CRON’s inking system to be demonstrated at PRINT

prwhite

Administrator
Staff member
CRON will be introducing and demonstrating their talked-about & previously announced inking system for sheetfed presses at PRINT-18.

Their EZC system is said to reduce waste & enhance quality. Visitors can see the EZC system running live on an offset press in CRON’s booth (#3617). The company predicts that paper waste could be reduced to the equivalent of digital press levels, with savings of up to 90% over current systems.

How it Works
Inside, micro-pumped jets meter ink directly onto the first form roller. Jet control is via CIP3 / CIP4 data, predicting the exact ink demand under specific printing conditions. EZC’s software interfaces, in real-time, with consumable characteristics such as rubber blanket, plate, ink, paper and other variables like ink viscosity, temperature, humidity, press speed and other factors that may affect ink transfer in open fountain systems.

The result is control over ink volume—to a tolerance of +/-1%—ensuring a constant a balance between ink feeding & consumption, resulting in greater color consistency. According to CRON, EZC can be retrofitted to any sheetfed press.
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
CRON will be introducing and demonstrating their talked-about & previously announced inking system for sheetfed presses at PRINT-18.

Their EZC system is said to reduce waste & enhance quality. Visitors can see the EZC system running live on an offset press in CRON’s booth (#3617). The company predicts that paper waste could be reduced to the equivalent of digital press levels, with savings of up to 90% over current systems.

How it Works
Inside, micro-pumped jets meter ink directly onto the first form roller. Jet control is via CIP3 / CIP4 data, predicting the exact ink demand under specific printing conditions. EZC’s software interfaces, in real-time, with consumable characteristics such as rubber blanket, plate, ink, paper and other variables like ink viscosity, temperature, humidity, press speed and other factors that may affect ink transfer in open fountain systems.

The result is control over ink volume—to a tolerance of +/-1%—ensuring a constant a balance between ink feeding & consumption, resulting in greater color consistency. According to CRON, EZC can be retrofitted to any sheetfed press.

This is great news. It will be good for people to see this here in North America. Please have a good look and ask questions.

Of course, the details of how the EZcolor inker works is still not clearly disclosed and that is important. The devil is in the details.

Pumped ink fountains are not new. There are now thousands of them on presses and they tend to be specifically in the newspaper industry, where inks are weaker and have lower viscosities than what is normally seen in commercial and packaging printing.

I also developed an experimental system back in the mid 1990s that ran with high viscosity EB inks and ran in production. So I have some first hand knowledge of the difficulties in making such a system successful. The majority of these types of inkers are on those newspaper presses and are configured incorrectly in my opinion and it will be interesting to see if the EZcolor inkers suffer from similar issues.

Also even after two years, the comment that the ink is metered onto the first form roller does not make sense. Maybe it is a translation issue. Photos of the units on press have shown it up near the ink fountain roller and far from the first form roller. The people who write these marketing releases should really have the description checked for proper printing terminology otherwise it looks a bit foolish. Something for visitors to look for.

Anyhow, even if the EZcolor system is not as perfect as hoped, it still represents thinking that is going in the right direction.

If you see it run, please comment on the forum.

Maybe later I will list some questions you can ask Cron. :)
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Erik will be doing cartwheels of joy over this. Or maybe not?

Yes and no. Too old for cartwheels.

What I am concerned about and what I tried to tell Cron two years ago, is that there are many issues related to this approach that will cause problems and that will mean that Cron will not meet their ambitious goals. It is about the physics and you can't fool Nature. If you unsuspectedly do the wrong things, it will not perform as you expected. They didn't want to know. :)

The newspaper industry has thousands of these kind of units and IMO they are not correctly configured and this has been going on for maybe 50 years. They and Cron, falsely think the issue is about ink feed accuracy, so both have systems with output errors down in the +/- 1% range. Highly accurate systems are nice to have but it is not as important as you might think. There are many other important issues which will affect performance. Unfortunately both groups don't seem to think it is important to understand those issues so the potential performance is lost.

Recently, I have been posting on Linkedin and provided to some press suppliers, a technical colour control concept for the press, that I view as being disruptive. It is actually something I have thought about for over twenty years and I had hoped that if I could have developed interest in the ITB, with a press supplier, this concept would have been something else for them to develop. ( Plus lots of other stuff too)

I will start a new thread and post this concept on the forum. IMO it would outperform the EZcolor concept. I would not like to discuss the concept much but it would be there for those who are interested.
 
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D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Erik, it's time to drive or fly to Chicago for the big show. It's not that far from you.

No thanks! I won't travel to the US or spend a cent on anything related to printing. But talk is cheap. :)
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
CRON will be introducing and demonstrating their talked-about & previously announced inking system for sheetfed presses at PRINT-18.

