Editor’s Picks 2018

Digital Printing
 
AccurioPress C6100/C6085
 
The Konica Minolta AccurioPress C6100 and C6085 Digital Colour production print systems offer colour print quality, colour consistency and performance that the company says delivers productivity for the highest digital print demands. 
 
At 100 ppm and 85 ppm respectively, both models have been developed on a rigid solid heavy-duty frame delivering long life and robust capabilities. With average achievable print volumes of up to 480,000 prints per month and a peak monthly duty cycle of 1.8 million, these systems will tackle those large volume critical jobs when higher print capacity is required. Additionally, these models have one of the highest print speeds on SRA3 sheet size at 49 ppm and 43 ppm.
 
The ability to print at full-rated speed on the full range of media types from 52gsm to 400gsm duplex is a big win for real print productivity. Expanded enhancements for envelope printing are catered for with a dedicated envelope fuser unit that guarantees high speed quality envelope printing. For long sheet printing, both systems are capable of printing on media lengths up to 762mm auto duplex and simplex sheets up to 1300mm, delivering a major expansion in print capabilities that can be offered to clients. This is ideal for book covers, banners, menus and other advertising material.  
 
With these models Konica Minolta proudly introduced the Intelligent Quality Optimiser (IQ-501) The IQ-501 uses an advanced hybrid scanning system that scans both sides of the printed sheet. As each sheet passes through the hybrid scanner information regarding colour and registration is fed back to the print engine processing system to make registration and colour changes in real-time providing consistent print quality results. These controls include colour control, toner density, front and back, and sheet-to-sheet registration, image position and centring designed to eliminate print wastage while providing assurance of print, so that print job turnaround times are reduced dramatically. 
 
There are huge time savings with the IQ-501, as operators have easy-to-use print and set functionality for registration and colour. This automated process takes a matter of minutes saving valuable time and labour, and reducing setup times by up to 40 per cent. This increases overall print productivity and efficiency while reducing print wastage. The IQ-501 is now available across the full range of AccurioPress systems.  
 
Konica Minolta is continuing to develop new technology for digital press automation while providing the highest level of colour quality and consistency for clients. 
Go to www.konicaminolta.com.au/products/production-print/high-speed-colour for further information.
Fuji Xerox Iridesse
The Fuji Xerox Iridesse is a new toner-based digital press offering speeds of 120ppm with substrates up to 400gsm, with print resolution of 2,400dpi.
The company says the new high speed Iridesse offers printers new levels of flexibility and versatility, and will enable them to increase their product range to the market.
Along with the four process colours Iridesse is able to print specialty colours including metallic with a single pass, by housing up to two additional specialty dry inks of gold, silver, clear and white.
 
The newly launched print engine enables CMYK dry ink layers to be processed on top of the special dry ink layer. An overlay of another specialty dry ink can be processed on top of CMYK dry ink layers, a feature made available with another Fuji Xerox digital printer, the Color 1000i Press.
Fuji Xerox says, “While conventional offset printing requires mixing silver ink to make metallic ink, this new product allows for simultaneous printing of several metallic colours during a single printing process.”
 
The standard colour library contains Pantone+Metallic and Pantone+Premium Metallic, which are swatches of metallic colours commonly used in the printing industry. With these colour swatches, the operator can reproduce colours similar to Pantone metallic colours on printing materials by designating the colour codes.
 
Finishing options include Fuji Xerox’s Finisher D6 with Booklet Maker, Crease/Two-sided Trimmer D2, and SquareFold Trimmer D1, which can be connected to the Iridesse press, allowing for automatic production of booklets and folded leaflets.
 
The company says the finishing options expand the possible printing applications by enabling to produce complex folded leaflets including accordion-fold and gatefold.
Roger Labrum, senior product marketing manager, Graphic Communications Services, Fuji Xerox Australia, says, “It is about personalisation for end users. Businesses should be able to align their collateral in accordance with their brand. With the Iridesse Production Press, collateral colours can be matched to brands or personalised, with colours patterned, mixed, enhanced to provide more.”
 
 
HP Indigo 12000 HD Digital Press
HP has launched an updated version of its Indigo 12000 B2 digital press, which doubles the image resolution.
 
