Inkjet Presses

Internal_R&D_Analyst

Well-known member
Who’s watching the developing inkjet market out there? Today they are primarily all web solutions but Drupa did show two concept machines in development (Fuji and Screen) that are B2 sheetfed inkjet presses. Companies on the web side with a either machines or concept machines 6-24 months away include: Agfa, HP, Impika, Kodak, Mimaki, Miyakoshi, Oce, Olympus, Screen, and Xerox. On the narrow web (label) side there are companies such as: Epson, ITI, Jetrion, Nilpeter, Sun Chemical, and Xennia.

Some of these have been out for awhile, some are improvements, and some are completely new. From the samples I have seen inkjet is beginning to reach the point to rival today’s traditional print technologies.

Are other people watching this and what are some of you thoughts?
 

UberTech

Well-known member
Im watching as far as seeing what machines are coming out like the memjet or the riso surely a sign of things to come. Being a tech all the head aches from xerographic machine seem to vanish with this tech. Although they probably introduce all new problems.

We were amazed at the drop in moving part count when we went from analoge to digital. Just about the only thing moving in these units is the paper!
 

lfelton

Well-known member
Definately. I'm not 100% convinced on the technology yet, but that may just be a lack of knowledge on my part. I will certainly be trying to get my head around the pricing models that the manufacturer's are proposing as it might be a good fit in our environment. Quality is also a big question mark as we would require far higher quality than transpromo work. I'm surprised that KM are not going after this market in a big way as they manufacture a large proportion of the heads used in industrial machines. Conflict of interest with the OEMs they supply??

@Ubertech - isn't the Memjet thing a well known hoax? From what I've seen, the output from the Riso inkjet machine is not sellable in a commerial print environment (don't know about low end transpromo??), but kudos to them for getting a product out so far in advance of everyone else.
 

che.c

Well-known member
omfg nozzle bl0ckage?!!11!

I've had half an eye on the inkjet press market, I think in time they'll supplant toner based machines, after all it's back to ink on paper.
 
Inkjet vs Toner

Inkjet vs Toner

Inkjet will eventually win as the speed it can operate will (and already can) surpass toner. The problem is we've had years to work on toner systems (Oce has done a great job with their technologies) and it will take time for inkjet to figure things out. More importantly, make them affordable. Years ago, I looked at the Scitex (now Kodak) VersaMark... To get the size I wanted at 4/4, it would have cost MILLIONS. Umm, sorry, I can get a pretty fancy 40" sheetfed for that... Given the quality, there was no way to make sense of it unless you were in the fledgling transpromo market and already had a heck of a demand for VDP.

Inkjet also has one up on toner in that it is not as variable due to environment (humidity, etc) and toner only fuses so fast. Another real issue with toner is the limitation of substrates. Toner does not bond well to plastics and synthetics, but UV inks do. Toner cracks, it sits mostly on the surface, ink does not. So there are serious differences and is apples-and-oranges...

It will take systems like the Riso HC5500 (which I have one of) or the MemJet/XAAR devices to develop into what will become closer to commercial quality. The HC5500 indeed is not fit for anything but very specific applications, cannot be used on coated stocks, inks have serious dryback issues, etc -- but for $40k you get a pretty nifty device. The tech demos done by MemJet (hoax or not) are impressive... It will take a lot of R&D to get large scale printhead stitching worked out, but companies like HP are already doing it (their Inkjet Web Press). But if you've ever seen it, there is a serious amount of horsepower required to blow trillions of inkdropls across a wide web at the speeds it moves. Only time and technology will fix this...

So will inkjet presses be the future? I think so... How long? Who knows -- with no one buying anything, and no one getting the credit they need to make large investments, it won't be tomorrow...
 

ASM

Well-known member
jcampbell commented: "with no one buying anything, and no one getting the credit they need to make large investments, it won't be tomorrow..."
High speed, web-feed, inkjet is one are where companies are indeed buying, on credit or otherwise. It's not a tomorrow thing; it's today. Reason? The firms investing can make money on them right away if the have the right applications which initially are DM, Trans-promo data-driven ones. However, 3 x 2009 sales have been into newspaper environments (New York, Dubai and Spain).
Oce is installing Jetstreams all over the place. It's a happening thing.
 

Internal_R&D_Analyst

Well-known member
Pricing floating out these days is about 1 cent for an A4 at about 30% coverage. Since you are usually buying ink just like you would for offset coverage is important.

Many of the solutions use pretreated stock like with HP Indigo electroink (liquid toner) while others are coating inline. While the HP press prints the bonding agent (coating) only where it will be spraying ink. All of these allow for superior printing from where the inkjet industry was years ago.

As far as memjet, they are real with over 1800 patents and 2000 pending they just won't make any machines, like Konica they are supplying heads to the companies that are. Compare memjet patents to the other inkjet companies.

Silverbrook Research Patents

HP seams to have a potential solution for nozzle blockage with redundancy using 2 heads per color resulting in 4 times redundancy . While the Kodak Stream technology samples appear to look better it has quite a bit longer before is will be available for sale.

For now it appears that the market will have large web machines that fall inline with costs for a new large litho press. In time I'm sure others like the Riso HC5500, memjet, or Fuji/Dimatix Samba printhead will be used for smaller sheetfed machines with improved quality.
 

UberTech

Well-known member
Wonder how the priceing would go? Can't quite see how you could push a service contact for a machine void of 90% of the consumable parts, devs, drums, charge units etc etc. consumable parts other than toner are a major part of these manufactuers revenue. If the really wanted to make a machine that never wore out I bet they could.

