Inkjet with Great Image Quality on Uncoated Offset Stock on Display at Graph Expo 2015

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Color inkjet printing has made tremendous progress over the last several years.  Page volumes grew by 38% in 2014 and pages from high speed continuous form inkjet presses accounted for 45% of the total color production digital pages in North America. This growth has been in the areas of transactional statements, books, and direct mail. Most of the production has been on uncoated or inkjet treated media.

One of the last technical barriers for inkjet to overcome is printing with high image quality on standard coated offset stocks. Being able to overcome this barrier opens up another huge chunk of the offset printing market to digital. At Graph Expo I saw a number of products that are just hitting the market that can run standard coated offset papers and these products have great image quality.



HP introduced two new web presses called the HP PageWide Web Press T470 and T480. Both of these presses are extremely fast (5236 ppm and 6981 ppm) and in color performance mode they run at 600 and 800 fpm respectively. These presses are equipped with HP’s new inkjet head technology that they call HDNA (High Definition Nozzle Archicture) which offers 2400 nozzles per inch native resolution. A key accessory to the press is the availability of an in-line or offline priming unit. The combination of the new HDNA heads and the priming unit provide outstanding image quality on standard coated offset stocks.



Ricoh was excited to talk about their new inkjet press the VC60000.  This is a 4 color 20”web inkjet press with room for a 5th color in the future.  It runs at 164 fpm with 1200 dpi resolution on both standard coated and uncoated offset stocks. The press offers outstanding image quality and will be used for high quality direct mail, catalogs, magazines, brochures, and books.



Demonstrating their new sales partnership, Komori had the Screen Truepress Jet 520HD running in their booth. This product has the same printing specs as the Ricoh VC60000, but uses the Screen Equios workflow.






Canon’s foray into this space is with the ImageStream line of high speed continuous feed inkjet presses. Earlier this year they had the first installations of the product line, which currently has two models the ImageStream 2400 and ImageStream 3500 (essentially a 20” and 30” web width).  This 5 color press runs at 525 fpm with 1200 dpi. Canon’s solution to the coated offset paper problem was to develop a new line of inks that have very high pigment loading and combine that with a new inkjet head technology that emits 2 picoliter drops. The result is the ability to print on a wide variety of standard coated and uncoated offset stocks without priming or pre-coating. Very impressive technology.



In the Kodak booth you could learn about the latest advancement in the Prosper line. The newest press is the Prosper 6000 series and it is designed to run 90 million impressions per month with offset-like quality approaching 200 lpi.  The press prints on a range of uncoated, coated, glossy and silk papers.





And for those interested in a cutsheet option you could see print samples from Konica Minolta’s KM-1 in the Konica Minolta booth or from the Komori IS29 – (the Komori version of the product)– in the Komori booth. This 29” (B2) cutsheet press uses UV inks to solve the problem of printing on standard coated offset stocks. In the Komori booth they had samples of images printed both on the IS29 and a Komori offset press and I couldn’t tell the difference. This is truly offset-like image quality. The press runs at 330 ppm (6 up), is in beta now and will be available in the spring, around drupa time I suspect.

It’s an exciting time for color digital printing as the inkjet revolution continues and the next generation of inkjet CF presses are now in the market that can print with high quality on standard offset coated stocks.  And a new option in cutsheet will be available shortly.

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