Watershed moment for launching a product - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Is it a sign of the future? With Drupa delayed, and the pandemic placing restrictions on trade shows, PrintWeek lists ten companies who gave their products a virtual launch.

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13 Sep 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

Agfa releases new version of Arkitex for newspaper
Belgium-based Agfa gave Arkitex a new version, Arkitix Production version 4.0. A tighter integration with press management systems for just-in-time plate delivery is one of the key features along with multitenant capabilities. Arkitex Production 4.0 supports multiple tenants on a single server, enabling them to access and benefit from the same software modules (such as RIPs, imposition, ink presets). Each tenant has its own users and permissions, plate layouts, products, and can only see their publications and templates.

This becomes important in view of both local centralisation and cloud workflow solutions where multiple sites can share hardware and resources while maintaining data security and workflow control. Demonstrations included the Novoflex II flexographic press highlighting the new Ruby IoT system for analysing production data to optimise processes and the newly redesigned Heliostar II gravure printing press. In India, Agfa Arkitex is managed by TechNova.

Bobst rolls out new machines focussed on brand owners’ challenges
In a Skype-hosted virtual conference on 9 June 2020, which replaced its Drupa participation, Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO, Bobst Group announced the launch of new converting machines and tools - a new CI flexo press, a laminator and inspection systems among others.

The new kit include the Mastercut 106 PER, TooLink Connected Tooling for die-cutters, new Accucheck, and a new Masterstar sheet-to-sheet laminator for the folding carton industry; the new Master CI flexo press, new multi-technology Nova D 800 Laminator, the Master M6 inline flexo press equipped with ink-on-demand (IoD) and DigiColor inking and colour control for flexible packaging industry; OneECG, Bobst’s extended colour gamut technology; and new large-format version of the Digital Inspection Table (DIT).

Canon unveils two new presses
In April 2020, Canon launched a new generation of B3 sheetfed inkjet press –  VarioPrint iX-series, an evolution of the VarioPrint i-series.

The iX-series features two base models, the 320 A4ipm (9,000 SRA3iph) iX-3200 and the 210 A4ipm iX-2100, which is field upgradable to the iX-3200 specs, and features Canon’s latest iQuarius technology centred on higher resolution 1,200dpi heads jointly developed with Kyocera.

Recently, Canon has launched a spruced up ProStream high-speed inkjet capable of producing 11,300 four-back-four B2 sheets per hour at 1,200dpi, which is aimed at continuous printers to commercial operators. The duplexing printer runs a 558mm wide-web with a print repeat length of up to 1,524mm.

Heidelberg’s new generation of Speedmasters
In January 2020, Heidelberg unveiled its latest generation Speedmaster presses, which it called “the most intelligent and most automated” to date. The new Speedmaster generation comprises all of Heidelberg’s “machines for peak performance”, such as the XL 75 and the XL 106.

All of the new models, in small, medium and large formats, will be equipped as standard with the new Push to Stop functionalities and host of new features including digitally controlled dampening, wash-up reduction, zero defect print, and specific functionality for packaging, commercial, and security printing. The new Speedmasters, Heidelberg said, can produce up to 90 million sheets a year.

Heidelberg has since pulled out of Drupa 2021, and instead will hold a series of virtual and face-to-face event. The first in the series to kick-off will be at the “Innovation Week” from 19 to 23 October 2020, under the slogan “Unfold your potential”.

Drupa delayed, but HP will march on
Drupa has been postponed to April 2021, but on 9 March 2020 HP unveiled its plan for the show at a pre-Drupa webcast, which replaced a media briefing in Israel that was curtailed by the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Key presses showcased were the new B2-format HP Indigo 100K digital press for commercial print – the first press in the new series 5 platform, which HP said, can print at 6,000 sheets per hour.

The other was the HP Indigo V12, a narrow-web digital press for label production designed with next-generation HP Indigo LEPX architecture. First in the series 6 platform, the HP Indigo V12 offers up to 12 colours on press, a speed of up to 120-meters/minute (400 f/pm). A new, automated colour-matching technology, Spot Master, provides the industry’s fastest time-to-colour, claimed HP.