Supplied by Currie Group and based on the world’s best-selling B2 digital press the HP Indigo 10000, the new version of the Indigo 12000 has HP claiming it delivers sharper, smoother, finer print, enabling printers ‘to surpass offset quality’ and open new digital possibilities in high-end commercial and photo applications.
 
The press uses an all-new High Definition Imaging System, using 48 parallel laser beams and high screen sets up to 290 LPI. Alon Bar-Shany, general manager, HP Indigo, HP Inc says, “HP print service providers are experiencing unprecedented growth and momentum as print buyers, agencies, and brands are looking for ways to connect the online world with the physical world. HP’s digital print technologies are blending these realities, providing new application opportunities, alongside higher productivity.”
 
The HP Indigo 12000 HD also features ColorUP!, which delivers an extended colour gamut using colour profiles to expand the on-press colour gamut using additional hits of CMY inks.
 
The B2 29-inch (75 x 53cm), seven-colour HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press is able to print for nearly any commercial application. At a speed of 4,600 pages per hour, the HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press can produce more than two million colour sheets per month. In its monochrome setting, the press can print 4,600 duplex sheets per hour for quick publishing and direct mail needs. Sophisticated automation tools also boost production efficiency and uptime, allowing users to process thousands of jobs per day. The on-press Optimizer tool uses artificial intelligence to enable non-stop printing, and the Automatic Alert Agent conducts real-time print quality error detection.
HP says that with dozens of software and hardware innovations, the HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press delivers smooth and sharp prints that match or even exceed offset quality.
 
The HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press supports a wide range of substrates, including canvas, synthetics, and metallised media, with One Shot technology, extending high-value opportunities. The press also enables full sheet printing to produce canvas wall art, high-impact posters, folders, oversized books and specialty products.
 
 
Océ VarioPrint i300
The Océ VarioPrint i300 is a sheetfed B3 format inkjet press, more productive and efficient than other digital sheet fed presses with the ability to print on a wide range of media types including offset coated, uncoated and inkjet treated papers.
 
The i300 was the first B3 sheetfed inkjet press on the market. When it was released the target applications were transactional documents, direct mail and book printing, but Océ Australia Managing Director, Craig Nethercott states that with the latest generation of developments, in particular a new ink set, they are able to target the offset market aggressively. 
 
The company says offset printers who require the versatility of an offset press but also need image variability and automated inline finishing can also consider the i300, as it can now offer compatibility with offset papers. 
 
It is a single-pass inkjet system with full-width head arrays of variable-drop inkjet heads. The print engine is adapted from a range of Océ technology platforms and includes the proven and adaptable Kyocera piezo printheads giving 600dpi resolution and DigiDot 2-bit variable drops for a perceived 1,200dpi quality. 
 
Although it is a CMYK system there are six ink channels, with two spares. ColorGrip uses one channel to print a priming liquid. Océ has already developed MICR ink as an option for the VPi300 and are currently developing other specialty inks.
 
Printhead nozzles are monitored and failures automatically compensated for. A sentry unit detects and diverts bad sheets.
 
Finishing options include the BLM600 bookletmaking system producing square-back booklets up to 224 pages thick. The Tecnau TC1530 dynamic cut-sheet perforator creates horizontal and vertical micro-perfs, with the ability to be on or off on a per-page basis. Other vendor products was also available like the CP Bourg book systems. 
 
It can print up to 300 A4 impressions per minute and can output 8,700 duplex A4s per hour on average, including cleaning and other stoppages. In offset terms, this is about 4,350sph B3. 
 
It is controlled through the proven Prisma controller and Prismasync digital front-end technology, with graphical user interface and touch screen controls. 
It uses drop-on-demand piezo inkjet, with water-based pigment, on paper sizes from 203x203mm to 488x320mm. The stock weight range is 60–300gsm, paper input module is 4,600 sheets per input module, up to a maximum of three input modules, or 23,400 sheets.
 
 
Ricoh Pro C9200 Graphic Arts Edition
The successor model to the market-leading Pro C9100 Series is the new 
Pro C9200 Series, Graphic Arts Edition, primarily aimed at the commercial print market. 
 
