Followers of the latest trends in industrial inkjet printing will have much to digest at Drupa, the world’s largest druckfest, held again in Düsseldorf (May 29 - June 11). Among the major suppliers of printheads, inks and systems integrators will be Nilpeter. Along with its partners, it will be promoting Caslon, the four-color inkjet press which it launched at Labelexpo. It was designed and developed jointly with FFEI, a UK based software developer and systems integrator, and uses Xaar’s latest drop-on-demand piezo printheads for printing UV curable CMYK ink sets.
Caslon comes in two web widths: 16.5" and 13.5". As a modular unit mounted on a standard Nilpeter FA platform it can be configured in stand-alone mode, or integrated within an FA-Line UV flexo press or other webfed printing and converting processes. The print quality is fairly high when printing with a maximum resolution of 720 x 360 dpi with eight grayscale levels. The top speed here is 41 fpm, but it can reach 164 fpm when printing a resolution of 180 x 360 dpi, again with eight grayscale levels. Overall, Caslon is claimed as one of the industry’s fastest inkjet printers. Furthermore, the electronic systems controller allows Caslon modules to print variable data on the fly, or print single copies of full color labels on practically any material.
Some commentators dismiss industrial inkjet as a minor niche technology, especially for label printing. That may be the case at present, but it is a prime crossover technology that has attracted some big names. For example, Kodak is showing the Stream Concept Press, a high volume printer developed in Dayton, OH, USA. The prototype is fitted with continuous flow, single-pass printheads, claimed to give near-offset quality with a resolution of over 600 dpi. The Stream can print up to 550 fpm and is due for commercial roll out in two years.
“Our strategy is based on a belief that inkjet will have a dramatic effect on the printing industry over the next 10 years,” says Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak. “Kodak has made the commitment to invest in inkjet, based on its unmatched expertise in digital imaging and materials science.” The company will also introduce the VL2000 in the established Versamark range of fast full-color inkjet presses for mailers and billings.