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Digital Doings @ Drupa

(August 2008) posted on Mon Aug 18, 2008

While commercial printing was the primary focus of Drupa 2008, the show has also become a major event for debuting new digital printing products. This overview provides details about key innovations in inkjet technology that were unveiled there.

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By Tom Frecska

The ColorWave 600 handles roll-fed paper media up to 42 in. wide, and it will hold up to six 656-ft-long rolls with a maximum diameter of 7.08 in. While the printer is designed primarily for paper, it also is compatible with Tyvek, polyester films, and other media. Output is roll-to-sheet. The machine can operate unattended for long periods thanks to a top delivery tray that holds up to 100 completed prints.

Photorealistic images can be printed on the machine at a true resolution of 600 x 600 dpi and a speed of approximately 167 sq ft/hr. Prints produced on the system are said to be durable and waterfast. Additionally, because of the toner’s rapid drying characteristics—brought about by a crystallizing agent included in the toner—the machine supports the printing of very fine lines and text, as well as smooth, even areas of broad color.

Océ is working with sister-company Onyx to develop a RIP to package with the ColorWave for the graphic-arts industry. Currently the machine is designed primarily for the CAD market.


Seiko ColorPainter H-104S

The new ColorPainter H-104s is a mild-solvent printer from Seiko Infotech. Aimed at higher-volume shops, the machine is designed for printing high-resolution indoor and outdoor graphics at resolutions up to 720 x 720 dpi and speeds up to 1000 sq ft/hr.

The machine uses eight Seiko “super-wide” piezo printheads that produce variable drop size of 14-29 pl. It can be configured two different ways: eight colors with one head per color (CMYKLcLm + gray + light gray) for maximum image quality, or four colors with two heads per color (2 x CMYK) for maximum speed. The ColorPainter H-104S incorporates the company’s Smart Pass interlacing technology to ensure accure dot placement and prevent banding.

The printer supports media up to 104 in. wide. Other features include a built-in heater/drying systems for pre/print/post heating, auto head-height adjustment, and support for rolls up to 265 lb. Inks are sold in 1.5-l bags, and they can be added on the fly through sub-tanks on the machine. While a RIP is not included with the system, compatible RIPs include products from Onyx, Wasatch, SAi, and Caldera. The schedule for commercial availability of the machine is expected to be released later this year.


Other developments

Three additional inkjet printers that are still under development were also previewed at the event. They include a new machine from Fujifilm, temporarily named the Jet Press 720. The machine is touted as a single-pass, high-speed, large-format inkjet. With its fixed-array printhead, it’s capable of printing images up to 28.35 x 20.47 in. (A4 size) at a rate of 180 sheets/min. That translates to appro-ximately 43,500 sq ft/hr. The machine uses water-based inks and is designed for printing primarily on coated papers.

Another inkjet shown at Drupa was a system developed by a new Israeli manufacturer called Meital. Their machine is the Meital 3000-10 UV flatbed printer. It offers variable drop size from 6-42 pl and can reportedly print 360-dpi images at speeds of more than 4400 sq ft/hr. The single-pass printer features dual vacuum tables so that one can be loaded/unloaded while the other is printing.

Finally, Mimaki revealed plans of its new UJV 160, a 60-in. roll-to-roll UV inkjet printer that uses an LED curing system rather than conventional curing lamps. The cool-curing characteristics of the LED lamps make the machine suitable for printing on very thin and temperature-sensitive materials. The lamps also reduce energy consumption.

For those interested in learning more about these machines and possibly getting a first-hand look at them, note that many will be making appearances at various industry trade shows in the months ahead, including SGIA 08 in Atlanta coming this October.





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