Canon / Océ continues to innovate in the production inkjet market

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Oce coated papersCrit Driessen of Océ (part of the Canon Group) announced the development of a new high speed continuous form inkjet web press called the Océ ImageStream 3500. What makes this product special is the ability to run high quality output (up to 1200 x 1200 dpi with multilevel) on standard coated stock without the use of bonding agents or primers.  The innovation centers on new aqueous pigment inks co-developed by Océ and Kyocera (the inkjet head manufacturer for the product.)  The press has been tested and is able to run a wide range of standard coated and uncoated papers for transactional, direct mail, and graphic arts markets.

Ink is jetted from each Kyocera head at 64,000 drops per second with drop sizes ranging from 1.3 to 2.8 picoliters. Each head is 4.25 inches wide and contains 5120 nozzles.

Running at speeds up to 525 fpm the 30 inch wide press can produce 3240 A4 pages per minute or 19,200 B2 sheets per hour at 1200 x 600 dpi (to get to 1200 x 1200 dpi the press runs at half speed).

At these kinds of volumes the savings between standard coated offset papers and inkjet treated papers is significant.  Océ calculates that for companies that purchase 66,000 cwt/year of paper the savings opportunity can range from $1 million to $5 million depending on the grades purchased.

Oce paper savingsThe list price for the press in a roll to roll configuration is expected to be about $4 million. Information on the running costs for the inks was not made public.  It was noted the pigmented inks are more expensive that dye-based inks, but due to the small drop sizes the yield is better by nearly a factor of two.  The first installations are expected in the fourth quarter of 2014.

With this speed, image quality, and the ability to run on nearly any standard coated or treated paper Océ is aiming for existing web offset applications that require high quality – such as direct mail, high quality books, educational books, catalogs, magazines, and even brochures.

The ability to run on standard coated offset stocks has long been a key requirement from the print service providers who run high quality web applications.  Before inkjet is feasible for the small to mid-size shops they need a solution that can handle all of their volume, not just some. They can’t afford to give away any revenue.

Now there are two solutions in the market.  HP announced two weeks ago that they have developed a special priming agent for their presses that along with their latest ink set can run on standard offset coated papers.  And now Océ has an elegant solution that doesn’t involve the extra priming step.  What I can’t discern at this time is which solution has the lower running cost.  Nevertheless accomplishing this innovation is a feat that bodes well for the continued rise in the adoption of inkjet in the production printing market as this opens up a new set of markets for offset transfer.



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