Ricoh says notable changes from the Pro C9100 Series include improved image quality and consistency, new toner formulation, higher resolution imaging, combined with a raft of image quality enhancements. The company says the new Pro C9200 has higher reliability with higher monthly print volumes, new swing-and-shift registration technology, and auto registration with real time adjustments, and new auto colour diagnosis.
 
There is a broader media capability with heavier stock capability to 470 gsm (500 microns), auto duplex banner capability to 1,030mm, longer simplex banner sheet capability to 1,260mm, and enhanced NCR and envelope support. 
 
It has improved productivity with higher print speed and an hourly operating ratio of near 100 per cent. 
 
There is greater ease of use with new large operating panel, enhanced media library and new Media Management Tool, auto calibration, auto registration adjustment, and new jam LED guidance. 
 
New and enhanced accessories include enhanced Vacuum Feed LCIT, enhanced High Capacity Stacker, new BDT banner sheet feeder, a High Capacity Interposer, and new Plockmatic Banner Sheet Stacker. 
 
New print controllers include TotalFlow Print Server R-62 (with a choice of three PDF RIP engines for integration into Heidelberg Prinect, Kodak Prinergy, Agfa Apogee or Screen Equios offset workflows) or the EFI Fiery E-45 or E-85 Print Controllers based on the latest Fiery FS300 Pro system and new generation Fiery NX.
 
 
Embellishment
 
Duplo Spot UV Coater
Supplied by Neopost the Duplo DDC-810 Digital Spot UV Coater offers printers the capability to enhance images with a layer of  texture and depth. 
 
Using inkjet technology together with an ultra-violet lamp to instantly cure the UV varnish, the DDC-810 applies a gloss finish to defined areas 
of the substrate giving them more impact and appeal.
 
A CCD camera, which automatically corrects for shrinkage, stretch and skew, along with registration marks ensures the accurate and precise alignment of the spot UV image onto the printed document. 
 
Equipped with Duplo’s air suction feed system, the DDC-810 can process up to 21 ppm (ledger size) and 36 ppm (letter size). 
 
The unit features a dust roller, metal hydride lamp, ultrasonic double feed detection, fully automated head cleaning purge, and detection sensors for missfeeds, ink attached, ink near empty, ink disposal tank full, cover open/closed, jam before and after UV lamp, and feed empty. 
 
It is easy to set up and operate, the DDC-810 is ideal for short to medium digital and offset medium jobs. 
 
As printing methods become more varied, there is growing demand for binding with coated and digitally printed sheets.
 
EVA hotmelt glue has difficulty binding coated stock firmly, and does not currently provide good spine flexibility and lay-back qualities. However, PUR hotmelt glue can provide adequate binding strength and a lay-flat quality for both offset and digital print on a wide range of paper stocks.It is sold through Neopost.
 
 
Finishing
 
Currie Group – Horizon SmartSlitter
 
The Horizon SmartSlitter is an all-in-one smart sheet processing system that can slit, gutter cut, edge trim, cross-cut, perforate, and crease all in one pass. 
 
Perforation and creasing can be performed in both horizontal and vertical directions in the same pass. Skip perforation feature can produce T- and L-perfs ideal for coupons, tickets, and business reply cards. 
 
The system can deliver multiple up greeting cards with or without creasing, table tents, invitations, and more with both matrix and rotary creasing. For accordion fold applications or perfect bound books, up and down creasing can also be performed in one pass. 
 
Standard size business cards can be printed 21-up on a sheet and processed to a receding stacker for easy handling. Print mark registration adjusts for digital print image shift from sheet to sheet. The colour touch screen features a simple user interface for easy operation including job set-up via barcode. 
 
There are a number of features that Horizon stresses, including the ability to run partial perforations both across and along the sheet to create tear out coupons for example. It can take a sheet to 670mm in length (370mm across), so coping with the increasing number of 6pp digital presses installed.
 
The sheet is fed on to a registration table and registered using conventional side and front lays. A camera reads a barcode to pull down information about the settings for that sheet. It can be a stand 1D, 2D or data matrix code. As the sheet moves forwards, an image shift is accounted for, moving both X and Y axis if necessary. It also registers to the previous action, a crease to the previous crease for example.
 
Access to the slitting, creasing and perforating models is through panels on the side of the machine. The cassettes slide out and back in rather than being lifted in and out of the machine. It is possible to replace blades rather than replacing the cassette itself.
 