I guess they will design a certain amount of unreliablity in the product so you would have a hybrid offset/digital type of contact. Unreliable print heads just means dollar signs to the manufactuer.
 
I don't think it s a question of either/or, rather one of Offset AND Inkjet, or Inkjet AND Xerography (in the same way as it has been Offset AND Xerography up to now. It's interesting to see that the inkjet offerings ar Drupa were not even trying to address the 2-page sheetfed market place where Xerography is centered now. As far as I can see neither has anyone at this stage promoting inkjet as a replacement for the offset printing process. The key to any new system's success is whether printers have the right type of work and can make money from their investment. Larger format digital printing (be it inkjet or whatever) will find buyers; it promises cost-effective short run printing, perhaps even with the benefit of variable data. If it can print on standard stock, with quality comparible to offset, so much the better. Low-quality inkjet will challenge Xerography in the transpromo sector. Will high-quality inkjet be the demise of commercial offset? I doubt it, not yet. I don't think there is a more cost-effective way of printing 5.000-200.000 copies of anything, other than by the offset process; and it will take I think quite a few years before the technology is developed to challenge the volume commercial offset printing sector. --Barry Brown, KTA, Finland.
 

Internal_R&D_Analyst

Well-known member
Maybe someone from O'Neil Data Systems can join and tell us how their HP 30 inch wide inkjet web press is running?

And, last month, O’Neil Data Systems, Los Angeles, received the very first HP Inkjet Web Press beta unit. “We are excited to be at the forefront of digital technology with the installation of the new HP Inkjet Web Press and are confident that the high speeds and width of the HP Inkjet Web Press will transform the printing industry and ultimately replace many traditional offset printing applications,” said James Lucanish, president, O’Neil Data Systems.
 

jjm

New member
I believe the Ink jet technology will have a great impact on printing as we know it. It defiantly has its place in the print world. I wouldn’t be surprised if our next digital press contained this technology. I find this very exciting.
 

RycckG

Member
Kodak Stream

Kodak Stream

I just returned from a week at Versamark. We received a demo of the PROSPER with Stream heads. The printer is in a league all it's own. 650 ft/min at 175 (equivalent) line screen. They are building these presses themselves and they had about 8 in production. If you are not familiar with Stream, it uses continuous inkjet technologies, NOT drop on demand.
 

kevneto

Member
I have been keeping my eye on these emerging machines. many still seem to have some problems with substrates, plus most are still incredibly expensive.(at least for what I need)

But I believe they will replace toner based machines eventually and take a big bite out of offset. I'm thinking, I'll probably only get one more toner based machine to last me 4-5 years and the next will be inkjet.

I'll be watching.
 

Joe Duffy

Well-known member
Wonder how the priceing would go? Can't quite see how you could push a service contact for a machine void of 90% of the consumable parts, devs, drums, charge units etc etc. consumable parts other than toner are a major part of these manufactuers revenue. If the really wanted to make a machine that never wore out I bet they could.

I guess they will design a certain amount of unreliablity in the product so you would have a hybrid offset/digital type of contact. Unreliable print heads just means dollar signs to the manufactuer.



Had 4 Riso HC5500R models and put over 16,000,000 impressions in 16 months on them and I can tell you they are the most effecient and reliable digital device I have ever used. Yes, they are not of the best quality but I spent the time to learn how to color correct in Photoshop the images and laid down sellable color for a long period of time. They are reliable but do require user intervention to stay running at optimal uptime but overall they are worth the price. How many toner devices run that long with only 4 serice calls?

No heat, standard power required and few moving parts make them desireable. I had my four in the same room as my KM6501 and it was way louder, way hotter, way slower and way more expensive to run daily.

While not for everyone because of stock limitations, etc they do serve a great purpose in Quickprint and other markets... Inkjet works if you have a continuos volume of pages to run that are not the highest quality.
 
WOW! Thats almost unbelievable. Thats 4,000,000 prints per machine with one service call per machine. It's too bad they discontinued them.
 

Joe Duffy

Well-known member
Service call yes, but we did all of the average ORC type things ourself. They are not without fault and require a dedication to daily habits, but running them 4 days a week for 12 hours plus per day proved them to be a hearty machine.

So much so that I am trying to get a couple more of them at my new location to use.
And they are replaced by machines that are faster, as with anything in the field.
 

natty

Well-known member
So far the driving force behind these machines has been speed, and of course quality would have to be comprimised for speed.

But we know inkjet can look fantastic. I mean i don't think there is a toner based machine on the market that can print better, finer and more consistent than say a Epson proofing machine. So why do they have to be soooo fast (and hence poor quality) ?

I would buy one of these machines if it printed like an Epson even if it was half the speed of my toner based machine if:

1) They were cheaper and hence i could buy more to compensate for speed (and fewer moving parts would indicate they should be)

2) They were cheaper to run (but not that important as long as the quality was up there)

Chasing the speed to try to take on offset/litho doesn't really make sense... Why not try to capture the small digital print market. There are so many clear advantages (no heat, no curling, easier post finishing, letterheads, more substrate options) when compared to toner so why doesn't someone just slow it down and get the quality right and they would have more orders from smaller print shops than they could possibly handle ?
 

Keith

Well-known member
I am certainly watching inkjet technology. I agree with whoever said "...fewer moving parts...". I really hate electro-photographic printing- you breath too heavily in the room and it throws off your quality. I have a desktop inkjet and a wide format inkjet and they run like dreams. They break down so rarely that they're boring. If the new Riso Comcolors could print on coated, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. But for now, it would certainly compliment my toner machines. Unfortunately, I can't spend $40,000 on complimentary.
 

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