Digital’s push for Drupa dominance

“It will be the beginning of the demise of conventional presses,” he declared in January. “Drupa is going to be a tremendous exhibition. This year, people will see digital developments that will stop them buying offset presses. Digital technology has taken another giant step.”

Filler stands by what he said back then “100%” and believes that this year’s Drupa will impress and excite in equal measure. “The quality of inkjet is outstanding, with greyscale and drop-on-demand technology,” he says. “We are going to see products at Drupa that will challenge conventional sheetfed devices.”

Steve Wilson, director of Océ UK’s production printing division, agrees with Filler’s assessment. He says digital is predicted to more than double in size over the next 10 years and this year’s Drupa will demonstrate how this will be done.

“The offset market is being eroded by digital,” he says. “Digital has more than established its place. Businesses now understand when an application should be digitally printed and when it needs to be produced using offset.”

Wilson adds that Drupa will underline digital’s ongoing efforts to innovate. “It’s about selecting the right technology, whether it’s toner, laser or inkjet. All are now established technologies in their own right.”

Certainly, inkjet developments are creating a lot of buzz at the moment, which is likely to follow through into Drupa. Both Océ and Screen will be demonstrating their latest technology pitched at markets including transpromo.

Storming ahead
Agfa has new digital offerings to show off and Kodak has also got new products in this field. In addition, InfoPrint Solutions will be showcasing the firm’s flagship 5000 press based on inkjet technology, while HP is also getting in on the act: its Inkjet Web Press looks set to break speed records.

It’s no surprise inkjet manufacturer Xaar is also upbeat ahead of the show. It has a record number of OEM partnerships at Drupa incorporating its 1001, 760 or XaarDot heads. Unsurprisingly, the company’s chief executive Ian Dinwoodie is pleased with the progress inkjet has made but he believes there is more to come. “If you think this year’s show will be nicknamed ‘Inkjet Drupa’ then just wait and see what will happen in 2012,” he says. “Inkjet has moved on dramatically but it has not finished. The technology is more of a teenager at the moment as opposed to an adult.”

It might not be an adult just yet, but inkjet is pushing some technologies into the retirement home. “Screen printing is doomed,” says Inca Digital managing director Bill Baxter. “It is melting away before people’s eyes. While, for example, point of sale is still printed on screen, companies are not investing in new screen machines.”

Baxter says new digital printers in the large-format market are also taking a pot-shot at another print technology. “There will be a lot of machines printing in a single pass at 11-20in web widths. That’s aimed squarely at flexo.”

However, Baxter adds that it will take a while for digital to make serious inroads in this area: “Flexo will not be obsolete today or in five years’ time.” And for inkjet technology to get truly stuck into offset could take even longer, he argues. “You need another generation of inkjet technology for it to go toe to toe with offset. I think even 10 years is optimistic.”

Digital manufacturers, aware that print firms will not be trading in their offset presses for digital machines just yet, are coming up with new ways to help customers pick the most cost-effective method of printing. HP, for example, offers the Commercial and Label Job Estimator, a software package developed by True Clarity which aims to supply firms with a guide to what is economically viable – offset or digital.

“It allows customers to make sound business decisions,” explains Andrew Davies, director at True Clarity. “It can analyse exactly how a job will work and gives a profit margin for the printer.”

While inkjet may have come on leaps and bounds since the last Drupa, that doesn’t mean everyone is enthusiastic about its rapid rise. One manufacturer yet to be convinced is Xeikon. Its chief technology officer Frank Deschuytere reckons there is more work to be done and a “breakthrough” is still needed. Xeikon’s latest press, the 8000, uses toner-based technology, as does Xerox’s major challenger to the market, the 490/980. The manufacturing giant is also dipping its toe into the packaging sector with its Stora Enso Gallop – an iGen3 digital engine incorporating a die-cutting line.

As for whether toner or inkjet will be the dominant digital technology, the debate still rages. Xaar’s Dinwoodie argues that toner has had a head start on inkjet. “That technology came to the market in 1993,” he says. “Fifteen years later, inkjet has made an impact. External forecasts, though, have predicted that by 2015 inkjet will surpass toner-based technology. Inkjet has been playing catch-up.”

