Spot finishing is a popular option for enhancing print. While analogue methods of applying spot UV and foil, both inline as well as offline, are commonplace, a raft of small and big digital finishing kits being released are transforming the way print products can be embellished.
These digital machines are capable of spot UV and foiling, the two print finishing effects of our times, added with the advantages which are typical of digital processes: doing away with the physical template needed in conventional coating, be it a plate or a block, a blanket or a silk screen; and minimal makeready times and wastage when switching from job to job.
There is an argument that digital embellishing technologies are a photo printer’s forte, correctly so, as a majority of the installations have been in this space. However, a keen observer realises that even with photo album players, over 30% of their work is in the commercial printing space.
Post-Drupa 2016, this scenario is changing. Evidently, short-runs and the need for quick turnarounds is the name of the game. So, it is becoming imperative to have digital finishing machines which can accelerate your position against the competition. There are at least three non-photo players – a Noida-based packaging converter, a commercial printer from Mumbai and one of the top book printers in the country – who have added high-end digital decoration kits at Drupa 2016.
In a typical Indian environment, the basic minimum requirements for any equipment are lower capital cost, compact size and ease-of-use, and more so if the company is already having a combination of machines, be it digital or offset.
According to Konica Minolta marketing manager Manish Gupta, those are the strengths of the new Jetvarnish 3DS, which it has developed with French inkjet specialist MGI.
MGI’s first inkjet product was the Jetvarnish press that was demosntrated at Drupa 2008, was perhaps the first of its kind. Running at 1,000 sph, it was the first digital spot UV coater in a B2 format. The basis of the MGI inkjet system is the use of a variety of single pass piezoelectric drop on demand (DoD) printheads combined with MGI technology.
At Drupa 2012, MGI introduced its next version, the Jetvarnish 3D, which features new 3D with iFoil, “world’s first” digital foiling system combined with embossing capabilities as well as improved registration and increased speed for traditional flat spot UV coating at 3,000 B2 sheets per hour.
Gupta says, “In 2014, when Konica Minolta acquired 10% stake in MGI, a proposal to develop a machine that is compatible with the sheet sizes of the digital machines up to 14x40-inch formats was tabled. That’s how the Jetvarnish 3DS with iFoils was conceptualised.”
Designed primarily for the digital print market, the Jetvarnish 3DS with iFoils can produce ‘normal’ spot coating as well as a high-build effect of up to 100 microns (or the 200 microns using two passes) or using using field upgradable second row of inkjet heads.
With single-pass printing, the Jetvarnish 3DS is a UV spot varnish device and spot foiling device. The digitisation of spot UV finishing allows printers to take a few sheets from each job and spot UV coat or spot foil it so customers can see the effect their jobs could have, making the 3DS ideal for lucrative short- and medium-run printing.
Gupta highlights two knock-out features of the 3DS. One is its ability to spot varnish on toner and offset prints with and without lamination, making print workflows more flexible and easier. “This combined with the variable data option adds full personalisation capabilities for maximum one-to-one marketing impact.”
Two, low power consumption. “Unlike the bigger B2 size machines, 3DS with iFoils can run on a single-phase. Going by the Indian electricity conditions and the prices, it’s very economical for the customers to have a small footprint machine is economically also on power.”
Print speeds are up to 4,800 A3 sheets per hour in flat mode (2D) and up to 1,500 A3 sheets per hour in 3D mode.
It’s an easy-to-use machine. It accepts a mask file in black colour for the spot UV and foiling areas. The density of black controls the thickness of the varnish. In the case of jobs with both foiling and spot UV effects, two mask files have to be uploaded to the machine.
Jetvarnish 3DS HubManager production software allows printers to follow jobs, manage job queues, create job tickets, recall reprints and adjust ARC camera systems in one tool. A function exports detailed production data for internal costs for analysis and reports. The Spot Varnish Editor is designed for editing job files on the fly, so the operator can adjust and modify print jobs on the fly to save time and money.
Gupta says, “The Product Cost Analyser calculates production costs accurately, and gives customers precise information on consumable costs per print job before the job has been printed.”
“The Jetvarnish 3DS with iFoils can turn regular printed jobs into high-margin spot UV and foiling jobs, or even higher margin 3D embossed jobs with up to 100 microns of varnish applied to the sheet, which lifts the image from the page and adds a greater degree of sheen to colours,” says Gupta.
It is equipped with Automated Registration Camera (ARC) technology designed to calibrate (on the fly) coating registration from sheet to sheet. The first camera reads printed marks and automatically corrects for changes in the X and Y position of each sheet. The second camera detects the paper skew and makes adjustments on the fly. The ARC system ensures accurate spot UV coating, even on jobs with inconsistent print registration.
The combination of MGI’s inkjet technology with Konica Minolta’s drop-on-demand Piezoelectric print heads enables lines as small as 0.5mm or as wide as the sheet.
Regarding applications, embossed foiling is the most popular effect among end customers. Gupta explains two ways of embossing coupled with foiling. “We print a thicker varnish layer and then subsequently do foiling on it. However, most of the foils are not scuff resistant. So, to protect the foils from abrasion, we do foiling first followed by a thick layer of varnishing.”
With iFoils, the user is able do foil-on-foil and two or more than two foils can be applied on a sheet to create more effects to fascinate the user.
Konica Minolta has sold two Jetvarnish 3DS machines in India – one to Chennai’s Dina Color Lab, a prominent photo lab chain in Southern part of India and the other to an undisclosed client who produces liquor bottle labels and innovative applications for advertising industry.
All in all, Jetvarnish 3DS is a good value machine. For digital firms looking for entry into high-value digital finishing that offers an exciting range of features in a format that won’t take up too much floor space or leave a huge dent in your wallet, the Jetvarnish 3DS with iFoils could be just the ticket.
Min format 210x300mm
Max format 364x1,020mm
Max printable width 355mm
Coating thicknesses Depends on file, inks used, type of surface
Laminated and aqueous coating 15μm – 100μm for 3D raised effects and tactile finish
On toner and coated paper 30μm – 100μm for 3D raised effects and a tactile finish
Speed Up to 4,800 A4 sheets/hr in flat mode (2D); Up to 1,500 A4 sheets per hour in 3D mode
Footprint (L x W x H) 4.25 (5.50) x 1.06 x 1.80 metre
Overall registration ± 200μm
Contact Konica Minolta Business Solutions India
The third-generation Ultra model is almost twice as fast as the previous S75. Ultra has twin trays for faster feeding and camera recognition for registration to printed images. Scodix’s optional Rainbow peripheral can add glitter to the varnish. A foil blocking effect can be simulated on special laminate.
Max speed 1,250sph (raised imaging)
Max sheet size 545x788mm
Min sheet size 297x420mm
Max clear print area 505x764mm
Contact Monotech Systems
Note: The maximum sheet size handled by 3DS is 364 x 1,020mm while the Scodix Ultra is capable of handling 545 x 788mm size sheets. Although, Scodix Ultra is not size alternative to Jetvarnish 3DS, it is an alternative technology.