There are three slitter modules, each with twin blades. This enables the SmartSlitter to remove the gutter between business cards as well as handling full bleed cards for example. Business cards are delivered into a special stacking module. Products are otherwise fed to a conveyor delivery.
 
There is a touch panel interface to set up jobs with the option of a Smart Connect module to both accept JDF jobs and deliver JMF data back to the workflow. The operator can store and retrieve settings, and step and repeat settings for multiple up jobs on a sheet. It can also accept a PDF file and use this to overlay the position of creases, cuts and folds and so on.
 
 
Muller Martini Vareo
 
Muller Martini says the Vareo is the ideal perfect binder for print finishing specialists and printing plants that use conventional printing modes or are engaged in digital printing. 
 
The three-clamp perfect binder with a mechanical performance of up to 1,350 cycles per hour provides maximum flexibility. Be it for medium, short or ultrashort runs, right down to runs of one copy, the Vareo is an all-rounder for high-quality results, regardless of whether brochures are produced using offset or digital printing. 
 
The flexible equipment of the Vareo enables diverse applications. Photo books, personalized catalogs and high-quality brochures can be produced cost-effectively thanks to short setup and production times, which are indispensable for ultra-short and one-copy runs. This allows you to produce high-quality books within a short period of time, with the very first book having first-class quality.
 
In addition, the Vareo has a modular design, which means that the machine can be easily extended and adapted to meet future production requirements.
 
Advantages of the Vareo Perfect Binder include individual drives for optimal motion, use of hotmelt and PUR, a modular design with numerous extension options, integrated book thickness measuring system and format size measurement station, automatic book block feeding, barcode matching of content and cover, glue application monitoring for PUR nozzle, and a crash station.
 
Thanks to its modular design, a customer-specific cooling section and a three-knife trimmer can be added to the Vareo to turn it into an integrated production line. That enables the cost-effective production of perfect bound brochures even in the ultra-short run segment.
 
The automatic feeding of book blocks increases the productivity of the whole perfect binder and eases the work of the operator. The manual feed remains freely accessible and can still be used. The automatic book block feed comes with a book thickness measuring system by default and an optional barcode camera to ensure that the content and cover match. The book block feed enables the Vareo to be connected directly to digital printing presses or the print finishing systems. The finished signature stacks or loose-leaf stacks are then transferred directly to the clamps of the perfect binder.
 
 
Trimatt FoldLine 9000
 
Integrating printed items into a single self-mailer unit once took time and any number of staff. Now, print companies can add value without worrying about time spent double or triple handling their clients’ products. 
 
The new Trimatt FoldLine 9000 system offers the latest in integrated media packaging through a print finishing system that produces compelling, creative packages that drive revenue and build customer loyalty. Ideal for financial, retail, bindery/fulfilment, magnet, self-mailers, gift card and greeting card applications.
 
This versatile system offers the finishing capabilities that make printed products stand out in a crowded market and gives users the capability to produce finished products at speeds up to 18,000 products per hour. 
 
The new Trimatt FoldLine 9000 can be configured for your applications today, and because the system is modular you add more features in the future to win more business and satisfy even more applications. 
 
Trimatt Systems is an Australian manufacturer and distributor of finishing solutions designed to add value to printed media. Other solutions available include letter inserting, polywrapping, gluing, labelling, inkjet numbering, inspection systems, feeding systems, plough folding, and collating.
 
 
Label Printing
 
HP Indigo Gem
 
The digital label press, supplied by Currie Group, allows digital printing and embellishment in one pass, which HP says simplifies production and saves time and money for highly decorated labels and jobs. 
 
The press is designed for maximum efficiency and optimised product management, fitting labels and packaging application requirements, matching brands’ standards for various markets. HP says the machine enables the production of embellished labels with one production line, one pass, one file, one pre-press, one process and one operator. The press is made to offer an advanced user experience, removing pain points in workflow, pre-press and production, while saving time and money.
 
It aims to remove production slowdowns by embellishing at the speed of the press (up to 60 metres per minute on HP Indigo WS6800 and HP Indigo 6900 digital presses in EPM). 
 
