Fuji Xerox Iridesse – Two specialty colours is better than one

Ralf Schlozer
Dec 6, 2017

Less than a year ago, InfoTrends published a multi-client study: “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing”. Not only did we find that many printers voiced a strong interest in specialty colours and the desire to have several effects as an option, they also indicated that having two specialty colour stations in the press is their preferred option.

Less than a year later, Fuji Xerox launched the Iridesse Production Press at the Fuji Xerox Premier Partner Conference on the 14th of November in Bangkok for the Asia Pacific market.

For the first time in dry toner production printing, a print engine has been equipped to print six-colours, adding two colour channels to complement process colour print with different specialty colours, including metallic, in a single pass. The Iridesse houses up to two additional specialty toners of gold, silver, clear and white, in addition to standard cyan, magenta, yellow and black. One specialty colour is in front of the CMYK units and one behind, therefore the Iridesse can underprint with one specialty colour, and overprint with another (or the same) in one pass.

Fuji Xerox also revamped toners. CMYK toners are made of Super EA Eco toner, which is Fuji Xerox’s smallest particle size toner to date, citing a particle size of 5 micron for the colour toner. The Super EA Eco toner is able to fuse quickly at a low temperature, and is able to evenly transfer six layers of toners. Another patented improvement is flat metal flakes being embedded into the metallic toner particles. The flat metallic flakes should improve the shininess of metallic prints, and some improvement over the gold toner of the Color 1000i can be noticed – although digital metallic print remains far less shiny than foiling or the like.

A unique feature of the Iridesse is being able to print hues of metallic tones in one pass, by printing silver or gold first and overprinting it with CMYK. Other toner printers would need multi-pass printing, and in offset printing each of the metallic hues would need to be mixed first. This can reduce the effort drastically in hitting metallic effects beyond plain silver or gold. The press supports metallic colours found in colour catalogues such as Pantone Metallic and Pantone Premium Metallic. By using these colour swatches, the operator can reproduce colours similar to Pantone metallic colours by simply designating the colour codes. Also, since the press offers more hues than found in the Pantone swatches, Fuji Xerox has a range of predefined metallic colours on top.

Print sample showing metallic overprinted with CMYK

 

Fuji Xerox marketing also banks heavily on the capability of printing special effects. The name Iridesse derives from the word iridescent – meaning the phenomenon of certain surfaces that appear to gradually change colour as the angle of view or the angle of illumination changes. It is a fairly flamboyant name for a company that used to sport more mundane product names such as C60 or Color 1000i.

It is not all about special effects however. The Iridesse is the fastest Fuji Xerox-designed colour engine so far with 120 ppm. The press can print fine/smooth images with 2,400 dots per inch, with the RIP rendering at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi at 10 bit colour depth. With a maximum paper weight of 400 gsm, the Iridesse an also dip into packaging printing. While the current maximum sheet size of 330 x 488 is somewhat limiting for folding carton applications, banner printing will be supported in the future.

The Iridesse Production Press can also be connected to a range of finishing modules, including a booklet maker, crease/two-sided trimmer, and SquareFold trimmer to automatically produce booklets and folded leaflets.

The press includes several productivity enhancing features: a full width inline spectrophotometer array and automated correction software are standard. The fusing technology has been upgraded and an inline cooling module and a real-time curl correction option improves in-line finishing performance.

The Iridesse is already available for the Fuji Xerox market (Asia Pacific region). First customers already ordered at the event. This included Singaporean companies, Khoo Sun Printing (KSP) and iSuccess. Fuji Xerox expects installation to complete within the next few months. The Iridesse will be available in 4 or 6 colour versions, with varying feed and finishing options – from basic feed and stacker in a compact 3.4 metre long version, to a full blown multi-tray and finishing option of 9.6 metre length.

Iridesse in base configuration

Not all features of the Iridesse are available yet. The white toner option will become available in early 2018. Support for longer sheets is also planned. So far only Fuji Xerox’ own GX DFE is available. Xerox will take on the product as well, once an EFI DFE is available, likely in spring 2018.

Unfortunately the advantage of two specialty colours comes at a price. According to Fuji Xerox the Iridesse will be priced and positioned between the Color 1000i and the iGen5 in a similar configuration. The more critical will it be that printers are empowered to make good use of the special effect colours for a good ROI. Software tools, samples, and business development tools will be critical to reap the value add and realise the growth we forecasted in our “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing” multi-client study.

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