Look around the industry. What do you see? Offset presses. Digital printers. Wide format inkjet printers. Offset litho was discovered in 1900, but did not gain traction until the 1950s. Digital color printing was introduced in 1993. Wide format inkjet came in 1995. Walk into any plant; they may have all three.
It took a while for all three printing technologies to find their place in print production. All three were challenged by a status quo. Offset was once described as “only for quick and dirty printing.” Ironically, they said the same for digital color. The president of Xerox was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying almost the same about inkjet printing (2004). Now Xerox is becoming a force in inkjet.
Yet, all three processes make money for printers. What will be the next big thing? The technology is already here. We just have to find markets for it.
Flatbed UV inkjet can print on any substrate—plastics, wood, glass, board, metal, ceramics, textiles, carpeting, and more. Commercial printers print on paper. Where is the market for printing on all those other substrates? Read more »
I’d already been briefed on a lot of drupa 2016 news before I left home so I wasn’t really expecting much to surprise me when I arrived in Germany. I was wrong. I’ll name four announcements or technology demonstrations that truly surprised me. I’d argue that each of these was strategically designed to make a simple statement to the effect of: “Hey everybody, we can do this.” These types of developments are what make a mega-show like drupa so special.
These are the items that caught me off guard: Read more »
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 »
On July 1stEFI 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 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)
Last week piezo inkjet head manufacturer Xaar plc (Cambridge, UK) announced the commercial availability of the Xaar 1002 piezo inkjet head for use with both UV curing and ceramic inks. The news is significant because Xaar has more than twenty OEM customers using its Xaar 1001 head for industrial printing applications; the first batches of Xaar 1002 head have been shipped to OEMs and over time will completely replace Xaar 1001, which is now out of production.
While Xaar improved its 1001 head since its launch in 2007, the Xaar 1002 is the first truly new successor to it. The new head is outwardly almost identical to the earlier one but, according to Xaar, contains 90% new components. At its heart, for instance, the 1002 head has the same number of nozzles–one thousand–but the nozzles are based on a new design and new manufacturing, changes that Xaar says ensure straighter jetting and other enhancements.
Of course this is only a small selection of print samples from the show. If you saw a print sample that you think deserves attention, please send it my way: Jim Hamilton, InfoTrends, 97 Libbey Industrial Parkway, Weymouth, MA 02189.
This month InfoTrends’ on-line research will include an important addition – the Ultimate Guide to color digital label and packaging (CDLP) presses. The Ultimate Guide Online is a series of databases utilized by print and marketing service providers, as well as industry suppliers, to compare hardware and software solutions. The new Ultimate Guide to CDLP joins the established Ultimate Guides for Roll-Fed Devices, Cut-Sheet Devices, and various software guides, such as Enterprise TransPromo, Multi-Channel Communications, Variable Data Publishing, Web-to-Print solutions, and Print MIS.
The Kosign (Korea International Sign and Design Show, November 22-15 in Seoul) show is the main sign and design related exhibition in Korea. Sponsored by DGI, the biggest Korean wide format printer manufacturer, Kosign is a large event with around 12,000 attendees and 190 international exhibitors covering 14,000 square meters of show floor space. The first time I attended Kosign was in Seoul in 2002 and ever since then I have tried to attend it every year. One of my most distinct memories of that first show was the low temperature in Seoul (-10 centigrade) and the strong smell of solvent. At Kosign 2012, there was hardly any solvent in the air. Instead, new UV-based products were all over the show floor. Read more »