Jun 7, 2010
A new A3-format color inkjet printer was unveiled at IPEX by a French company called Neryos. I didn’t hear about it until I was back in the United States, so I made a point of setting up a call with Dominique Martin, the Neryos CEO, to talk about the IPN75, which the company boldly described in an IPEX preview showing as the “most productive sheet-fed colour inkjet printer ever.” The product is interesting in part because it shows how a company with systems integration experience can leverage a modular component like an inkjet head into a high-speed production color system.
Neryos is a four-year-old company with experience in purpose-built devices for the printing market. To provide a view of what they do, Dominique Martin described two monochrome Neryos projects. One was to develop a security printer and another was to create a large-format cut-sheet printer. Other Neryos capabilities are described on its web site. Experience working with inkjet and integrating it into the desired configuration are a Neryos strength.
The IPN75 is a cut-sheet, four-color aqueous inkjet printer using Kyocera heads that are capable of speeds of 75 meters per minute. An alternate set of heads are used if UV inks are required. These heads capable of speeds of 50 meters per minute. The maximum sheet size is 321 millimeters by 421 millimeters. The width of the sheet as it moves through the device is 321 millimeters. Neryos quotes a speed of 300 pages per minute, which is based on a portrait A4 (210 millimeters by 297 millimeters) sheet. Duplex printing requires a configuration with two print engines and a paper return device that flips the sheet. This set-up can run at 600 A4 images per minute.
The Kyocera heads are drop-on-demand piezo. They provide 600 by 600 dot-per-inch (dpi) resolution and a grayscale capability with four drop sizes. Because of this drop splitting, Neryos describes the resolution as 1,200 dpi. The aqueous inks are pigment based. A dedicated raster image processor (RIP) with color management software accepts PDF and AFP.
Paper movement is from right to left. An input tray supports up to 8,000 sheets. The IPN75 is currently only capable of feeding from one source at a time, but Neryos is looking at ways to provide two paper supplies. It supports stocks from 75 to 300 grams per square meter (gsm). The device has as an offset stacker on the back-end. It is not set up for in-line finishing today. It is fairly compact (four meters in length) with a somewhat austere external design. Five-liter ink bottles combined with a 500 milliliter tank between the main ink supply and the heads allows ink bottles to be changed without disrupting production.
Neryos has a rental model rather than outright purchase or lease. A PrintWeek article on the IPN75 noted that the cost was 25 Euros per 1,000 A4 pages. This figure is based on a volume of 1 million A4 images per month at 40% ink coverage.
Neryos said that it has one beta site and one order for a duplex system to be delivered in September. The company manages its own sales in France and has signed seven distributors for other countries. They are in the process of choosing a U.S. distributor. Any company distributing the IPN75 needs to know the market and have a technical team capable of supporting the product.
It has taken a while, but finally additional companies are bringing cut-sheet color inkjet printers to the production market. In addition to the Neryos news, Atlantic Zeiser announced its DigiLine Sheet product prior to IPEX. And there are probably others that haven’t gotten much publicity yet. Devices like the Neryos IPN75 provide an example of something I expect to see more and more of over the next few years. The modular aspect of inkjet printheads allows a component approach that not only benefits systems integrators but also makes it possible for large print service providers such as R.R. Donnelley to produce systems like ProteusJet (formerly called the IPS 3). The same trend allows printing system vendors to react very quickly to market demands for new capabilities. The Neryos announcement is very interesting on its own but is also symbolic of other news to come. It leaves me wondering who will be next to offer a cut-sheet production color inkjet system.
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