Personalisation is also said to be easy, with the machine leveraging HP’s SmartStream Mosaic variable design technology, offering designs such as foiled, serialised and special edition labels. HP says it also has the ability to handle short runs and variable data, adding value to pressure sensitive labels, sleeves and narrow web packaging. 
 
According to HP, it also enables an efficient print process for any label type, and allows the application of digital foil, tactile silk screen-like effects, spot varnish, mini textures, digital holograms, full flood varnish in gloss and matte, and more. 
 
The press is driven by the new HP Production Pro for Labels, a DFE that aims to enable seamless printing of both image and embellishment separations from a single interface, and allows access to the HP Indigo workflow system. 
 
HP has also developed GEM Clear to run with the system, a UV inkjet formulation that can be used to run through the embellishment print engine to act as an embellishment on its own or as the foundation for foils and films. It was made to be cohesive with GEM Coat, a primer available in both matte and gloss, which HP says protects the printed image and ensures optimal adherence of GEM Clear. 
 
 
Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 190
 
The new AccurioLabel 190 from Konica Minolta features a continuous feed of roll media, making it an ideal choice for label converters who are seeking a digital solution to produce long runs at a high quality, and fast speeds. Konica Minolta says its toner technology gives good light fastness and excellent colour gamut with a high lustre finish. The machine is designed to have no pre-press setup time, reducing time-to-print dramatically from conventional print methods for label printing. 
 
The print controller for the AccurioLabel 190 is also made for personalisation, with the press being said to provide seamless printing of variable images and text that can be fully integrated into a digital workflow. 
 
Konica Minolta also says the device has the smallest footprint in its class. 
 
In addition, the MGI JETvarnish 3DW embellishment solution can be added. Konica Minolta says it produces spectacular finishes, making it perfect for applications like wine labels, cosmetic labelling, and so much more. 
 
The MGI solution produces high-value raised spot UV to give a 3D embossed effect up to 200 microns in height, lifting images off the page. When combined with the iFoil unit, the 3DW provides the ability to varnish and foil digitally in-line. 
 
Mark Brown, product marketing manager, Industrial Print, Konica Minolta, says, “With the commercial print market more competitive than ever, it is essential to be able to offer additional services that add value to customers and achieve better margins. Konica Minolta is always striving to come up with new technologies that will help commercial printers do just that.” 
 
 
Screen L350 label press 
 
The Screen L350 label press holds speed up to 60 linear metres per hour, wide-gamut colour with white ink, a 350mm wide web width and a chill roller option for thin heat-sensitive substrates. Screen says the machine also features the recent addition of low-migration inks for food packaging. 
 
It can be paired with Screen’s Equios workflow, option of Hybrid Software’s PackZ and Cloudflow applications.
 
Recently returned from Labelexpo Americas in Chicago, Scott says interest was high in the L350. “It was helped by the recent EDP (European Digital Press) award for the Screen Truepress Jet L350UV+LM (Low Migration inks) in the Best Label Printer category, presented during FESPA 2018. 
 
“We see a bright future for inkjet in the label and packaging sector – and the L350 series is at the forefront of the charge. One label printer in the UK has installed its fourth L350, driving its digital transformation.”
 
For production of digitally-printed labels, there are two process choices; toner or inkjet. There are good solutions in both areas, but Screen says inkjet is proving the most in-demand for on-demand.
 
“A recent Finat label market study revealed that 48 per cent of printers surveyed would be investing in inkjet digital label production as their next purchase,” says Screen GP Australia Managing Director Peter Scott. “Ten years ago, that would have been close to zero.”
 
Scott adds, “Our dealer association with Jet Technologies and Fujifilm NZ has proven successful. Jet knows the label market inside-out and proved a successful reseller of Screen Flexo CtP devices and now the L350 series. Fujifilm NZ is a very strong graphic arts channel across the Tasman and we have a long association with them.”
 
 
MIS & W2P
 
AccuraOnline
 
AccuraOnline is the web-to-print and ecommerce module of the Accura MIS. The company says that unlike other solutions AccuraOnline offers seamless, real-time integration with the MIS all from one vendor.
 
This means printers do not need IT, web designers and/or programmers to create unlimited web portals. Because AccuraOnline works directly from the MIS database there is little/no setup and sites can be setup within hours, not days or weeks. This means no integration costs, no protracted timescales, and no apis or xml files to handle.
 
