The printhead dominated digital inkjet at the expo with many exhibitors demonstrating the printheads unrivaled reliability.  Around 30 per cent of this year’s show focused on the versatility offered by digital technology, with many Xaar 1001-enabled digital label printers showing off substantial quality, flexibility and performance advantages.  

ALS Engineering, Atlantic Zeiser, Durst, EFI, INX/Spartanics, Nilpeter and Stork Prints demonstrated a range of stand-alone and modular machines offering a choice of four to eight colours plus varnish, variable widths and speeds, as well as in-line finishing options. In addition, Integration Technology used the Xaar 1001 to demonstrate its latest UV LED cure ink techniques for label applications.

There was a real buzz around digital inkjet printers at this year’s show, and it was impressive to see the continuous output from Xaar 1001-enabled printers, said Mark Alexander, Director of Marketing, Xaar. Inkjet technology is now firmly embedded within the label sector. Many companies demonstrated significant printer enhancements, particularly by adding more colour options, more functionality and all-round improved performance. It was also great to see the EFI Jetrion being presented strongly against the toner-based solutions in the Xaar-sponsored Digital Print Workshop.

The piezoelectric, drop-on-demand Xaar 1001 features unique TF Technology™ to deliver unrivalled reliability, an important criterion for printer manufacturers and their customers. The printhead handles a wide range of fluid viscosities easily, including white ink and varnishes, to print directly onto standard and custom label stocks. The range of applications using the printhead at the expo demonstrated its considerable versatility.

ALS Engineering showed the 33cm-width, single-pass, four-colour ecojet digital printer featuring a unique application for pharmaceutical labelling. The printer uses the printheads to produce a perceived resolution of 1000 dpi, while Xaar’s TF Technology™ guarantees reliable and continuous production. Optional widths and additional print stations for white or special colours are available.

Atlantic Zeiser demonstrated its drop-on-demand UV inkjet printing technology in security and commercial label printing with the innovative GAMMA™ 70 P print engine. The company has chosen the 1001 printheads for their reliable performance due to TF Technology™, especially when handling heavily-pigmented UV inks (including white). In addition, high print quality is ensured with the greyscale printhead. The GAMMA delivers exceptional ink adhesion, even on challenging porous and non-porous substrates, including plastics and films, metallic foils, cardboard and paper. The machine also enables users to bring complex production in-house and produce full-colour variable labels. This single-pass UV solution can be integrated in-line with sheet-fed, web or single-product systems. The company plans to introduce wider format 140 and 210 mm machines featuring Xaar printheads in 2012.

Durst showed three Xaar-enabled printers at the show. Two single-pass Tau 150 Digital UV Inkjet Label Presses: one with eight colours (using 32 Xaar printheads) and the other with five colours (using 20 printheads). The Tau 150 guarantees maximum reliability and production efficiency, handling short-run jobs from a few hundred labels up to more than 40 000 labels economically, turning unprofitable short-run jobs on conventional presses into profitable print jobs. The Rotoworx VDP-Module HS, featuring 10 Xaar printheads, was also in action producing variable data in-line on labels printed by the Tau.

EFI launched the Jetrion 4900 at the expo. This CMYK+W UV inkjet digital printing system combines high-quality 229 mm-width digital printing using 15 Xaar printheads with in-line laser finishing. The new system makes short-run digital label jobs even more efficient and profitable by not only eliminating plates and dies, but also the set-up time, substrate waste and inventory requirements associated with the traditional label finishing process. It produces eye-catching, durable labels on an array of substrates. The press is ideal for label converters looking to transfer high-cost, short- and medium-run jobs to digital systems, from print file straight through to finished roll.

INX/Spartanics hosted the European debut of the INX NW140 UV digital narrow web press. This press delivers single-pass colour printing at speeds up to 24.4m/min and uses 14 1001 printheads which are essential to print 140mm wide on any label stock. This is achieved by applying a proprietary pre-coat before printing a white base layer and CMYK, followed by a varnish coat. LED curing lamps are used for ‘pinning’ the pre-coat, white base layer and varnish to hold the inkjet drops in position before a full cure and laser cutting.

Nilpeter demonstrated a complete modular CASLON press that combines conventional printing and converting with high-quality single-pass UV-curable CMYK inkjet printing using 20 1001 printheads (an optional 24-printhead version is also available). The CASLON print system is mounted on a standard Nilpeter FA platform. The system can be configured as a stand-alone digital print engine, or incorporated as a module within a given FA-configuration.

Stork Prints demonstrated the Stork Prints DSI® narrow web UV inkjet printer achieving 1000 dpi resolution. With a productivity of up to 720sqm/hr, the DSI offers fast changeover times and handles all popular paper and film label substrates. This printer features a maximum of 10 printhead arrays, each with five 1001 printheads. The greyscale 1001 inkjet printheads, together with the large colour gamut and high colour strength, result in a unique printing quality for images, fine details, smooth tonal values, 3D effects and small type.