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Big Digital Doings in 2014 and Even More Excitement to Come as Drupa 2016 Draws Near

December 17, 2014

It’s never too early to start thinking about drupa. The next show will take place May 31-June 10, 2016. And 2015 promises to be a pivotal year as vendors get their digital ducks in a row.

drupa 2016On the offset side, industry observers are keen to hear the latest news from Benny Landa. But we don’t have to wait for drupa for that--Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing visited the main factory last month and offers this update. “The press I was watching print is the first one of the Landa S10 units to be commissioned. There are two more under construction in the production area, but the first one is sitting in the main R & D testing area… While the main interest of visitors is the sheets coming off the press onto the delivery pile, there are a lot of other areas receiving attention by the team responsible for the development of the Landa S10 press. Komori engineers are in evidence ensuring that the material transport system that they have provided is working to specification. The collection of feeders, cylinders, coater and dryer is a standard mechanical train found on a Komori press.” Mulvaney goes on to rave about the print quality. Admittedly, he is certainly not unbiased, but an interesting update, nonetheless.

We also look forward to more news on the Konica/Komori collaboration (perhaps that should be “kollaboration”): KM-1/Impremia IS29 digital inkjet sheetfed UV printing system as well as the Heidelberg/Fujifilm inkjet partnership announced in November 2013. In June 2014, we gained greater insights about Fujifilm’s inkjet strategy and saw two of  its offerings: the  J Press 720 half-size (28˝) sheetfed press and J Press 540W inkjet web press during a visit to Gilson Graphics.

At Graph Expo 2014, we learned HP and KBA are teaming up on roll-to-roll inkjet solutions for the high-volume corrugated packaging market. Details have been scant. (Not forgetting KBA’s RotoJET 76 or HP’s ongoing inkjet accomplishments.)

CANON/OCÉ PICK UP THE DIGITAL PACE

“Project Niagara,” is a Canon inkjet technology in development that will bridge  the gap between Canon’s high end imagePRESS and the continuous feed inkjet portfolio. (Don’t miss this June 2014 update.)

Plus: Canon/Océ’s seven color, liquid-toner based InfiniStream flexible package printer has a new inline coating, cutting and stacking solution developed from an Océ partnership with TRESU Group and bielomatik. The machine currently is in beta testing (Leupold GmbH is the first installation); stay tuned for further bulletins. 

In 2014, Canon also announced a new Océ ImageStream 3500 that can print on both coated and uncoated offset stock without pre-coating or adding primer to the paper. At full speed it offers 1,200 x 600 dpi resolution; half speed resolution is 1,200 x 1,200 resolution or 1,600 A4 pages/minute. Maximum print speed is set at 160 meters per minute.  The ImageStream 3500 will launch as a CMYK printer. Note the paper path is 30 inches wide; users can print on 29.5 inches, therefore supporting 5-up work.

A LOT OF HP NEWS

What a hectic year for HP… In October 2014, it announced plans to separate into two new publicly-traded Fortune 50 companies. Back in June, it announced the HP Priming Solution, which lets HP Inkjet Web Press users to print on a broader range of media, including standard offset coated media.  The Epic PrimeCoat uses anilox technology to apply aqueous primer or coating simultaneously to both sides of the web. Also new: The HP T260 Mono Inkjet Web Press, a new digital press with a compact footprint that targets publishers producing quality black and white books.

Pagewide TechnologyOn the wide-format side, HP will scale up its PageWide Technology on as yet unnamed series of single-pass inkjet machines that will be available in Q2 2015. HP says the new devices will provide color at twice the speed of LED-based competitors with lower running costs. It is clearly challenging vendors already incorporating Memjet technology: Canon/Océ (Color Wave 900) and Xerox (IJP2000).

Plus: HP intends to enter the packaging market with its inkjet web press solutions. First up: printing color liners for corrugated boxes.

But wait there’s morein October 2014 HP announced  a 3D printer said to be 10 times faster than most products currently on the market and a “creative workstation” equipped with a projector and 3D scanner that uses a tablet-like touchscreen rather than a mouse or keyboard.

KODAK IS BACK

Also in June 2014, Kodak unveiled the KODAK PROSPER 6000C Press for commercial work and KODAK PROSPER 6000P Press, for books, newspapers and other publishing applications. Both print at speeds of up to 1,000 feet, or 300 meters, per minute on matte and uncoated papers with a duty cycle of 90 million A4 pages per month. Japs-Olson has the first machine.

RICOH’S GROWING PORTFOLIO

Ricoh’s expanded portfolio includes the Ricoh Pro C7100 series with fifth color station—at a price point attractive to small and midsized commercial printers; the Ricoh Pro C9100/C9110 high-speed production color laser printers. Its TotalFlow array of software, hardware and finishing solutions includes its own offerings as well as some from Mimaki, GBC, Plockmatic, Xante, Duplo, Avanti, CGS, EFI, PTI, RSA and more. On the wide-format side, Ricoh USA and PRISCODIGITAL also signed a national distribution agreement. In December 2014, Ricoh announced it had acquired web-to-print specialist PTI.

SCREEN TAKES ON LABELS, B2 DIGITAL AND WIDE FORMAT

Just prior to Graph Expo, Screen USA unveiled the new Truepress Jet W3200UV HS moving-bed inkjet printer boasting a top speed of 1,615 square feet per hour—that’s almost twice as fast as the throughput of the Truepress Jet W3200UV (914.9 square feet per hour) which  debuted in 2013. Other highlights included the Truepress Jet L350UV (label press) and Truepress JetSX (B2-format digital press).

XEIKON EXPANDS ITS LABEL REACH

Xeikon is calling 2015 “The Year of the Cheetah”: the five-color 98 ft/min label press reportedly is more than 56% faster than the Xeikon 3300.

impikaXEROX STEPS UP ITS INKJET GAME

Having worked out its short-term plans for the Impika piezoelectric inkjet platform it acquired in February 2013, Xerox is now stepping up its development efforts. Xerox has been reselling the Impika brand in Europe since 2011—and has now launched all of Impika’s existing products in its channels.

Also:  Xerox unveiled its Versant 2100 Press in April 2014. The 100-ppm device is positioned as a midrange device: above the J75 but below the Color 800/1000 and iGen presses. The Versant 2100’s average monthly print volume is 75,000 to 250,000 with a duty cycle of 660,000 impresssions. It replaces the DocuColor 8080.

THE LAST WORD…

As I reviewed some of the top stories of 2014, I was amazed at what a busy year this has been. 2015 promises to be equally exciting—and even busier. I’m sure I have inadvertently missed some key news—do you have any stories or comments to add? Please share your thoughts below. Thanks for reading and here is to a great 2015.

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