EFI makes fresh assault on screen printing with Orion

Jo Francis
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

EFI will unveil a new digital press that it believes can replace wide-format screen printing at Drupa (Hall 05, stand C01).

Announcing the Orion, which has been subject to a press embargo until today (3 April) chief executive Guy Gecht stated: "We're going to say goodbye to screen printing in wide-format – this product will expedite the transformation of grand format from analogue to digital."

Orion combines LED and UV digital printing technology, and delivers speed and quality that Gecht described as "fantastic". It can print onto substrates of widely varying thicknesses from very thin to very thick.

There are echoes of Drupa 2008 in the announcement. At the show EFI launched the "screen process killing" Vutek DS8300, but it never came to market. Gecht said the project was canned because of the financial crisis.

"In the bad days of 2009 there were not many customers wanting to pay $1m for that product. We have to make decisions about where we invest, or not."

EFI said the Orion represented a new category of digital printing. The press is described as an industrial printing solution for everything from short-run customised products to high-volume applications.

It features a new imaging technology that delivers a wider colour gamut, combined with higher quality, fewer artefacts and better gloss control. Format and pricing details are yet to be revealed.

EFI has various other enhancements to its print portfolio planned for Drupa. The Jetrion 4900 inkjet label press gains additional laser finishing systems, and can now print onto a wider range of substrates with better image quality.

In ceramic printing the firm intends to "revolutionise" the market through recent acquisition Cretaprint. "We’ve been watching this market for a few years and we’re super-excited about it," Gecht said.

The firm has already announced the new R3225 roll-to-roll inkjet, which will be ready to ship at the show.

In MIS there will be cloud-based versions of the Pace and Printsmith systems, and an expansion of the Digital Storefront web-to-print system.

The Fiery controller also moves into the cloud with the new Fiery Dashboard, a data analysis tool that allows users to monitor their businesses while on the move or away from their desks.

And Fiery is also being integrated with all EFI MIS systems, including Prinance, originally developed for Heidelberg by Alphagraph, which was itself acquired by EFI last year.

Also new at Drupa is the Fiery HyperRIP, which EFI claimed is up to 40% faster than existing products. It includes an enhanced colour profiling system and PPML 3.0 functionality. This makes it possible for variable data content with transparency to be processed at full engine speed for the first time, according to EFI.

Gecht described Drupa as "the Olympic games of printing".  "EFI wants to be the industry’s best athlete," he quipped. "Actually we want to be the industry’s greatest innovator."


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