Product of the month: Agfa SpeedSet 1060

The SpeedSet is set to be a game-changer in the packaging printing market. The fully digital packaging printing press merges the robustness and print excellence of an offset press with the attributes of inkjet printing, Matt Brooks, head of packaging, digital printing solutions, Agfa, tells Rahul Kumar

29 Mar 2024 | By Rahul Kumar

What does the machine do? 
The SpeedSet 1060 is a high-speed sheetfed single-pass printer for the packaging market. The press can handle media from 0.2-mm paper up to 2-mm microflute, making it suitable for applications such as retail- or shelf-ready food and beverage packaging.
The machine offers offset-like print quality yet boasts shorter setup times, reduced material waste, and efficient variable data printing. On top of that, with its speed of 11,000 B1 sheets per hour, it is the fastest digital packaging press around. It will enable packaging converters to make their current operations more efficient. Print runs up to 5,000 will be cheaper on the SpeedSet.

How does the machine work?
A proprietary floating steel vacuum conveyor belt moving at 150-m/min is critical to achieving the press’ top speed as well as ensuring sheets are positioned correctly and held in place when travelling through the inkjet engine, before being handed off to the Natgraph drying unit. Mabeg systems are used to feed the press and stack printed sheets. Agfa’s Asanti workflow software is used to run SpeedSet 1060, having been developed and honed in the sign and display market where Agfa has a strong and established heritage.

The inkjet engine can be configured with up to seven colours, although the demo machine is configured with four. With a resolution of 1,200-dpi, SpeedSet delivers sharp text and has an extensive colour gamut that meets industry standards. A digital priming unit and two digital varnish stations bring the number of possible on-press modules for jetting consumables up to 10, when fully configured. The press is fed by 200-litre barrels, although the possibility of integrating with an ink farm is being considered, depending on the specifics of those converters looking at adopting the press.

Which are the different models? 
We have one model, SpeedSet 1060, with different consumable options, including inkjet primer, inkjet orange, pink and voilet (OPV) and expanded colour gamut. 

Is there anything in the machine which is available as a standalone, if the equipment is modular? 
Although working with OEM partners for drying, feeding and stacking media, the modular build design is intended for build, installation and shipment to support production ramp up. 

When was the equipment launched? 
A two-day launch eventwas held in December 2023 at Agfa’s Cambridge manufacturing facility to officially unveil the press. This was attended by converters – many of whom were involved in the development of the press – as well as analysts, the trade media and industry consultants. 

Prior to the unveiling of the press in the steel, industry experts discussed trends in packaging and retail-ready solutions, providing valuable insights into staying ahead in the dynamic packaging industry. This led into a live demonstration of SpeedSet 1060, which provided those in attendance with an up-close look at the technology and showcased the press revolutionary speed and unmatched print quality.

The event not only served as a platform for industry professionals to explore the transformative potential of SpeedSet 1060, but also offered insights into the engineering excellence behind the printing press, provided the opportunity to engage with specialists, inspect print samples and facilitated meaningful discussions with fellow professionals about the possibilities and future of digital packaging printing.

What was the thought process when the equipment was conceived? 
To be market leader with game changing technology that would complement and enable traditional processes for printed packaging to become more efficient for short, medium and medium to long run jobs with a fully digital solution.

What is the target market(s)? 
The target market is folding carton for packaging plus markets which touch all things paper based demanding more sustainable solutions.

What kind of substrates it can handle? 
All paper-based media from 0.2- to 2-mm thicknesses.

How fast is it? 
An unmatched speed of 11,000 B1 sheets per hour. This makes it the fastest digital press available for packaging. 

What are the USP of the equipment?
With all consumables water-based, they are stated as being environmentally friendly and in compliance with food-safety regulations. Adding to the sustainability credentials is the fact that digital printing minimises waste of media and consumables. Digital application of a water-based primer with a very low wet thickness enhances image quality, expands the colour gamut and decreases ink consumption. This not only leads to cost savings, but also reduces environmental impact. 

Digital printing of both primer and varnish allows for selective application only where needed. When it comes to production, with digital printing’s – right first time – advantage, start-up is swift and job switching is effortless. This quick turnaround supports on-demand printing and is great for getting diverse packaging designs to the shelf in no time.

SpeedSet printing offers significant cost advantages over offset printing. It boasts shorter set-up times, reduced material waste and efficient variable data printing, while colour separations are not needed, and maintenance expenses are lower.
Being a fully digital solution enables customisation or personalisation of each individual print, facilitating product differentiation. Machine utilisation is also enhanced, as SpeedSet can print all runs mainstream, more cost-effectively, allowing printers to focus their offset litho operations on longer print runs, thus making it more efficient.

Users’ numbers worldwide? How many do you expect to increase in 2024-2025? 
Agfa is currently finetuning the SpeedSet in collaboration with several early adopters. Those early adopters form the first customer funnel and were called upon throughout the development of the press over several years to have it ready and raring to go. The first installations are expected by the end of 2024, with a ramping up of adoption in 2025 and 2026.

Contact details:
Matt Brooks
Head of packaging, digital printing solutions, Agfa
Mobile: +44 (0) 7800 727 922