Inkjet Printing Equipment

By Steve Katz | November 13, 2009

As printing technology continues to evolve, inkjet components do so as well, offering converters improved print quality and more flexibility.

The EFI Jetrion 4830 UV Inkjet System

EFI Jetrion

EFI, Foster City, CA, USA, features machinery from its Jetrion line of equipment, including the recently launched Jetrion 4830 UV Inkjet System. With a wider web width and faster linear speeds, the new printer increases throughput by over two times compared with the Jetrion 4000. Powered by EFI Fiery XF RIP, the system is capable of advanced spot-color matching. Its white-ink capability enables printing on clear film, allowing label printers to respond to a more diverse customer base.

As with the 4000, the Jetrion 4830 is designed to provide users with flexible output options for greater application versatility, including the ability to print direct to pre-printed rolls or on pre-diecut labels. The system uses precise re-registration capabilities and a new reverse rewind feature to offer full-color, dual-sided printing with less than one minute of changeover, the company says, adding that this is markedly faster and more efficient than dual-sided printing done on a flexo press or other digital devices. It is ideal for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and hang tag applications.

Ken Stack, general manager of EFI Jetrion, says, "With the Jetrion 4830 we are adding the wider width and faster speeds the market has requested. Plus, our new white ink is the industry's first single-pass, overprintable white to offer opacity and brightness rivaling flexo, and is superior compared to other digital devices. This is what our customers have asked for in a digital label press. As the world's largest UV inkjet ink producer, we can offer aggressive, tiered ink pricing that reinforces our position versus costly click-charge models as the lowest running cost solution on the market."


Nilpeter, the press manufacturer based in Slagelse, Denmark, has developed Caslon, an inkjet print system based on Xaar 1001 greyscale technology. The system consists of four print bars each with five or six print heads. The printing principle is a 4-color CMYK process in one pass and the inks are UV-curable.

The Caslon print system is mounted on a standard Nilpeter FA-platform (Dual C-platform), and can be configured as a standalone digital print engine, or incorporated as a module within a given FA-configuration. Existing FA-line presses can be upgraded in-field with the system. All Caslon systems require Corona pre-treatment and web cleaning.

Caslon will print on a variety of supported as well as unsupported paper and film substrates, and there is no pre-treatment necessary. The system will automatically register towards any inline print or converting process.

Equipped with a 17" color touch monitor for operator control, Caslon has a user-friendly, on-demand print workflow, with advanced setup/fine adjust features. Job setup time is less than two minutes from receipt of the image at the press to the first printed impression. In addition, the operator can optionally adjust the selected color settings on the touch screen.

Søren Ringbo, Nilpeter's digital manager, says, "Caslon offers real advantages to label converters through its print on demand option, and its ability to digitally print high quality labels inline. Ideally, this machine is designed for PS applications from commodity to the highest quality, value-added labels."
The Caslon front end is equipped with a web-browser based remote interface. Also, status information from the print engine can be monitored from any client with an internet connection, and an administer login enables remote service level diagnostics.

Caslon Jet Inks are distributed through Nilpeter, and the ink formulation is carefully integrated into the design.

"Caslon is the first digital print system that can be integrated inline with almost all known processes. This ensures less handling and decreases production costs. The machine is also ideal for versioning and value-­added labels with multiple variants," Ringbo says.


Omet, the Italian press and converting machinery manufacturer, recently developed the X-Jet, a flexible digital printing unit that uses digital inkjet single-pass technology.

Omet's X-Jet module inserted into an X-Flex press
Amerigo Manzini, Omet's R&D manager, talks about the X-Jet system and how it can be configured according to customer's needs. "Combined with the unwinding and rewinding modules, the X-Jet transforms itself into a roll-to-roll inkjet press. The same machine can be completed with finishing units, such as lamination and diecut. Using the Mono Twin diecut makes it possible to obtain all self adhesive label formats utilizing a single sheet and without the need to buy any magnetic cylinders. Moreover, the X-Jet module can be inserted into an X-Flex line, complete with all units, such as flexo, screen, cold foil, hot foil, lamination, diecutting units, and more," he says.