Site administration is done almost entirely within the MIS database – customer changes, new addresses, product pricing, images etc. all updated in one place – reducing the overhead of managing the sites and multiple databases.
 
AccuraOnline is a comprehensive B2B portal with full client branding, quoting, orders, storefront, proofing, live-stock levels and built-in artwork editing to imposed camera-ready PDF artwork. From login, users can access their restricted data, both current and historical for online and offline orders.
PDF proofing workflow enables customers to view, annotate and approve proofs, and those changes are synchronised back to the MIS in real-time automatically.
 
Printers who store/warehouse stock for clients can manage this with ease, as live stock balances are displayed in the customer, who can then create a shopping basket of items for submission and picking by the printer.
 
AccuraOnline is mobile-responsive for the way people access the internet today. Everything is pure HTML5 so can be accessed from any device. Artwork editing tools allow creation or editing of templates for self-proofing and submission as hi-res PDF artwork. Alternatively, customers may upload their own artwork files, which are attached to the order in the MIS seamlessly.
 
 
Optimus Cloud Web2Print
 
Optimus says its Cloud web-to-print simplifies and automates print purchasing and provides a complete online solution for its customers.  
 
Cloud offers more than web-to-print. Customers can obtain instant quotes, gain access to historical data and information about production job statuses, and order static products in one interface. Once an order is placed all tasks, materials required and invoicing are automated for the print production and job processing in Optimus dash MIS to start the work straight away with no re-keying. Optimus
 
Cloud is a logical extension of Optimus dash MIS with no more guess work, handling errors or double entry, without increasing staff.  Optimus Cloud is modular and includes Fast Quotes, Fast Orders, Stock Orders and Customer View. This ensures the solution can grow with a printer’s customer demands.
 
Optimus links with multiple or bespoke web to print options. Optimus also recognises that many print providers have existing successful web ordering systems. Optimus has developed Optimus Web Services Module so that many custom built or market available web2print systems can be integrated. These can be linked to the dash Sales Enquiry System (if web-to-print infrastructure permits) to ensure real-time pricing held in dash not only drives the user experience, it also eliminates the need to update two systems.
 
Optimus links with XMPie ustore,  a significant piece of global development delivered in the last two years. It uses the Optimus Web Services Module and includes a four-way bi-directional integration, delivered in partnership with XMPie, and relates to its uStore web2print module. 
 
Customers are now able to manage and view instant pricing, automatic MIS job submission, stock, inventory call offs and see live status updates all within the XMPie uStore interface. 
 
Optimus says whilst a bigger investment will be required with this type of solution this feature rich integration between Optimus and XMPie has proved effective when having to manage multiple online stores and lots of small transactions.
 
 
 
printIQ
 
The team behind printlQ have produced a complete Management Workflow System (MWS) capable of handling everything from quotes, jobs and outsourcing through to inventory, purchasing and shipping. All the while providing a clear view into the manufacturing processes for each and every type of print job.
 
The printlQ MWS is based on years of experience in print shops of all sizes, picking the best practices to create workflows that support the manufacturing of commercial, label, mail, packaging, wide format and signage applications. It is also integrated with popular tools such as Chili Publish, Enfocus Switch, Esko, HP Box, and XMPie. However, the most powerful feature might just be the ability to get online with a customer-facing, brandable digital storefront with little internal effort. The portal is built to make it easy for customers to engage over the web, on their phone, or on a tablet, and comes without the baggage of many standalone, or bolt-on, digital storefront applications.
 
The online portal comes straight out-of-the-box as standard functionality with printlQ and it allows online orders to hit production as soon as the order is confirmed by the customer. Integration is often rated as one of the biggest frustrations with IT systems, so this definitely makes good senese. This and many other points of difference have seen printlQ rapidly become one of the main players in the industry both here and overseas. 
 
The printlQ workflow offers the reliable single source of truth about every job accepted for production and if you pair this with a Software-as-a- Service (SaaS) model, the cost to bring the solution in-house and operate it effectively brings modern tools without severely impacting capital. 
 
With a cloud-based infrastructure, multiple third-party integrations, and a development team focused on the future of print, printIQ offers a compelling case for change.
 