There are eight additional new presses: the B2 HP Indigo 15K, SRA3+ HP Indigo 7K and HP Indigo 7eco for commercial printing, the HP Indigo 6K, HP Indigo 8K, HP Indigo 25K for labels and packaging, and the HP Indigo 35K and B1 HP Indigo 90K for folding carton and specialty applications.

Koenig & Bauer Live: Print also functions online
Under the banner - Koenig & Bauer Live - the press manufacturer presented product innovations, digital applications and new service solutions for the print industry through a series of online events between 16 and 25 June 2020.

The highlight was the medium-format Rapida 106, with production speeds of up to 20,000 sheets per hour in perfecting, flying job changes and highly automated plate logistics.

In finishing, Koenig & Bauer introduced its new CutProfamily of die-cutters, and gave new enhancements to the Delta SPC 130 and CorruJet 170 machines. A development also came in the form of a new VariJet 106 press, which integrates inkjet technology into the sheetfed offset platform of the Rapida 106.

Konica Minolta unveiled the AccurioJet KM-1e B2+ LED UV inkjet press
The company launched the AccurioJet KM-1e digital colour B2+ sheetfed LED UV inkjet production press.

The press inherits from its predecessor the AccurioJet KM-1 and is capable of prints at a resolution of 1,200x1,200dpi at 3,000 B2+ size shp, with automatic duplex printing at 1,5000-sheets/hr.

Thanks to the UV inkjet technology, the KM-1e allows printing without pre-coating on a wide range of media including plastic substrates, foiled and embossed paper, metallic media and synthetic substrates. It will accept paper stocks in a thickness range between 0.06mm and 0.6mm.

The press has not yet been launched in India, but is expected soon.

RMGT introduces a new 970 press
RMGT has expanded its product range with the launch of its new model, RMGT 970. With RMGT’s lean manufacturing strategy, the company has studied the user needs to maximise profits by reducing production costs and increasing efficiencies.

Incorporating the technology from their most popular 920/940 series and flagship 10 series presses, RMGT 970 aims to offer versatility, durability and innovation.

With the maximum printing area of 640x930mm, reduced cost in terms of plate, power consumption and space and varied performance enhancing features such as benderless plate clamp, feeder/delivery touch panel and other automated functionalities.

Amid pandemic, Sakurai conducts annual open house
Japanese printing press manufacturer Sakurai Graphic Systems used the 10th edition of its annual four-day Open House event at its Gifu factory in Japan, to showcase what it would otherwise have shown at Drupa.

Sakurai launched a two-colour screen printing press – DMS-80SD-EXT – equipped with an inkjet unit that can perform complex processing of thermal transfer sheet in one pass, denoting the show’s theme – Fusion of Analog (Silk Screen) and Digital (Inkjet) Technologies.

In the upgraded product category, Sakurai introduced MSDR-30 with UV and hot foil, which was equipped with a compact hot air dryer developed exclusively for cylinder type, roll-to-roll screen printing press.

In addition, it also showcased a flatbed, fully-automatic screen printing press MF-80VII, stop-cylinder type fully-automatic screen printing press MS-102SD, Sakurai Image Setter SIS-1800, a two-colour double-sided offset printing press OL-266SIP, and a rotary composite processing machine OL-266RCS.

Xeikon unveils two new digital presses based on new dry toner technologies
Belgium-based Xeikon unveiled the new presses during a webcast on 30 March 2020, which originally planned as a pre-Drupa 2020 event.

The SX30000 press is based on a new generation dry toner technology, which Xeikon has called its Sirius technology while the CX300 uses the next generation Cheetah 2.0 technology.

The Xeikon SX30000 press powered by the new Sirius technology, Xeikon said, is capable of running a printing width of 20-inch (or 508 mm) on a broad range of substrates at 98-ft/min (or 30 meters/minute), 404ppm A4) – boasting an average speed increase of more than 50% throughout the range of 40-350 gsm versus the previous platform.

The CX300 can operate at a speed of 30-m/min (98ft/min). The web-width can vary between 220mm (8.6-inch) and 512mm (20.3-inch) wide using a LED imaging head operating at 1,200x3,600 dpi delivering offset/gravure image quality.