The advantages and benefits the system offers label converters are numerous, Manzini says, and include cost reduction (particularly for short runs), customization of the printed item and the possibility to input variable data, drastic reduction in start-up times, ease of use, and the possibility to retrofit and upgrade existing X-Flex lines.

Manzini says markets that are an ideal fir for incorporating the technology include wine, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. "Commercial initiatives, short runs, short-time special offer products and sampling require labels and printed packaging with alternative methods compared to traditional ones," Manzini adds.

Steve Leiben, Omet sales manager, discusses other aspects of the machine that he feels sets it apart. "The real advantage of the X-Jet, in comparison to other inkjet solutions on the market, is the 16" web width and the flexibility of the platform. The X-Jet provides the ability to combine inkjet with flexo, screen, cold and hot foil, reverse printing and 'tool-less' diecutting in one simple, inline solution.

"Rather than taking two to four steps on other digital solutions, the X-Jet creates the completed label in one step," he says, noting that the machine also uses LED UV, a process that greatly reduces electricity costs.

Durst's Tau 150 digital UV inkjet label printing press


Durst, headquartered in Brixen, Italy, has launched its Tau 150 digital UV inkjet label printing press as well as the new Rotoworx 330 family of finishing machines. The new end-to-end system includes prepress workflow software, a high-speed liquid UV ink label press with variable data printing capability and a matching diecutting and lamination unit designed for the short run label market.

"Through significant improvements in productivity, reliability and cost of ownership, the new Tau 150 and Rotoworx 330 products push the profitable threshold run length for digital label production beyond present industry standards. A run length of more than 40,000 labels is now a realistic benchmark for cost-effective digital label printing," says Hellmuth Munter, Durst's segment manager, label printing.

The Tau 150 covers web widths from 10 cm (4") to a maximum 161⁄2 cm (61⁄2") and utilizes liquid ink technology. The system reaches an industry leading throughput speed of close to 50 m/min. (160 fpm), resulting in a substantially improved return on investment for the label printer. Building on its multi-generation product offerings in the photographic market segment, Durst's Tau 150 delivers an apparent resolution in excess of 1000 dpi – utilizing grayscale inkjet print head technology from Xaar.

Tau 150 features CMYK ink colors, plus white as an additional configuration option. A broad range of standard substrates are supported without the need for expensive and time-consuming pre-treatment and post-treatment. Lamination is not required from an image durability standpoint, but is offered as an option in the Rotoworx 330.

"Lower production costs are achieved thanks to affordable ink-only cost models – users pay for the ink they use – nothing more, nothing less. It is simple and easy – and in line with conventional industry practices. High performance Tau inks are available directly from Durst in five-liter containers with an easy and secure ink refill system. The Tau inks have been specially formulated to provide the broad color gamut demanded by the quality conscious label industry," Hellmuth says.

Benefits of the system include, due in part to the CMYK plus white UV ink color, the ability to cover a broad range of applications, essential for transparent, colored or metallic substrates, Hellmuth says, adding that additional advantages include full label-to-label variability and flexibility thanks to a variable data software module that handles VDP jobs. He also says it makes for cost effective production and high profitability due to low running costs, affordable ink-only costs, and the use of standard substrates.

The system is equipped with a corona treatment unit providing one-pass workflow for plastic material treatment and printing. It has built-in maintenance functions like automated print head cleaning and auto-nozzle-failure-compensation, that help to improve reliability.

Allen Datagraph Systems

Allen Datagraph Systems' iTech Axxis Digital Label System is a new product for the printing and finishing of high quality, short-run labels on a wide variety of substrates. The system is made up of both the iTech Axxis Digital Label Printer, a high-resolution (5760 x 1440 dpi) roll-fed CMYK print engine featuring variable-droplet technology, and the iTech Axxis Digital Label Finisher that laminates, integrates die-less diecutting, and both strips and rewinds the label roll.

