveiling a production color inkjet newspaper system called JetLeader. It is a roll-fed device that prints at speeds of 150 meters per minute (492 feet per minute) and has a maximum print width of 541 millimeters (21.3 inches) on a maximum roll width of 546 millimeters (21.5 inches). It uses piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads and aqueous pigment inks. TKS says it can print on groundwood newsprint at weights of 60 gsm or higher. The configuration that will be shown at JANPS will be process color on one side of the web and monochrome on the other (4/1) and will include a sheeter and accumulator. TKS says that a 4/4 configuration will be available upon launch at the end of this month. Pricing has not been released. In addition to the standalone JetLeader newspaper system, TKS will also demonstrate a hybrid offset/inkjet offering at JANPS.

TKS’ JetLeader will join other vendor’s products in the newspaper market including Kodak’s Versamark and Océ’s JetStream. The specifications of the JetLeader are nothing extraordinary. What is interesting about this news is that JetLeader will be the first standalone production inkjet system to be offered by a newspaper press vendor. TKS is an important global newspaper press vendor, with a particularly strong presence in Japan and Korea.

All of these inkjet systems still face a major production hurdle: today’s inkjet devices are too slow to print large quantities of newspapers in a timely fashion. Yet there are some very interesting developing applications whether for targeted inserts or special sections, or for smaller run quantities of full newspapers. Océ’s Digital Newspaper Network has facilitated, first in monochrome and now in color, distributed printing of international newspapers. One Océ JetStream customer is printing Spanish-language newspapers from around the world for distribution in Spain. Expect to see this model extended to Océ customers in other countries. Kodak recently announced the placement of a Versamark VL4200 at Miller Newsprint for production in Malta of European newspapers such as The Financial Times, Daily Mail, and others.

We will certainly see more activity in the newspaper market from Kodak, Océ, and others before long. Likely there will be partnerships with the major newspaper press vendors as they have the existing relationships with the customers and understand the application nuances of workflow and finishing.

JANPS 2009 will take place from November 24th to the 27th, 2009 in Tokyo. InfoTrends will have an analyst on site and will provide an update to its clients at that time. To see the TKS release, please check out http://www.tksusa.com/tksusa/news/newsmain.htm.

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