Paul, are you sure the EZcolor inker is going to be demonstrated on a press at PRINT-18? (Booth #3617 does not look big enough for a press.)

In searching the internet, so far I can not find any mention of this.

Do you have a link or something?

Thanks
 
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Refik Telhan

New member
Hi Erik,

I have first seen CRON's EZColor digital inking system in action at Drupa 2016. The ink pumping systems were at the top of each inking unit, directly replacing the conventional ink fountain. Below is the link to an 47-second video animation on YouTube which is showing the basic structure. It was working on a 4-color 50x70cm machine and the machine was easily achieving and maintaining PressSign scores through the press run during the demonstrations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd_lnKeuYCA

As the ink that is leaving the nozzle of the micro pump (the number of the individual pumps/nozzles was roughly equal to the number of ink zones) it has no way to come back; it has to go down. I still have your ITB info pack (and the simplification instructions of the ITB for testing purposes) that you have shared with me so many years ago. The idea is the same, what leaves ink supply system has to go down to the paper, given that you properly keep ink/water balance under control.

The EZColor system may work with low tack oil-based inks but probably not with UV-curable inks. They do not like pressure. You cannot use UV-curable inks in the standard central ink pumping systems. You need to have special low pressure systems. High pressure turns UV-curable ink into gel.

I would really like to hear from people who will see the 2018 version of the EZColor system in action at PRINT 18.

Best regards,

Refik Telhan
Light and Color Management Consultant
Istanbul, Turkey
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Hi Erik,

I have first seen CRON's EZColor digital inking system in action at Drupa 2016. The ink pumping systems were at the top of each inking unit, directly replacing the conventional ink fountain. Below is the link to an 47-second video animation on YouTube which is showing the basic structure. It was working on a 4-color 50x70cm machine and the machine was easily achieving and maintaining PressSign scores through the press run during the demonstrations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd_lnKeuYCA

As the ink that is leaving the nozzle of the micro pump (the number of the individual pumps/nozzles was roughly equal to the number of ink zones) it has no way to come back; it has to go down. I still have your ITB info pack (and the simplification instructions of the ITB for testing purposes) that you have shared with me so many years ago. The idea is the same, what leaves ink supply system has to go down to the paper, given that you properly keep ink/water balance under control.

The EZColor system may work with low tack oil-based inks but probably not with UV-curable inks. They do not like pressure. You cannot use UV-curable inks in the standard central ink pumping systems. You need to have special low pressure systems. High pressure turns UV-curable ink into gel.

I would really like to hear from people who will see the 2018 version of the EZColor system in action at PRINT 18.

Best regards,

Refik Telhan
Light and Color Management Consultant
Istanbul, Turkey

Hi Refik, thanks for your feedback. I saw that animation about two years ago and of course animations are not reality. Landa used animations and of course everything works in an animation.
Selling technology with cartoons. :)

What has interested me is the exact details of how the ink is applied to the press. On some photos of the EZC, as it is called now, it looks like there are rollers attached but the photos are not so clear. How the ink is applied is very important. I actually commented about this in my 1997 TAGA paper.

I am also concerned about the design of the pumps. If the pumps and manifold are designed properly, IMO they can run high viscosity UV inks and it can be done at relatively low pressures. I have done this myself. EB and UV inks don't like too much shear. I am not sure about your comment about high pressure. That would be interesting to know if high pressure on its own cures the ink. Maybe the ink companies have tested this.

Two years ago, when I offered help to Cron, the design of the pumps was a critical issue for me. I thought that it was very important to get the pump design right, right at the start instead of them trying to develop a technology for a long time and then finally finding out they might have started with the wrong pump concept. It is too bad they didn't take up my offer to help. :)

What is their pumping concept? I don't know. This is critical. Are the micro pumps actually positive displacement pumps or are they something else. The animation shows an intermittent jetting of ink, which in itself is not such a problem but the actual design of the mechanism that drives that ink jet is important and so far is not clear. I could not find patents related to their design.

Even with any potential weaknesses in the design, it should still help to get the conversation going on what can be done to improve the process.
 

gordo

Well-known member
Erik, if they run live at Print then you could get them to increase the water to see how stable the ink densities remain. Although it can be Stormy in Chicago I’m sure the Trump won’t be there so maybe it’s worth you driving down? See it for yourself.
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Erik, if they run live at Print then you could get them to increase the water to see how stable the ink densities remain. Although it can be Stormy in Chicago I’m sure the Trump won’t be there so maybe it’s worth you driving down? See it for yourself.

But Gordon, I know what will happen. The same thing that would happen to the thousands of positive displacement inkers used on newspaper presses. The fact that the press suppliers probably have never even done such an experiment just shows their lack of scientific curiosity. With the newspaper presses with positive inkers, there would be a bit of a delayed response, and that is what I suggested to Goss (Rockwell Int. ) back in in 1996. But the steady state condition would show consistent density that was independent of water setting.