Printing on a wide variety of substrate widths from 4 inches to 81⁄2 inches with an outside roll diameter up to 11 inches, the system images CMYK labels at up to 20 feet per minute. To complement the system, ADSI sells five different pressure sensitive media: white matte paper, white gloss paper, white polyester, clear polyester and white BOPP. The system also prints on any substrate that will accept aqueous inkjet inks.

Allen Datagraph Systems' iTech AXXIS Digital Label System
Mark Vanover, VP sales and marketing, says the system's compact size and cost-effective pricetag are particularly attractive characteristics. "The complete iTech Axxis Digital Label System, small enough to fit on a desktop yet engineered to handle high-productivity throughput, is priced at under $25,000 in North America. It delivers affordable digital label manufacturing – both printing and finishing – within reach of everyone. The iTech AXXIS Digital Label System enables every converter to deliver economical short run labels for their customers," he says.

"Yes, many small-to-medium-sized companies have the need for high quality labels; for example, small specialty gourmet product manufacturers or regional beverage manufacturers. However the cost associated with purchasing small quantities – 2,500 or less – of high quality labels is one of the biggest issues these companies have to resolve, while still offering products that are appealing to the consumer at the point of sale.

"These types of companies have been required to purchase labels in large quantities creating inventory that may never be used, or they have paid a high premium for shor run labels. Their last option has been to use inferior pre-cut labels. The iTech AXXIS Digital Label System is a complete desktop label production solution enabling label converters the ability to offer these customers high quality labels at very short run lengths – at lower costs and with higher profitability for the converter than traditional digital methods."

Atlantic Zeiser

Atlantic Zeiser, Emmingen, Germany, recently launched the Gamma 70, a full color inkjet printing module. Its print engine is capable of printing at a top speed of 24 m/min. It is a single-pass UV system that incorporates Xaar 1001 print nozzles to produce stunning quality at a resolution of 360 dpi, and offers grayscale printing appearing visually to be as much as 1060 dpi.

The module prints on a wide variety of porous and non-porous materials such as plastics and films, metallic foils, cardboard and paper. With a print width of 701⁄2 mm, the Gamma 70 can be integrated inline with sheet-fed or web systems. The variable drop capability of the industrial-strength Xaar 1001 printhead consistently produces smooth tone graphics, fine detail, sharp text and barcodes, generating great results quickly, cost-effectively and reliably, the company says. The new module is also highly flexible as an industrial level full-color marking system. A choice of UV curing modules is also available to suit specific applications. These include Atlantic Zeiser's new eco-friendly SmartCure LED UV curing technology for temperature-sensitive products.

The company says that ideal applications and markets for the Gamma 70 include, in addition to labels, promotional items, ID cards, driving licenses, and full-color membership cards.

The Exfo Excelerate PIN-100 series UV LED pinning system


Exfo, Mississauga, ON, Canada, offers the Excelerate PIN-100 line of UV LED pinning systems. The systems are components for UV inkjet, single-pass and narrow web digital printing applications.
Nidal Abbas, senior product manager for Excelerate, talks about pinning and its advantages. He says, "UV pinning immediately after jetting enhances the management of drop size and image integrity, minimizing the unwanted mixing of drops and providing the highest possible image quality and the sharpest color rendering. Final curing can be moved to later in the print process, helping to minimize heating effects and avoid the unintended curing of UV inks onto the inkjet heads."

Features of the Excelerate PIN-100 series include its compact size – the unit fits between inkjet heads for a smaller printing engine. It has a PC software interface for a remote computer to control power levels to the LED heads via a single control system. It accommodates different ink formulations, is air-cooled, and supports a wide range of multi-color narrow web digital print applications.

"UV pinning with the Excelerate PIN-100 series maximizes image integrity, minimizes the unwanted merging of colors and provides the highest possible image quality, edge sharpness, detail, and range and sharpness of color rendering. Pinning with the Excelerate PIN-100 series also helps the cure efficiency of black ink – a traditional challenge in UV cure printing," Abbas says, adding that using the system avoids the need for more expensive pre-treated substrates. Also, the PIN-100 series can be used with a wide variety of print media from conventional paper substrates to poly-laminates to metalized film.

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