Nov 2, 2016
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 »
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 »
Apr 16, 2015
Three trends from last week’s ISA 2015 stand out as I think back on the show:
HP PageWide XL8000
- HP’s PageWide announcement, press event, and booth tours garnered the early attention and will represent a validation of the high-speed color, single-pass when the first product becomes available sometime in July 2015. That being said, Canon with its Memjet-based single-pass offerings (such as the ColorWave 900 & 700) can also look forward to a lift in sales as new attention is paid to this market segment. The first available product in HP’s PageWide XL Series will be the 30-PPM XL8000. To follow will be the 14-PPM XL 5000 (November 2015) and the 8-PPM XL4000 and 12-PPM XL4500 (January 2016). All products in the series are four-color and support a 40-inch print width. The speed is the prime differentiator.
Canon ColorWave 700
- HP took the second trend place with an extension Read more »
Apr 9, 2015
In the run up to the ISA show taking place in Las Vegas April 9-11, 2015, we expect a range of new announcements, one of which was made today by HP. With fanfare the company revealed to the world their new portfolio of single pass, wide format CMYK printers, aimed at production and workgroup environments that produce CAD and GIS drawings, and also intended to enable migration into graphics applications.
The HP PageWide XL printers are fast wide format print solutions with up-to 75 meters per minute print speed, both in monochrome and color. This product portfolio consists of four configurations, the XL 4000, 4500, 5000, and 8000. The XL 4000 prints eight A1 pages per minute (PPM); productivity increases with each model in the series, up to 30 A1 pages per minute for the XL 8000. The first HP PageWide XL printer to be commercially available will be the XL 8000, in September 2015. In November 2015 the XL 5000 will be available, followed in January 2016 by the XL 4000 and 4500.
HP PageWide XL8000
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Jul 21, 2014
Recently, Investcorp, a multi-national investment firm known for investing in alternative markets, announced that it will be acquiring SPG Prints, a Netherlands-based company specializing in the manufacture of digital inks and equipment for wide format, textile, and packaging applications. With this acquisition, SPG Prints may now have a chance to further expand their offerings within the graphic arts industry.
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Jul 14, 2014
Rapper L.L. Cool J has a lyric that goes “don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years” and that is kind of what Xaar would probably say about its new print head launch: Â that Xaar is a major supplier to the wide format digital graphics market and China is an important part of that. However, Xaar led the emergence of the large wide format graphics business in China in its early days, but as the segment became increasingly commoditized many Chinese wide format printer manufacturers expanded their wide format equipment portfolios.
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Jun 19, 2014
At a recent launch event in San Diego, CA HP unveiled plans to “reboot” its wide format digital printing portfolio with a new modular thermal inkjet (TIJ) platform. Additionally HP launched new wide format technical printers, production software, and a single print driver for their DesignJet family, but the headliner was a wide format printer from HP that will compete in the single-pass wide format segment.
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May 29, 2014
At the Canon for Business 2014 event in Poing, Germany and at the FESPA trade show in Munich last week, Canon Océ showed strong signs of progress in a variety of areas related to digital color printing through a series of announcements:
- High-speed color inkjet printing on standard coated offset papers’ Announced but not shown in Poing was a new inkjet system that Canon Océ representatives say can print on a range of offset paper stocks, including coated ones, without the use of bonding agents or primers. The solution, according to Canon, can accomplish this due to its high resolution, small ink droplets, dryers, and a special aqueous pigment ink formulation. The Canon Océ ImageStream 3500 runs at up to 160 meters per minute (525 feet per minute) at 1,200 x 600 dot per inch resolution on a 750-millimeter (30-inch) web. (The device can also run at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, though at half the speed of 1,200 x 600.) Canon expects the product to be available at the beginning of 2015. InfoTrends will learn more about this product soon (Canon hosted analysts, including InfoTrends’ Ralf SchlÅ‘zer, in Tokyo last week), but for now, it’s intriguing to consider that a vendor has come up with a solution to address standard coated offset papers without inkjet treatments of any kind. (See Ralf Schlozer’s blog on the ImageStream 3500.)
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Mar 19, 2014
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.
- Xaar 1002 Piezo Inkjet Printhead
Xaar has had great success Read more »
Feb 6, 2014
The Olympics are starting soon and it got me thinking about some of the ways that competing in the Olympics parallels competing in the wide format digital printing market. I can think of four:
People that compete at the Olympic level train for years for the games. Speed skaters work out 8-10 hours per days for months leading up to the games in anticipation of an event that may last for minutes if not seconds. Bode Miller, one of the most successful U.S. men’s downhill skiers of all time, was born in ski-country in New Hampshire, went to a ski academy in his youth and basically trained to be a downhill skier more-or-less his whole life. Many Olympians are like that. The point is that to compete at the highest levels they prepare at the highest levels, they don’t go in lightly. Print shops that invest in wide format technology and don’t have a committed strategy to make that a successful part of their business are not likely to find success in this competitive market.
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