Fujifilm said the two firms had been in talks for two years. The Japanese manufacturer described Barcelona-headquartered Barberán as a “world leader” in high-end industrial inkjet presses for the corrugated market with its Jetmaster device.
The new, as yet unnamed, sheetfed inkjet press will be 1.6m-wide and around 30m long. It will print at 6,000sqm/hr, combining Fujifilm’s inkjet integration know-how, including new inks and primer, with Barberán’s press chassis and materials handling expertise.
It will include special feeders and stackers for handling multiple substrate types.
The ink and primer are being developed in the UK at Fujifilm’s Broadstairs facility in Kent.
Fujifilm and Barberán will be competing with large-format litho and EFI’s Nozomi for display in their target market.
David Burton, business and commercial director at Fujifilm WFIJ, said the business was careful in its choice of partners, and family-owned Barberán was no exception.
“We’ve been in close talks with them for more than two years because they have a huge amount of expertise in industrial print manufacturing and we saw an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship.
“They already have a single pass product that is proven in the corrugated sector, and we have the expertise to help them adapt it for the very different requirements of the sign and display market,” he said.
Burton said Fujifilm aimed to capitalise on its established market presence across the graphics sector, spanning commercial print, packaging, and sign and display.
He said that sign and display had “digitised most rapidly” in the past 20 years, and the new project would take that process a step further “supporting digitisation for some of the highest volume sign and display production businesses in the world”.
“We will be able to provide a path to digital transformation for businesses printing such massive volumes that (for now) offset processes often still make more economic sense.”
Fujifilm was still involved with former partner Inca, now owned by Agfa, when Inca was developing its Speedset single-pass inkjet, but Fujifilm has not come to market with a single-pass device of its own until now.
Kevin Jenner European marketing manager at Fujifilm Ink Solutions Group told Printweek: “The history is developing machines from a base of inkjet, and then develop the chassis around it.
“Whereas the route we’re taking is, we’re partnering with a company that is all about heavy engineering with a superb chassis and an absolutely precise stable build, and then into that we’re integrating the inkjet technology. So it’s about getting the inkjet bit right.”
The new device is slated for availability in the latter part of 2023.
Jenner said the initial speed equated to around 50 linear metres per minute, with ambitions for faster speeds in the future.
“This is a real offset replacement – digital, with variable imaging, at the same speed. We already have some pre-signed deals with customers and feel like we’re on to a winner.”
Barberán technical director Eladio Lerga said the Barberán team was also really excited about taking its technology into a new market.
“Fujifilm’s breadth of experience in print for sign and display will be crucial to this – as well as its expertise in inkjet ink chemistry and inkjet systems. Working together we can maintain our print speeds and quality, and adapt our systems to accommodate a much wider range of substrates and to meet the very different market requirements of this sector.”
The pair will target a specific coterie of huge volume display graphic specialists worldwide with the new device.