“We noticed that there are a lot of high-volume [corrugated] producers that don’t have inplant corrugation and use blank corrugated sheets, and we designed this machine to go after those applications,” said Scott Schinlever, senior vice-president and general manager, EFI Inkjet.
The Nozomi uses EFI’s cool-cure LED technology and takes its name from the Japanese bullet train.
The highly automated line is capable of 75 linear m/min, equating to 8,100sqm/hr. It can run 14pt board (around 0.4mm) up to the full range of corrugated flutes, including triple wall.
It uses an inline primer unit and is available in up to seven colours, including white, has a 1.8x3m bed and a maximum resolution of 360x720dpi.
The Nozomi uses a Seiko printhead with four-level greyscale and full recirculation, running specially developed EFI inks.
“One of the areas where we think we’re going to be unique in this market is the colour ‘pop’ of the LED-cured ink,” said Schinlever.
The Nozomi also features dynamic inline quality control with automatic ejection and has the option of top or bottom feeder.
“The sweet spot for this product, given that it goes so fast, it will be not only short runs but also full inline production.”
“We view this as a complete replacement for analogue [flexo and litho].”
The machine has been in development for around 18 months and betas are set to go in later this year. Commercial shipping will begin in early 2017.
While the first machine is targeted squarely at corrugated, Schinlever said that EFI is already planning POS display version with the same specifications, but a new ink set. It hopes to launch the POS variant towards the middle of 2017.
EFI (9-A40) is showing the 37m-long, 8m-wide machine at Drupa, but due to noise and power constraints it will not be running live. Instead EFI will be showing print samples and video footage of the machine running at its Cretaprint facility in Spain, where it will be manufactured.
“The main reason we’re not running it at Drupa is that to get the air and power requirements and then meet the noise requirements of a trade show, compared with the factory, it was going to be so expensive that we decided we would rather spend our money on engineers and support staff – things that mean more to our customers,” said Schinlever.
“It also runs so fast that feeding it with substrate and then removing it, while the show was going on was going to be a nightmare.”
The highly automated Nozomi is an entirely new machine and was a collaborative project between a number of EFI businesses, including Jetrion, Cretaprint, Vutek and Fiery, as well as its ink development and cloud computing divisions.
“Single-pass is really the holy grail of inkjet and what everyone has been driving towards, it’s been a combination of not just technical challenges to get there, but also economic – building a machine that users can get a strong ROI from, and that’s what we really focused on with this product,” said Schinlever.
Pricing has yet to be finalised, but according to Schinlever the press is expected to cost less than $3m.
“A lot of others are targeting the $5m-$7m (£3.5m-£5m) range, but we wanted to make it more broadly acceptable. We’re doing a lot with the ink pricing as well, to make it attractive.”