 
Tharstern
 
Today, a printing machine is a piece of equipment where arguably, the greatest innovation lay in the software driving it. And the output of a printed sheet is frequently the by-product of a customer relationship involving an exchange of services well beyond what used to be, a traditional print offering. 
 
Conversations are not about CMYK and gatefolds, but about data processing, self-service online ordering with automated approvals, website development, mobile apps and real-time data feedback.
As part of the journey to map Tharstern’s role in the print industry of the future, Tharstern recently compared its most successful customers to the rest. 
 
Those who stand out are businesses who engage in identifying processes which will be positively affected by the introduction of technology; who develop close relationships with software providers as essential, specialist partners; and who also recognise this shift in bias towards software and technology platforms demands a shift in bias toward employing technology people within the print organisation.
 
These companies leverage off the MIS as a cornerstone to provide production efficiencies, automate processes and provide a robust and consistent stream of information and data from one stage to the next. However, it is the resource of in-house tech savvy individuals with a vision, who build upon this foundation and look strategically across the range of products in the market, cherry-picking complementary systems, which has created some of the most inspired, advanced and profitable print environments in the world.
 
Over the last ten years, Tharstern’s approach has changed, where it now engages customers as a
fellow technology company, as much as if not more than, as a printer.
 
Tharstern believes in working as part of a Team of Masters, and encourages its customers to constantly look across processes and systems and identifying where short-comings are affecting optimal operational efficiency – and swapping that part out. 
 
Technology is almost always playing catch up with the innovations that are coming from the customers themselves and so printers need to be agile and enhance their workflow to accommodate those changes. 
 
At the heart of future-proofing is flexibility and working to a shared vision.
 
 
Offset Packaging
 
Heidelberg Speedmaster 106XL 
 
The peak performance B1 press from Heidelberg will pump out 18,000 sheets an hour in both straight and perfecting modes, in 0.03-1mm thickness (0.8mm perfecting), with those sheets at a maximum 750x1060mm. Printing up to 1000 micron and UV coating that stock is entirely possible.
 
Thanks to the larger 75 x 106 cm sheet format, the maximum print format of 74 x 105 cm can now be used in its entirety, which means a larger punching margin for packaging printers and more repeats per sheet for web-to-print gang forms. 
 
The Speedmaster XL 106 achieves new dimensions in productivity thanks to straightforward operation and the interplay between preset functions, ink presettings, simultaneous plate changing with AutoPlate XL, and Prinect Inpress Control. All this makes the press another 20 to 30 percent more productive than the Speedmaster XL 105. Depending on the particular job structure, it can produce between 60 and 80 million sheets a year and change between 90,000 and 100,000 printing plates a year on an eight-colour press.
 
The press has extensive automation. It can come with Prinect Press Center XL2, including wallscreen XL (a 54in, 4K status display screen), interactive pad and intuitive multi-view interface. It also has the latest Inpress Control 2, Autoplate Pro and Pressroom Manager software.
Heidelberg offers conventional high-energy UV curing, low-energy (LE) or LED-UV. LE has cool running and the low replacement cost of the lamps. Some printers also find that metallics and other special inks work better with LE than LED.
 
Inpress Control will deliever savings on makeready, from 500-plus sheets to 100 to 250. Heidelberg’s push-to-stop concept means you do not have to stop the machine at all. Heidelberg says printers program it, put the plates on, read the profiles, format it if needed, and then it will start. It says the only reason would need to stop is to check the register, depending on what you are printing.
 
Heidelberg says its Push to Stop concept means that for the first time in the history of offset printing, you can now change jobs fully automated – from the last to the first good sheet, right up to the start of production. The job-oriented Intellistart 2 assistance system delivers efficient job preparation and automatic generation of time-optimised job change.
 
 
Wide Format
 
EFI  Vutek 3R
 
EFI says the new Vutek 3R is for high volume printers looking to maximize their  performance, efficiency and quality.
 
The company says it is the most technically advanced three-metre LED roll-to-roll printer on the market, describing it as a maxed-out platform that offers the highest image quality at the highest rated throughput speeds along with the highest range of options to give printers the lowest total cost of ownership.
 
It prints at up to 380 sqm per hour, with EFI’s seven picoliter UltraDrop Technology, for high-definition image quality, with transitions, vignettes, skin tones, and shadows in a resolution up to 1200 dpi, with what the company says is precise and sharp four-point text.
 
