Before Canon introduced the C10000VP in the Indian market at Pamex 2015, the fastest Imagepress in the range printed at 80ppm. By then 80ppm had become normal and there was an increasing demand for devices capable of print speeds above 90ppm.
The digital firms were obviously looking for higher throughput, but more importantly, they needed a differentiator that could serve the demanding clients. They needed a press that could do away with inconsistent colour and be able to handle textured media as efficiently as the regular substrates.
Therefore, the timing was right for Canon when it introduced its first 100ppm device in the Indian market in December 2015. In about 12 months of the launch, the manufacturer clinched 30+ installations. While a majority of these devices went to the existing Imagepress users, it also fetched Canon entry into few competitor accounts.
Puneet Datta, director, marketing and sales, Canon, says, “We took what the market and customers were telling us – there is a requirement for this type of engine with premium quality and high productivity.”
Some of the key customers include New Delhi’s Amit Electrostat, Print Glazer, and Jolly Reprographics; Chennai’s Shiva Print, Bengaluru’s SV Color Graphics, Mumbai’s Arihant Jumbo Xerox; and Thiruvanantha-puram’s Digital House, among others.
“These customers,” stresses Datta, “have seen over 40% rise in volumes after the installation of C10000VP.”
Naturally, 70ppm to 100ppm is a 30% rise in productivity. “An additional 10% increase in volumes is seen, thanks to new applications using diverse media, which they couldn’t produce earlier,” says Datta.
The C10000VP is targeted at commercial printers and inplant printing departments. It prints in CMYK at full rated speed on the uncoated stock from 60-350gsm, and on coated grades from 70-350gsm. It handles a maximum paper size of 330x488mm and also handles specialist media, such as synthetics. The resolution is 2,400dpi.
Duplex A4 speed is the same as for single-sided, and the monthly duty cycle is 1.5m pages.
Although the machine uses the Imagepress legacy, it’s a lot more than just an upgrade.
“This is not just a quick update of an engine, there are several new technologies in the press,” Datta says.
While the device uses the same Consistently Vivid (CV) toner as the existing Imagepress C800 model, it has a new developer unit and reduced fusing temperature for improved colour consistency and accuracy.
“It has two fusing units and our Dual Fixing Technology means it runs at 100ppm even on heavy or mixed media jobs. If you are printing uncoated 150gsm it will go through one fusing unit. Or, if the stock is over 150gsm or you’re printing on coated media, it will go through the second,” he explains.
Generally, as the substrate grammage goes up the machine speed goes down also depending on the grammage the fixing temperature has to be adjusted. That’s where a single fixing unit hampers productivity and loses speed.
“The Dual Fixing Unit automatically routes heavier and coated stocks to a second fixing station. This enables full production speed, regardless of media weight, and high productivity, even for long runs and mixed-media jobs,” adds Datta.
In addition to this, the external heat roller that was used in the Imagepress 7000 series has been replaced with an external heat belt unit as the grip of the belt is better than the nip of the roller.
Datta says, “This offers stable toner fixing at high speeds and maintains even fixing temperatures during continuous printing of heavy media.”
Thus, even for the textured media, the toner is evenly applied on the troughs and crests eliminating the patchy prints.
Also new is an inline spectrophotometer for colour calibration, and Datta says, the use of a second transfer belt means there is no material deformation and improved registration accuracy. New registration control technology delivers front-to-back registration tolerance of 0.5mm.
With C10000VP, Canon has put emphasis on getting the colour consistency right, not only across the job but also for the repeat jobs.
In most of the electrophotographic (toner-based) presses, after the paper is fed, the quality check happens at the image reproduction level when the paper reaches the drum and then the machine parameters are adjusted to suit the paper conditions.
“Taking this to the next level, the C10000VP checks the quality at the fusing level and the feedback is sent back to adjust the machine parameters accordingly,” says Datta.
To maintain consistent of day-to-day colour, and to help limit reprint and waste within long-run jobs, Canon has introduced Multi DAT real-time calibration technology and a series of in-line spectrophotometric sensors. It works similar to colour control strips in offset printing. Datta explains, “Multi-gradation patches of all colours in various densities are automatically printed on the drum and ITB belt and read on the fly for real-time colour correction.”
This happens automatically with no need for operator intervention. The built-in spectrophotometric sensors are used for post fuse engine calibration measurements, including Auto Gradation Adjustment and Auto Correct Color Tone.
Besides this, there is colour combination calibration aiming to check the consistency of colour across the gamut.
“The system keeps track of colour adjustments, providing enhanced colour consistency over time thus reducing waste and downtime.”
As the focus is on higher speed and productivity, it is pertinent to have a hyper-RIP, which can handle heavy files hassle-free. The C10000VP is driven by EFI Fiery FS200 Pro controllers: B4000 and B5000 servers.
Datta explains, “B5000 is the first Hyper-RIP from EFI. If you have a very large job of say 2GB filesize, it automatically breaks it into multiple smaller files and processes all these files simultaneously. What it also means is that if you have four jobs, it can simultaneously process it.”
These RIPs are 2.5 times faster than the earlier generation RIPs. The digital front-end (DFE) is not similar to Canon’s other Imagepress models. “That’s where the key operator training comes into play,” says Datta.
On the operator training front, Canon’s approach has been reactive, which it is in a process to make proactive by the second quarter of 2017. It will de-linking training from installation.
“When operator training is clubbed with machine installation, we have observed that the operator is not equipped well to exploit the automation features of the machine,” says Datta.
Canon is in talks with EFI to design a two level key operator training programme. At level one, the operator is allowed to play with the machine post-installation for a couple of days and then a dedicated training is provided when the operator is acquainted with the machine. Later, after a gap of four to six months, an advanced level training is provided to the operator once he gets the basics right.
Datta added, “This will enable the operator to learn more about the machine and thus utilise the machine to its full potential of productivity.”