Even if the EZC does not have true positive displacement pumps, the density would be consistent and independent of water settings, because the changes in water can not affect the pumping rate. The reason to want a positive displacement pump is so it can be predictable. A non positive displacement pump is not predictable even though the output can be relatively steady at times.

The whole issue of ink control over the years has been a Stormy in a C cup, but positive ink feed will Trump that. :)
 

Green Printer

Registered Users
I doubt if you will ever be able to change colors. I think you would need a separate pump assembly for each pms color. As temperature changes ink feed rates would change. The ink supply needs to be totally sealed. Many inks viscosity changes with age. What happens when you get a contaminated batch of ink that clogs the system?
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
I doubt if you will ever be able to change colors. I think you would need a separate pump assembly for each pms color. As temperature changes ink feed rates would change. The ink supply needs to be totally sealed. Many inks viscosity changes with age. What happens when you get a contaminated batch of ink that clogs the system?

Positive displacement pumps have consistent volumetric outputs that are independent of changes in viscosity. That is the good news.

For sure, cleaning is an issue and solvents that are stronger than one might want to have around, might be needed to clean the system out before another coloured ink could be run. The issues you bring up are the kinds of issues that make designing such a system difficult. That can be bad news.

Of course my approach does not have those issues. It is a positive displacement method that does not require a close system.

The Cron system may successfully show that the physics is different from what many think and that it performs consistently but it may also fail due to some of these other issues that turn up when running in production. But it may not be much of a problem. As I understand, they have tested this system in production at many locations for quite a while. So hopefully they have addressed some of these issues.
 
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D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Even if the EZC does not have true positive displacement pumps, the density would be consistent and independent of water settings, because the changes in water can not affect the pumping rate. The reason to want a positive displacement pump is so it can be predictable. A non positive displacement pump is not predictable even though the output can be relatively steady at times.

Print18 starts Sunday. So if people get a chance to see the EZC run and ask questions, that would be great.

Suggested questions.

Ask: Have they tested the consistency of the print density when changing the water settings?

Even if the pumps are not true positive displacement pumps in the EZC, they should basically have not seen density changes when changing the water settings. It is possible that they never actually tested this since they don't seem to claim this capability clearly.

If they have not actually tested this capability, they may not know.

Ask: Will the density change if the water setting are changed?

If they say the density will not change, then they probably have tested this.

If they say the density will change then they probably didn't test for this and then you can ask another question.

Ask: If the density changes when water is adjusted, how can Cron claim that the system is predictable since one would have variable density outcomes for the same ink feed setting?

It would be very interesting to hear their answers. It is possible that those representing Cron in their booth don't really understand the capabilities and would give conflicting answers. I expect that the right answer would be that the density is independent of water settings for their system.

Of course there are other questions of interest.

A chronic problem of most existing ink pumping fountains is that they have a very slow response time of density changes, when making changes to ink feed rate. Especially slow with low coverage.

Ask: Is the EZC slower to respond to changes in density than conventional ink fountains?

This is important because a slow response is going to affect the ability to make short set ups especially when starting from inaccurate presetting data.

Different inks.

Ask: Is the ink output affected by differences in ink viscosity?

Ask: Does the EZC require special inks?

Ask: Can if run with conventional and UV inks?

Colour changes as Green Printer has suggested could be a problem.

Ask: How easy and how fast is it to make colour changes?

I am sure if you get to see the EZC run, you will also have lots of questions of your own. Hope you can share your views here.

Thanks for any responses to your experiences at Print18.
 

curiosity

Well-known member
"Although it can be Stormy in Chicago I’m sure the Trump won’t be there so maybe it’s worth you driving down?"

"The whole issue of ink control over the years has been a Stormy in a C cup, but positive ink feed will Trump that."


So now were relegated to talking politics in code?! ha
 

Green Printer

Registered Users
Erik. go to the show. Get the information you need first hand. Observe the device, come to your own conclusion. Second hand information will never satisfy you.
 
D

Deleted member 16349

Guest
Erik. go to the show. Get the information you need first hand. Observe the device, come to your own conclusion. Second hand information will never satisfy you.

GP, I don't need to see it working. I have a pretty good idea of what it can do. With more details on its internal construction etc., which probably would not be available at the show, I would be able to analyze its performance potential, strengths and weaknesses, even more.

The questions I provided were not for me. They were for the forum. For many years I have been stating that the critical problem of ink water balance was solved and that it has been tested to confirm this. IMO, it is the most critical problem with offset printing but I have found surprisingly little interest. It is possible that people don't believe me so it would be good if they can see some results from others in the industry.

If people are not interested in fundamental solutions, that is something that can not be corrected.
 

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