Specifically, inkjet printing is rising in prevalence.
That interest has spread to manufacturers, too. There is perhaps no better indicator of inkjet’s market penetration than seeing major conventional suppliers opt to add inkjet to their flexographic workflows. Hybrid printing is starting to take hold, with the likes of Bobst, Gallus, Mark Andy, MPS, Nilpeter, Omet and others all offering hybrid configurations.
As a company that lives and breathes inkjet technology, Industrial Inkjet Ltd (IIJ) has developed a wide range of products to meet the growing demand for digital label and package printing. IIJ tailors its offerings to the customer’s needs and application requirements. The company provides everything from printheads, through peripheral devices such as ink systems and drive electronics, all the way to compact “Print Engines” containing web path inkjet printing, as well as UV curing and software.
“IIJ’s customers tend to be those with an eye for gaining an advantage over their competitors by working with a supplier partner that customizes the solution to their needs,” explains Graham VIcek, president of Industrial Inkjet Ltd USA. “These solutions are usually something that nobody else can achieve using ‘off the shelf’ equipment. Also, for those without the space, budget or desire to upend their workflows with a new piece of large print hardware, IIJ offers the ability to ‘turn your analog press digital’ with the on-press module, allowing customers to breathe new life into their existing equipment.”
IIJ has extensive experience in this market, as well. IIJ was formed in 2005 to sell and support Konica Minolta inkjet printheads outside of Asia. Formed by John Corrall, who has been in the inkjet industry since the early 1980s, and joined by colleagues with a wealth of experience from across the industry, the company strives to pave the way for new applications using inkjet technology.
IIJ introduced compact inkjet printing modules, the “Print Engine” concept, in 2009. These Print Engines have been fitted to flexo presses, packaging lines, décor lines and even direct to shape equipment over the last decade.
The technology has evolved, too, as the first systems were only 360 dpi, 72mm print swathe and single color, with print speeds up to 90 fpm. Over the years, however, IIJ developed the technology to a point where it now offers everything from 72mm to 594mm print swathe, process color, 360 or 600 dpi, and speeds up to 650 fpm.
“In the future, our technologies will be extended to wider systems, along with water-based solutions for more applications and different resolutions,” says VIcek.
IIJ’s experience has extended to fitting process color print engines to flexo presses from Mark Andy, Nilpeter, Comco, Omet, and Gallus, to name a few. Additionally, IIJ’s high-speed single-color engines have added variable data capabilities to both flexo presses and litho presses such as Muller Martini, DG press, MAN Roland, and Heidelberg.
“IIJ has been at the forefront of the hybrid evolution of the label production process,” states VIcek. “IIJ’s engines are some of the most productive on the market without compromising on quality. Adding the functionality of spot colors, spot varnish, covert security inks and high opacity white makes our Print Engines truly versatile.
“IIJ’s line of Digital Label Modules are perfect for adding the benefits of digital print to an existing analog press,” he adds. “IIJ’s complete solution provides our customers with everything required to evolve their analog press into a digital hybrid by including the Print Engine, press adapter, curing system and software, along with our on-site installation, for a one-stop turnkey offering.”
Hybrid technology has been designed to solve converters’ manufacturing challenges, offering configuration flexibility, job printing optimization, seamless integration, best of breed components, world-class R&D partnerships and countless others. Market adoption has already started to take place, and Vlcek doesn’t see that trend slowing down anytime soon.
“IIJ sees a market with an increasing appetite for compact, affordable, high quality, high productivity Print Engine modules being added onto existing equipment across the world,” he concludes.