This page is from the WhatTheyThink Archive. For the latest Printing Industry News, Commentary&Analysis, and Economics visit the WhatTheyThink homepage.
If you're looking for a specific article try searching for it:
|eXpert Row Commentary - Tribute Tuesdays|
Commentary by Andrew Tribute
June 26, 2007 -- One of the terms that we will be hearing a lot in the long drag to drupa is Industrial Printing. This covers a wide variety of applications where the printed product is a part of an overall production process rather than the finished item. Some of the best-known work in this area would be packaging, labels, parts of electrical and electronic components, etc. I have recently been at two events where industrial printing was an element of these and where some interesting products were to be seen.
The first of these events was FESPA, the major trade show for the screen-printing and large format inkjet display printing markets. It was a large successful event held in Berlin, Germany. I have never before seen so many different suppliers of super-wide (up to 5 metre width) inkjet presses printing onto a huge range of different substrates. There were also an increasing number of wide format (up to 2.3 metres in width) flatbed inkjet printers printing onto rigid substrates up to 3.3 metres in length. These two different types of printers cover a very wide range of markets and have had the effect of radically changing the display, billboard and point of purchase markets.
The product that caught my attention most however came from Screen in Japan. This is the same company that surprised the world almost two years ago when it introduced its Truepress Jet520 high-speed inkjet based color press that runs at around 400 A4 pages/minute. There new two new Screen products but the one I found particularly interesting was the Truepress Jet650 UV. This is a very different product from all the other inkjet-based presses on view at FESPA. It has a relatively small print area of 644 x 594 mm (25.35 x 23.38 inches) and is designed to print a wide variety of materials in very high quality. The print bed handling the material to be printed has very accurate positioning and allows for multiple pass printing. The surface of the substrate does not have to be completely flat. The printer uses printheads from Toshiba Tec that allow for very small ink droplets and for multiple size ink droplets. Screen executives say that the press is suitable for a wide range of different applications in industries like electronics and instrumentation and were showing samples of printed panels from the automotive industry. Screen also showed a new high-quality flatbed press the Truepress Jet 2500UV which uses the same printheads and appears to set a new quality standard for this market. Screen is making a major move to make inkjet printing one of its core businesses.
The second event I attended was the EFI Connect conference in Las Vegas. This is predominantly an event for its MIS systems business, however it also showed products from its inkjet businesses of VUTEk and Jetrion. The Jetrion 4000 was being seen in operation mode for the best time and it is now being shipped to customers. This is a specialized label printing press printing on rolls of 4 or 8 inches in width in four colors. I was very impressed with the quality of the printing. This press will challenge HP Indigo’s leading position in the digital label market as well as that of Xeikon. It appears to be faster than the other presses and more flexible in linking up with inline die cutting systems. It also appears cheaper to acquire and operate than the HP Indigo or Xeikon presses. While its quality at this time is not as good as that HP Indigo I believe for the vast majority of label applications it is very acceptable. It is interesting also that it uses inkjet printheads from Toshiba Tec. These heads appear to be the standard for highest quality printing with UV curable inks. Similar heads are also used within the Agfa Dotrix presses. The heads also work very well with other inks as can be seen by the huge number of RISO HC5500 printers that are now shipping into the office market worldwide today.
The first Jetrion printers running with a 4-inch wide web are now shipping to customers, The 8-inch wide version of the press is ready for production. Jetrion is also well ahead with its project for Crown Cork and Seal for a fully automatic print and finishing line for the production of printed metal cans. This uses the same imaging technology as the Jetrion 4000 and it is yet another example of how inkjet printing will have a major impact in the area of industrial printing.
What do you think of Andy's view? Please offer your feedback to Andy via email: email@example.com.
Attributes Associates is an internationally oriented consulting company specializing in marketing and technology issues for the printing, publishing and media markets. The Managing Partner of Attributes Associates is Andrew Tribute, who is recognized internationally as one of the world's leading authorities on these industries and subjects.
Andrew Tribute is a visiting Professor at University of the Arts London.