How times have changed. Twenty-five years ago, pre-press giant Screen established its first outpost in Australia. The vendor’s products found favour with the local market, with Screen rapidly building a loyal customer base. Fast forward two and a half decades and the company is now as well known for its digital presses as it is for its pre-press prowess (although Screen still claims an estimated 48% of the global CTP market).
Like most Japanese manufacturing businesses, the key to the company’s longevity has been its continual heavy investment in research and development, which has consistently borne fruit with the launch of some incredibly successful machines into the market, such as the Truepress Jet 520 series. This faith in R&D has also enabled Screen to evolve from being a company offering scanners and high-end pre-press devices to a global leader in CTP, workflow and digital print.
Screen’s presence at Drupa in Düsseldorf ably reflected this evolution. The company placed the emphasis on solution for web-to-delivery and print-on-demand as well as its growing armoury of digital presses under the Truepress badge.
Two new inkjet devices took centre stage on its Messe stand. These were the Jet L350 UV for label printing, which will hit the Australian market next year, and the Jet W1632 UV. This flatbed device is an extension of Screen’s wide-format range into the high-quality, high-productivity area and is targeted at sign and display printers who produce high volumes of mostly rigid materials – short-run carton packaging is another possible application and since the W1632 also supports the use of light cyan and light magenta inks, the system is ideal for photographic-quality and back/front-lit display applications, claims Screen.
According to Peter Scott, managing director of Screen Australia, the Jet W1632 was created with a particular market requirement in mind.
“We recognised the need for more speed at high-quality in flatbed UV production. The new binary printheads, at 12 picolitres droplet size, enable this.”
The machine works in the same way as a typical flatbed UV press with the substrate remaining stationary on a vacuum bed as the printhead carriage traverses the length of the bed depositing ink droplets, thereby forming the image. But where the W1632 differs from rival machines is those aforementioned new binary printheads. Screen claims they provide “razor-sharp 1,200dpi text, fine definition and smooth vignettes”. High-quality prints delivered at high speeds are the Holy Grail for wide-format printers and with the launch of the W1632 that’s exactly what the vendor is promising.
“Although there are four selectable speeds and resolutions, many visitors to Drupa commented that at the fastest speed of 94m2 per hour, the results were entirely acceptable,” says Scott. “This makes the W1632 UV the fastest production printer in its class, more than double the speed of its nearest rival. Also, it keeps printing for longer without stopping for nozzle cleaning because of on-board nozzle mapping and continuous auto-cleaning.”
The machine’s high productivity levels are its main USP, according to Scott, who is quick to dismiss any suggestions that this device is merely an upgrade of the company’s existing 1600 UV. “It [the W1632] features entirely new printheads, screening algorithms, drives, automation and inks,” he explains.
Screen has high hopes for the new machine. During its Drupa debut, UK point-of-sale printer Best Digital placed the first order for the device, which will be installed in September.
On placing the order for the flatbed machine, Best Digital managing director Geoff Rawlings said the company had a two-year plan and that the W1632 will pay for itself within these two years, at which point he’d look to purchase another.
The W1632 will be available in Australia from September onwards and Scott is quietly confident that his order book will rapidly fill up based on customer feedback that he received both at the show in Germany and in the aftermath of the event.
“It has made many sign and display printers stop and think about their next flatbed UV purchase,” says Scott. “They could not believe the quality at full speed during the Drupa demonstrations. It’s a disruptive press.”
It’s a hefty claim to live up to, but Scott says interest in the W1632 has been “huge” to date, with the company already quoting on several machines despite availability being months away. He refuses to be drawn on exact sales figures, but admits that he will be “disappointed if we have not reached double figures within two years”.
Exact details on pricing have yet to be released, with Screen merely stating that the cost depends on configurations and options. However, Scott adds: “It is priced very competitively for such a fast high-image-quality machine.”
Without specific details, it’s difficult to draw direct comparisons with rival devices. Screen claims that the W1632 doesn’t go head to head with any other products in the 1632 UV class as it’s “currently unique”, although there are a number of options that printers looking to invest in this sort of device could consider (see Alternatives box for a small selection).
In addition to the company’s claims around quality and speed, Scott believes that Screen’s service and support package places it head and shoulders above the rest of the market.
“Screen Australia fully supports everything we sell with factory-trained technicians,” explains Scott. “We offer both preventative maintenance contracts and pay-as-you-go service and parts following expiration of the warranty period. Screen prides itself on carrying one of the industry’s most comprehensive inventories of spares. In some cases,
these are onsite with customers for
speed and convenience.”
At present the company has two offices in Australia – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne – manned by a “small but dedicated team” of about a dozen staff, many of whom have been with the business for 15 years or more. It also has a network of resellers and contract service providers in other areas of the country.
In terms of the size of its presence in Australia, things haven’t changed that radically since the company launched its regional office a quarter of a century ago, but when it comes to the emphasis of Screen’s business, things couldn’t be more different. At Drupa, Tim Taylor, vice-president of solutions and technology at Screen Europe, told ProPrint: “Screen’s goal is for inkjet to represent 50% of our sales by the end of 2014.”
It’s clear that the company is heavily banking on the W1632 to help it break through that threshold.
“Screen was the first to introduce a full colour high-volume inkjet web press in 2005 – the Truepress Jet 520 series – which continues to be the market leader with more than 400 installations,” explains Scott.
“So yes, we would like to have the same success with wide-format flatbed UV and my feel is that the new Truepress Jet W1632UV is the machine to get us to number one position in this market too,” adds Scott.
Max speed 94m2 per hour
Max width 1,600×3,200mm
Max paper thickness 48mm
Max resolution 1,200dpi
Contact Screen www.screenaust.com.au (02) 9016 3400
The range features a number of different models capable of creating “huge, high-quality prints” on a variety of rigid media to suit nearly any display graphic application. The latest addition is the Arizona 318 GL, capable of output of up to 18m2 per hour.
Contact [email protected] 1300 663 623
The Acuity LED has a maximum resolution of 1,200dpi and a top speed of 20m2 per hour. Fujifilm is pitching the 1,610mm-wide machine at companies producing short-run print jobs such as window displays.
Contact Fujifilm www.fujifilm.com.au (02) 9466 2600
The Onset S20 is more of a heavy production beast than the Truepress, offering output speeds of up to 310m2 per hour with a maximum resolution of 600dpi on substrates 50mm thick.
Contact Fujifilm www.fujifilm.com.au (02) 9466 2600
The company unveiled the prototype of the new 2,100×3,100mm JFX500-2131 at Drupa. It boasts a top speed of up to 60m2 per hour printing four-colour or 50m2 per hour printing with white ink.
Contact [email protected] (02) 4272 3663
Korean manufacturer InkTec’s alternative to Screen’s new Truepress device is the Jetrix series of UV printers that the company claims are perfect for photographic, graphic and industrial applications.
Contact Anitech www.anitech.com.au 1300 133 029
Durst recently released the new Rho P10 series – 10-picoliter UV printers available with a maximum resolution of 1,000dpi. It also offers the Rho 1000, which can output 500 1,250x800mm boards per hour.
Contact Photo Electronic Services (03) 9374 2700 www.photoelectronics.com.au
HP Scitex FB
The manufacturer recently unveiled the 3.2m Scitex FB7600 – the successor to the company’s FB7500 model, which has proved to be a popular choice since its launch in 2009. It has a top speed of 500m2 per hour.
Contact HP www.hp.com.au 13 13 47
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