Advances in inkjet technology now offer viable alternatives to current digital color printing methods. A major step was when Agfa Graphic Systems acquired Dotrix in 2004 to further develop its color inkjet presses (which it insisted on naming “the.factory”). Mark Andy incorporates a Dotrix module into the DT2000, a 13" flexo press for processing and printing variable data content in up to six colors. Now Agfa plans to become a leader in the industrial inkjet printing market through development and manufacturing partnerships with Thieme, Mutoh Europe and Xaar.
By combining these partnerships with its in-house imaging, ink and printing expertise, the company is introducing several wide format and digital screen printing systems. Agfa says the European industrial inkjet market is estimated at €2 billion ($US2.6 billion) and is expected to multiply in the next few years. A new product is the M-Press, developed in partnership with Thieme, and claimed as the world’s first fully automated hybrid inkjet press for handling long run lengths cost-effectively in screen printing applications. The primary application is producing long digital run lengths for high quality applications, including banners, display items or decoration printing. Agfa and Thieme took orders for 12 M-Press systems before the product was launched. Another new product is the Anapurna 100 wide-format printer, developed with Mutoh Europe. It is aimed at high volume industrial inkjet operations, such as posters, billboards and signage printing. It uses Agfa and Xaar printheads, and Agfa’s Agorix UV curable inkjet inks which are now available for the Dotrix press.
• Tryckeriet Flexmed AB of Landskrona in southern Sweden has ordered a Dotrix. It will be used primarily for printing smaller quantities of blister packaging materials for the pharmaceutical industry onto lacquered aluminum, but at a more competitive cost than is possible with conventional printing, it says.