Debates over digital print’s current status and what technologies are best placed to exploit its growth look set to rage on, but what is without question is that the market is buoyant at the moment and goes into Drupa more confident about its future than ever.


Stand 8a/B63
The Dotrix industrial inkjet press will form part of Agfa’s digital offering. The machine will be set up for flexible packaging and folding cartons and handle run lengths of 15,000m. Running at 24m per minute on a raft of substrates, Agfa is aiming to get the full-colour press up to 30m per hour.

Atlantic Zeiser
Stand 11/C56
Atlantic Zeiser supplies personalised and encoding systems for the label market and will be handing a debut to its Omega 36HD and Omega 210 inkjet machines. Both inkjet printers can be installed on web or sheetfed products and have a resolution of 720dpi.

Stand 8a/B46
Canon has clearly been saving up all its launches for Drupa, bringing a raft of new products, developments in existing products and entirely new lines to the show. The ImagePress range of presses will be shown on stand, including a new range of monochrome ImagePress engines aimed at transactional and print-for-pay markets, which run at 135 A4 images per minute. There is also an addition to the lower end of the ImagePress C (colour) range, with the new C6000 and C6000VP models printing with resolutions up to 1,200dpi at 60 impressions per minute. Drupa will also be the launch for a new ImagePress colour model with a fifth toner, a transparent or clear toner for spot applications to add value. And there are developments in Canon’s X-Rite colour control systems for the ImagePress range. Just as importantly, Canon will unveil its strategic partnership with Agfa, the fruit of which is the integration of Canon’s ImagePress range with Agfa’s Apogee JDF-
enabled workflow.

Dimuken (GB)
Stand 11/E68
UK manufacturer Dimuken will be demonstrating its inkjet printer for variable data work. The Dimuken DC-9740 is able to print static text, graphics, numbering and a range of bar codes. The machine is available in both continuous and sheetfed models. Dimuken will also be showing its range of reeling machines for web winding and unwinding.

Domino Printing Sciences
Stand 13/D89
Domino will be launching the 4.5 version of its Bitjet+ high speed inline inkjet printer. The upgraded machine is able to print at higher speeds as well as increased print resolutions of up to 180dpi. According to Domino, this is a “unique development” for a high speed binary printer and sets a new standard for a versatile solvent-based product.

Fujifilm Dimatix
Stand 8b/B03
The manufacturer is wheeling out its big guns for this year’s Drupa: the latest drop-on-demand inkjet technology showcased in a new printhead claimed to be powerful enough to enable a new level of single-pass applications for higher speed. The printhead, which uses Fujifilm Dimatix’s proprietary Shaped Piezo SiliconT MEMS technology, is said to be able to use a wide range of fluids beyond straightforward printing ink.

Stand 7a/B19
FFEI’s Caslon machine is the company’s major inkjet product with the technology based on Xaar’s 1001 greyscale printheads. The Caslon can be used as a standalone print engine or incorporated into another system with a speed of 25m per minute. FFEI linked up with Nilpeter to develop the machine.

Stand 8a/B26
HP must have forced its product development team to work overtime, as its Drupa roll-out amply demonstrates. Alongside the new HP Inkjet Web Press (see star product on p36) are three new HP Indigo machines: a speed-bumped sheetfed 7000 model producing 120ppm, and two new web-fed machines, the WS6000 for label and packaging applications, and the WS7200 for high-volume commercial work. On the software side, HP will be demonstrating the upgraded version of its Commercial and Job Estimator, developed by True Clarity.

Infoprint Solutions
Stand 9/B44
The InfoPrint EMP 156 is the latest product launched by the Ricoh-IBM partnership. The cut-sheet monochrome press prints at speeds of 156ppm and has a monthly duty cycle of 4.5m impressions. The company also has its eye on the transpromo market and the flagship InfoPrint 5000 will show how to produce transactional mail combined with marketing and promotional messages.

Hall 7a/C09
The French manufacturer will be showing its Jet7 Quattro. The digital sheetfed press incorporates inkjet technology and is able to print fully variable data up to six colours.