It uses LED curing technology with all its cost saving and environmental benefits. It has white printing with a variety of white printing modes, up to five layers, inline finishing system for all-in-one printing, slitting, and collecting, vacuum plate for printing on thin sheets and rigid media in a selection of sizes, automatic backlit printing, automatic blockout printing, and an ID backprint for printing customer information on the back side of the media. The jumbo roll handling system is designed to cater for large rolls up to 750 kg.
 
It has versatile media handling capabilities to support a variety of flexible and rigid media, carriage height adjustment and wrinkle analyser to avoid head strikes, mobile operator station with touch screen for maximum convenience, and an iPhone application for remote printer tracking.
EFI offers a 3M MCS warranty when printing with co-branded EFI and 3M UV inks on 3M flexible media. It also has a new roll loader for what EFI says is up to 300 per cent better media usage. There is only 40 cm of wasted material on every roll loading, while the media saving wizard indicates remaining media length on each roll, for media stock management.
 
 
Epson SureColour F9360
 
The SC-F9360 is the latest offering from Epson in dye sublimation wide format, with the company saying it combines its Precision Dot Technology, with advanced media management, and UltraChrome DS HDk ink, to enable high speed production with outstanding print quality. Epson claims it achieves an exceptional gamut using just 4 colours and will print at speeds up to 109sqm/hr. 
 
The 1.6m wide print engine is supported by a large Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) and an automated Take-Up, which Epson says has high precision. 
 
The press is designed to be simple to operate, ships complete with software, and its self-cleaning system ensures reliable operation with minimal maintenance. Epson says the printer can be applied to soft signage and fabric production and can also be used for hard surface work.
 
The press has dual Epson PrecisionCore (TFP) Print Heads supporting resolutions up to 720 x 1440 dpi. The system uses Epson UltraChrome DS ink, which according to the company gives precise, predictable and bright colour. The system also incorporates an HDk ink formulation and Precision Dot Technology to achieve outstanding image quality with fine gradation and an high gamut.
 
The SC-F9360 is also designed to support a wide range of quality requirements and material needs with standard modes for fabric and enhanced HQ modes for hard surface work. The press is compatible with roll media from 12” to 64” (300-1626mm) wide in thicknesses from 0.04 to 1mm.
 
The press is designed for production speeds of 18 to 60sqm/hr, sellable output can be made at up to 93sqm/hr. A large 12-litre Continuous Ink Supply System is matched with support for media rolls up to 45kg and a high-precision Auto Take-Up for unattended roll-to-roll operation.
Epson says the printer also runs off a standard power supply, is relatively quick to install, and is supplied complete with Epson Edge Print software (can also be ordered with an optional high-performance Ergosoft RIP). The F9360 was made with the aim to operate using reduced power consumption and with cost-effective one-litre ink refills. The press is said to require minimal maintenance and features a self-cleaning print head. According to Epson, downloadable software enables easy expense tracking and job costing.
 
 
Fujifilm Onset X Series
 
Fujifilm says its new Onset X flatbed series is designed for high quality production with maximum uptime. The production press is said to be able to keep manufacturing day in and day out at maximum speed, with nozzle drop outs being automatically mapped without reducing the speed. 
 
The full range consists of the X1 (400sqm/hr), X2 (640sqm/hr) and X3 (900sqm/hr), which can all be adapted for businesses as they grow and evolve. 
 
Onset presses can be specified with semi-automatic or fully automatic handling systems, with robotics. Fujifilm says robotic handling further increases the machine’s productivity by reducing downtime caused by pallet change overs along with enabling printed stacks to be up to 300 per cent higher than traditional systems.
 
The company also aims to protect the press from UV bounce, with the system monitoring printheads for their exposure to UV light, and then invoking automatic cleaning to remove any ink residue which may cause premature printhead failure. The presses are also said to use high speed shutters and side shutters to protect the heads when they are not printing. 
 
The tier drop (small) feature can print an entire job with a 10 per cent smaller droplet, giving finer details. For heavy solid coverage, Fujifilm says users can invoke the tier drop (large) feature to print an entire job with a 10 per cent larger droplet. 
 

 

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