Fuji unveils new Jet Press 720 and secures first five European sales

Fujifilm has formally launched the next generation of its B2 sheetfed inkjet press, the Jet Press 720S, which features a number of enhancements over the Mk1 machine including the ability to handle variable data.

While the 720S is still a simplex machine, it features what Fuji describes as “semi-duplexing”, where each sheet is given a unique barcode to ensure it is married to the correct reverse image for double-sided personalisation or versioning.

It also features faster closed-loop image correction with the inline sensor relocated from the delivery unit to the imaging unit. The speeds up the automatic compensation for nozzle drop-outs, dramatically reducing the number of waste sheets.

According to Fuji, overall the new machine boasts significantly improved uptimes, thanks to elements including faster colour correction when changing paper types, down from 20 minutes to three, and an image data transfer rate twice that of the old machine.

Servicing and maintenance has also been improved with design enhancements such as better spacing of the printhead modules, cutting the three-day swap-out time of a module on the Mk1 to a three-hour job on the 720S, and a two-minute fully automated head cleaning programme.

The paper transport, which is still built by Ryobi, features a new chain system that ‘floats’ the sheet on air from the imaging unit to the dryer, which now has a hot air knife as well as IR drying to enable the vast majority of jobs to go immediately into post-press.

Finally, the imaging drum has more segmented vacuum areas to better handle lighter stocks and sheets with heavy image areas.

Despite all of these enhancements though, the new press has the same headline performance as the Mk I machine, such as a top speed of 2,700sph, 1,200dpi resolution and the same Fuji Dimatix Samba printheads with four-level grayscale (2pl, 4pl and 6pl on the 720S) in four-colour bar configuration.

However, Graham Leeson, Fujifilm Europe head of communications, graphic arts, said: “Don’t be misled by the specifications.

“It’s not just about the speed at which you can lay down an image on a sheet, it’s about the whole process and we’ve designed this press so that the overall print process is much more efficient.

“The industry needs uptime and reliability from its digital presses – this is critical, and we’re getting a lot of interest in the 720S due to its ability to be running 24/7.”

He acknowledged that total cost of ownership is also important and the 720S has what Fuji described as a “significantly improved business model” over the Mk1.

While the firm didn’t reveal details of its pricing model, according to Leeson, while the 720S itself is nominally cheaper than the Mk1, he said the real saving was in lower running costs thanks to the introduction of the Vividia water-based pigment inkset optmised for the 720S.

“The old Jet Press had a fairly small sweetspot – some applications were great to run on it – but with the technical improvements, combined with the business improvements, the sweet spot for the 720S is much bigger,” said Leeson.

While Mk1 Jet Presses can also be reconfigured to run the new lower cost inkset, Leeson said that Fuji would instead be recommending customers upgrade to the 720S.

“The reshaped commercial offer is a result of many technical and manufacturing changes in both the press and the consumables (primarily ink).  To get the best results, therefore, both technically and commercially, we are recommending an upgrade to the Mk2 press for Mk1 users,” he said.

The first beta 720Ss were installed in Japan around six months ago and five 720Ss have already been sold in Europe, with two already installed, and another seven installed in Japan and one in the US.

A total of 23 Mk1 Jet Presses were installed worldwide in the three years it was available, three of which were in Europe.

“We believe there are significant opportunities for printers to make money with this press, this [the sales] is a good example of where this press is going, and the opportunity. And if you look at the fact that we have sold five machines in six months [in Europe], then it’s quite exciting.”

A demonstration Jet Press 720S was installed at Fuji’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels last month, and Fuji is hosting a series of open days to show off the new press this week with around 200 visitors expected from across Europe.

Fuji hopes to secure its first UK sale in the coming months.

To coincide with the launch of 720S, and support its ability to handle personalisation, Fuji also unveiled a new version of its XMF Workflow, incorporating Adobe Mercury RIP Architecture, and new version of its XMF Remote web portal system

Arjowiggins launches interactive paper range

The ‘Alive’ range blends the paper manufacturer’s creative papers with PowerCoat, its FSC-certified, biodegradable and 100%-recyclable interactive paper for printed electronics.

The products in the range – Enter Conqueror Alive, Curious Alive, Rive Alive and Pop’Set Alive – are all ready-enabled for interactive print without featuring PET plastics.

By scanning the technology with a near-field communication (NFC) enabled mobile device, a user can be taken to ingredients, instructions in different languages, dedicated websites or online promotions.

The company also said that the technology could be used to produce retail signage. The fine paper stock can effectively communicate branding while the PowerCoat laminate can deter shoplifting, facilitate stock control and deliver information or special offers.

In a statement about the range, Arjowiggins said: “Beautiful and intelligent interactive paper-based products make for engaging packaging, stimulating gifts and cards, informative corporate communications, efficient tracking, intelligent labelling, absorbing advertising and more.

“And with intelligent paper, there are equivalent eureka moments for every industry from food and beverages, to pharmaceuticals, medical and finance and more.

“All told, it is an opportunity for R&D, design and marketing to flex their collective creative muscle and make their clients and brands stand out from the crowd as never before.”


Landa “close” to perfecting nano tech

Landa Digital Printing founder Benny Landa has described the company as “very close” to perfecting its Nanography printing process, although beta testing has been pushed back again.

The Israel-headquartered company has just released a video showing the first S10 B1 format beta press printing , along with footage from the 800sqm beta press assembly area at its headquarters in Israel.