Stand 10/B24-1
Impika, another French developer, will be demonstrating its new 457mm wide Ipika 600 machine at Drupa. The product runs at 75m per minute and can print either four- or six-colours. Also on show will be the iPrint 150, a two- or three-colour press that can print at a resolution of 600dpi.

Stand 5/D01
Kodak’s offering centres around the Stream Concept Press (see star product on the previous page), which it predicts will be responsible for printing 1% of the world’s printed pages (that’s a trillion pages a year) by 2015. Also on the stand will be a new range of front-end systems for the NexPress presses – particularly the V and Vp front-ends that use the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) – together with new production software for Digimaster mono production systems and a new series of S-Class NexPresses. The S denotes modularity, with a range of front-end options, input and output accessories and security applications, together with on-site upgradeability. A new Versamark transactional press will also be launched.

Konica Minolta
Stand 9/A26
The company’s entry into the graphic arts market five years ago was viewed with suspicion – printers saw the machines as souped-up copiers rather than robust digital presses. But the Bizhub Pro digital presses have made their mark, and at Drupa Konica Minolta will launch a bid for consolidation with its fast new mono machines. The new range includes the 1600, 2000 and the 2500p, capable of producing up to 250 mono duplex pages per minute, which puts it on a par with the fastest sheetfed mono lasers currently on the market. Konica Minolta will also show its new Print-groove suite of front-end software, a four-module integrated package for automation of origination through to billing.

MGI Digital Graphic Technology
Hall 8b/B10
MGI will be showing its range of digital presses including the Meteor DP20 suited for photo book production. The machine incorporates printing, laminating, creasing and cutting, while photos can be printed at resolutions of up to 1,800dpi; sheet sizes go up to 270x431mm. The Meteor DP60 Pro is another product on show and is MGI’s flagship model high volume model. The press can print on substrates of 70-350gsm.

Hall 4/C53
Nipson’s VaryPress range takes centre stage and the top speed on its VP500 model has been upped to 150m per minute. Other new features include high quality 600dpi output.

Stand 6/A44
Dutch company Océ will highlight its new ColorStream 10000 web-fed duplexer, producing up to 168-colour A4ipm. Another giant-killer is the company’s new JetStream 2200 twin-engine system, a CMYK full-colour machine for 2,180 A4ipm at 600dpi. The new JetStream incorporates fast piezo drop-on-demand heads and uses a new Océ SRA MP (which stands for ‘massively parallel’) controller to ensure an uninterrupted workflow for AFP or IPDS datastreams.

Stand 9/A60
Ricoh is throwing its hat squarely into the commercial digital print market with the launch of a new high-volume colour machine. It will show the Pro C900 printer, aimed at the high-end and mid-range variable data side of digital printing with a 1,200dpi resolution and substrate weight of 300gsm. Ricoh will also unveil three high volume black-and-white presses at Drupa – the Pro 9006ex, 1106ex and 1356ex.

Screen Europe
Stand 8b/A61
Screen Europe will be devoting most of its stand at the show to inkjet rather than the pre-press technology on which the corporation built its reputation. The presses
on display will include Screen’s Truepress Jet520 inkjet for 52cm web-fed production at up to 64m per minute.

Stand 8a/D25
Punch Graphix will bring the new Xeikon 8000 high-resolution digital colour web press to Drupa. At 230 A4 images per minute at true 1,200dpi resolution, the 8000 also incorporates two in-line densitometers working with colour process algorithms to detect and correct colour variance, even between presses. There’s even a new digital front-end, the X-800, with an IPDS controller to help keep up with the higher speed datafeed.

Stand 8b/A78
Xerox will launch its new 650/1300 Continuous Feed Printing System, a high-speed mono web-fed machine capable of turning out 1,308 duplex US A4 pages per minute. The machine uses Xerox’s new flash-fuse tech-nology that allows heat-free, pressure-free toner fusion, thereby keeping the sheet from drying out and gaining static, and allowing a wide range of substrates to be printed. Xerox is also revealing new software for the flagship iGen3 machine.

