Fujifilm’s B2 inkjet press nears commercialisation

The Jet Press was first shown as a concept at Drupa 2008. The technology was refined and demonstrated as a working press at Ipex 2010 and since then Fujifilm has been working to commercialise the machine.

Although the firm had originally hoped to have European beta installations by the first half of 2011, it has now set its sights on Drupa 2012 as being “the selling show” for the Jet Press.

“It’s been technology in motion, and it’s now becoming a product. The final quality gate is imminent,” said Fujifilm Australia national electronics manager Steve Collyer.

Fuji has six Jet Press units installed at customer beta sites: five in Japan and one in the USA.

It also has two of the presses installed at its own inkjet training and demonstration centre just outside Brussels.

Since Ipex, Fuji has gone through more than 10 iterations of the inkjet heads, which are manufactured by Fujifilm Dimatix. This has included improvements to the lifetime of the heads, which now last for up to six months or 1m sheets.

The Jet Press uses water-based inkjet and can print onto standard offset coated papers, as well as some uncoated grades. A special pre-coating primer is applied across the sheet prior to printing; this stops the ink bleeding into the paper and allows extremely fine reproduction of tints and shadow details.

The B2 sheet size fits in with standard workflows and finishing routines while allowing the press to produce larger items than SRA3 rivals, such as folders. However, in its current configuration the Jet Press is not geared up to produce variable data work.

Fujifilm is focusing on its ultra high quality, lack of moiré, and low waste sheets as being key differentiators, along with the ability to use standard papers.

“It’s not for a B2 printer who just wants a new press, it’s about the business model, not just the machine cost,” Collyer added. “High-quality short-run is the focus.”

Collyer said there was considerable interest from local printers and urged anyone going to Drupa to meet him there.

This article originally appeared at printweek.com

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