This area can be expanded to 1,600sqm giving the company the potential to assemble six beta presses at a time.

In an accompanying blog post, Landa said the firm was poised to show B1 print samples to potential customers, described as “beta candidates”, and will hold a customer event in Israel in March 2015.

After Landa went back to the drawing board with the press design after Drupa 2012, the original plans to ship presses by the end of 2013 were put back.

The redesigned Nanography presses now feature a transport system from strategic partner Komori, with coating unit, AVT inspection technology and an EFI front-end.

The redesigned ‘press cockpit’ still has large touchscreens.

In June the firm gained a €100m (£80m) investment from chemical specialist Altana, which was earmarked for completing the development of the Nanography process, and the engineering and production ramp-up.

At the time the first beta presses were slated for installation in the first half of 2015. This week Landa said that would now be the second half.

He admitted that eliminating the defects in print quality had been more time-consuming and challenging than initially envisaged.

“Consequently, it all took a lot more time – and money – than we had expected. Naturally, during these past many months, our focus has been internal – doing, not showing,” he said in his blog post, and added: “2015 will be challenging. There is still so much to do. We plan to be in full beta in the second half of the year. We are blessed with the most amazing team of talented, dedicated people committed to making it happen… so it will happen.”

He also revealed that the investment involved in bringing the technology to market will be in excess of $250m (£160m) by Drupa 2016.

The identity of the potential beta sites has not been confirmed, but the UK’s Reflex Labels and Germany-headquartered Cewe are among the customers to have already visited the Landa facilities in Israel to see the progress that has been made for themselves.

The firm had more than 430 letters of intent from customers keen to purchase its presses after Drupa 2012.

Landa’s Nanography process holds out the promise of low-cost, high-quality inkjet printing onto standard paper stocks.

The range of models envisaged includes B3, B2 and B1 sheetfed presses and two web presses, although the firm has chosen to focus on the B1 device as this was the most popular with potential customers.


Seattle Times Accidentally Prints 20,000 Papers With A “2012 Wrap Up”

The life of a newsroom copy editor can be difficult, having to comb through thousands of words for errant typos or dangling modifiers. But sometimes the mistakes are staring at you in BIG RED FONT ON PAGE ONE.

On Friday night, the Seattle Times printed 20,000 copies of a “bulldog” – or early edition – of its Saturday paper, featuring the headline “2012 Wrap Up.”

Pressroom employee J. Michael Klop told the media blog JimRomenesko.com that printing press workers noticed the headline early on and alerted the editorial team, correctly believing it to be a mistake and not a nostalgic look back on the year Barack Obama was re-elected and London hosted the Olympics.

“There was nobody there who was willing to make a decision to stop the run and remake the page,” Klop said. “Finally, after finishing the run, there was a call back from downtown saying to wait for a new set of plates… as they were going to toss the entire 20,000 and rerun the full draw.”

The paper’s editor, Kathy Best, told the blog that the “crazy holiday weekend schedule” was to blame for the “glaring error.”

“Because the press run only lasts about 30 minutes, we didn’t send a corrected page in time to catch the run,” Best said. “Not a great day, including missing a chance to say stop the presses.”


Winston-Salem printing company to open new facility in Kernersville

Winston-Salem-based Salem Printing, a fast- growing company that employs about 140, is planning to open a new 56,000-square-foot facility at the South Park Business Center in Kernersville early next year.

The new Kernersville space is part of a long-term goal by Salem Printing to double revenue to $60 million within five to seven years and grow its national client base that already includes bigger brands such as Nike, BB&T, and Fruit of the Loom. The Kernersville facility also will help Salem Printing further expand and capitalize on the capabilities it gained through its 2012 acquisition of Greensboro-based direct-mail company Advanced Direct Inc.

“This really is a statement about the success of the coming together of the companies two-and-a-half years ago,” said Salem Printing President Phil Kelley. “It’s a statement that we are now one organization. We are integrated fully.”

Salem Printing plans to open the Distribution Court building as part of a long-term lease that begins March 1 with The Pope Cos. Salem Printing will join other major tenants within the center including ITW Texwipe and Michael’s.

As part of the plans for the new facility, Salem Printing plans to close an existing 23,000-square-foot Advanced Direct location at 4221 Tudor Lane in Greensboro and transfer 40 employees there to the Kernersville location.

The company expects to be fully operational in the new building by April. It will house the company’s direct digital printing and mail production activities within about 19,000 square feet while 9,000 square feet will be dedicated to office and meeting space. About half of the building will be used for warehouse and distribution.

Meanwhile, 10 employees and most of Salem Printing’s commercial finishing activities will move from the company’s 45,000-square-foot Winston-Salem facility at 5670 Shattalon Drive, where 90 employees will remain stationed along with the company’s robust packaging division.

Kelley said expanding into the Kernersville location made sense due to several factors including the building’s proximity to the FedEx Ground facility, and other logistical advantages such as the facility’s locale less than one mile from Business 40 and I-40.

The building also is located 12 miles from the company’s Winston-Salem facility, which is a plus for Salem’s internal logistics needs, Kelley said. The company is planning about $900,000 in upfits to the Kernersville building and will continue to invest in its Winton-Salem facility, where the company recently acquired a $2.5 million, 40-inch press.

Plans for the Kernersville facility reflect a push by Salem Printing to grow from a small, locally owned company that was once primarily focused on local clients into a business that today can handle the full spectrum of needs for both medium and large companies.