Screen’s Secret Sauce

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

As inkjet now drives the digital printing industry there have been a few pioneers who have been leading the charge.  And one of them has been Screen.

Screen began their journey into high speed continuous form printing in mid 2000’s by building presses for IBM (later acquired by Ricoh).  Presses were sold by Ricoh under the InfoPrint brand to the transactional print market and by Screen under the Truepress 520 brand to direct mailers. To date Screen has built and delivered over 800 print engines.

The first models (designated as S) were designed for low coverage, low image quality applications on uncoated stock. This meant bills, statements, and direct mail letters.  This line up was expanded to include an EX model with color and mono options and then to the ZZ model which delivers even higher speeds.

At Print 17 Screen announced the NX model which Mark Schlimme, Director of Marketing for Screen labeled as a crossover press because it has the speed for transactional print but higher quality enabling more direct mail applications.  It also has the capability to run MICR and infrared security inks. This press utilizes the Ricoh’s inkjet technology also found in the RICOH Pro VC 40000. While this press can output higher quality than the S and EX models it is still meant for uncoated or inkjet coated stock.

The press that is targeting offset quality and coated offset stock is the SCREEN Truepress Jet520HD. This press delivers 1200 dpi and is being used in high quality commercial printing applications.  One customer has installed 4 HD presses.

Screen HD

According to Mark the secret sauce is the ink. With their heritage in color scanners, screening, dot etching for CTP and color management it makes sense that Screen is really focused on ink control.  Their goal is to use the least amount of ink and still deliver offset-like quality on standard offset stocks.

Screen SC Inks

While the SCREEN Truepress Jet520HD press uses the same Ricoh inkjet head technology found in the RICOH Pro VC60000 press, Screen has developed their own set of inks called SC Inks. This ink has a unique absorption technology that eliminates the preprocessing usually required for the surface of offset coated papers. With SC Inks customers can print directly on standard offset stocks and preserve the texture.  There is no need to jet primer and deal with excessive drying, heat and energy consumption. And with treated inkjet papers garnering a 20-30% premium the ability to run standard offset stock makes a huge impact on the bottom line.

Printing directly to the paper opens up a range of new possibilities and new markets for inkjet printing including commercial print, catalogues, magazines and high end books. One of the largest direct marketing agencies in the US is Epsilon and they print a variety of direct mail and loyalty applications for many industries including automotive, insurance and telecom. For their high volume variable applications they have been able to replace cutsheet toner output with output from the SCREEN Truepress Jet520HD press. Their customers who are very particular about brand colors are very satisfied with the image quality.

In addition to quality the press offers productivity and reliability. A 1.2 million piece self-mailer program that used to take 7-10 days production across multiple cutsheet toner presses now takes just 4 days. Equally impressive has been the uptime of the press. Epsilon reported that in the first 1041 hours of operation they had only 16 hours (1.6%) of unplanned downtime.

With the products like the SCREEN Truepress Jet520HD that  offer offset-like quality on standard offset coated stocks digital color inkjet printing is poised to enter the next phase of growth in which we will see another round of offset transfer.

 

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