Stand 8A/B63
Agfa will be showing three new Anapurna wide-format inkjets at Drupa. The XLS, built around Agfa’s own Universal Print Head (UPH) technology, is a rigid/flexible 2.5m-wide printer with a top resolution of 1,440dpi and a speed range of 44m2 per hour to 13m2 per hour. Agfa’s M-series of Anapurna inkjet printers will also be extended with two new models: the M4f, an entry-level UV press with a maximum width of 160cm and a top speed of 14m2 per hour, and the Mv, similar to the M4f but with the additional ability to add value to display signage by adding spot varnish.
Stand 8a/B46
The recently launched ImagePrograf iPF720 will form part of Canon’s large-format line-up. The 36in printer targets the CAD market and boasts an 80GB hard disk drive. In March, the division announced it had boosted sales by 40% in 2007 thanks largely to 11 product launches.

Durst Phototechnik
Stand 7a/D13
Durst will showcase its Rho 800 Presto UV Inkjet printer at Drupa. The machine incorporates continuous board printing and Durst’s Quadro Array printing technology. The company is also showing its latest addition to its flatbed printer range, the Rho 700. It too uses the Quadro Array inkjet technology and is a modular system. Durst also offers specific inks for rigid flexible or absorbing media, “ensuring the most cost-efficient ink choice”.

EFI Vutek
Stand 5/C01
Machines featured on the EFI Vutek stand include the QS2000, the company’s 2m UV curing inkjet printer. It prints at speeds of 74m2 per hour in four- and six-colours. Also on show will be the QS3200r, EFI Vutek’s 3.2m-wide roll-to-roll UV curing inkjet machine with a maximum speed of 172m2 per hour, which is also a fully upgradeable machine. The Jetrion narrow-web digital press will be shown with the new Xaar 1001 Hybrid Side Shooter technology printheads, in a four- or six-colour configuration. Finally, the 3360 is on stand. It uses EFI’s environmentally
friendly BioVu inks, and is designed for screen and commercial printers.

ESC Europa
Stand 3/C14
ESC will demonstrate its new digital flatbed printer, the Daytona T600UV. It can print on a range of substrates with a maximum thickness of 50mm including PVC, aluminium, acrylic styrene, plywood and glass. The printing process uses Fujifilm Dimatix Piezo MEM high resolution printheads and the Daytona has a maximum printing size of 1,210×1,520mm.

Stand 8b/A25
Fujifilm’s foray into the wide-format inkjet market will be celebrated at Drupa with the new Acuity wide-format inkjet machine put through its paces. The printer, capable of 8-16m2 per hour with a variable drop size giving an effective 64-bit colour depth, is a UV flatbed with a roll-feed option; Fuji will be aiming to tempt not just traditional wide-format display printers, but also offset printers into the display arena.

Stand 8a/B26
HP recently announced its belief that the global print industry will turn from analogue technologies to digital in t the next 10 years, and the company’s Drupa presence backs up that belief. One of the cornerstones of the new product philosophy is a new wide-format platform, known as Wide Scan Printing Technology, which will be the basis for several wide-format printers to be launched later this year. The new printers will also use new HP-developed water-based latex inks rather than solvent or UV equivalents: HP claims this is better for the environment and for operators, as it produces less odour.

Stand 5/B37
Roland is displaying its range of large-format printers for the indoor and outdoor market. On show will be the latest models of its SolJet Pro III series, including the XC-540, XC540W and the XJ-640, as well as the AdvancedJet AJ-740. Roland is also presenting its VersaCamm VP-300/540 plus its VersaWorks RIP software.

Stand 8b/A61
The Screen stand will play host to the company’s commercial launch of the Jet2500UV, a wide-format flatbed/roll-fed printing system with a top speed of 70m2
per hour and a maximum print width of 2.5m. The wide-format printer uses greyscale printheads and the machine as a whole has the flexibility to print up to seven colours including a pre-print white flood-coat option for display or packaging applications.

Stand 3/C89-9
Chinese manufacturer Teckwin will be demonstrating its TeckStorm printer, which incorporates Xaar 760 printhead technology. The machine is able to print at a resolution of 1,440dpi and is targeted at the point-of-sale, banners and exhibition graphics market. Teckwin will also use Drupa to showcase its TeckThunder printer, a UV roll-to-roll printer for flexible media up to 1.6m.


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