Bell & Bain investigates inkjet options

Jo Francis
Friday, March 24, 2023

Bell & Bain is scoping out the potential for reel-fed colour inkjet as part of its future investment options.

Docherty and Baillie by a RotaJet unit. Image Chris Scully
Docherty and Baillie by a RotaJet unit. Image Chris Scully

The Glasgow book and journal printer’s chairman Stephen Docherty and managing director Karen Baillie visited the recent Hunkeler Innovation Days event in Switzerland to look at the latest technology being showcased there, and have also travelled to Koenig & Bauer’s digital and web press facility in Würzburg, Germany, to see its RotaJet inkjet web press. 

Bell & Bain is a longstanding Koenig & Bauer customer and recent major investments include two Rapida 145 large-format presses. 

Docherty told Printweek: “We are gathering as much information on new technology as possible. We will assess and then make a move. 

“Digital has not moved as I thought it would in 20 years and I do not see any printer making cash going down the digital route. That said we make work in here and to be fair we both are very impressed with the RotaJet. This would give us the opportunity to do mass market paperbacks and colour books as well… Watch this space.”

Koenig & Bauer showed the original RotaJet 76 inkjet web back at Drupa 2012. 

Since then the device has evolved into a family of products: the RotaJet L for commercial and publishing applications, and the RotaJet L and VL series for industrial applications such as décor and packaging.

The web width for the RotaJet L comes in seven options ranging from 777mm to 1,380mm. It has a top print speed of 135m/min or 270m/min depending on the printhead configuration. Resolution is 1,200dpi and its uses water-based polymer pigment inks.

The VL web width is from 1,680mm to 2,250mm.

K&B has around half a dozen known installations in the décor market, while Tetra Pak has been named as a customer for the packaging version.

Posting on LinkedIn, K&B UK managing director Chris Scully captioned an image of Docherty and Baillie by a huge RotaJet printing unit with “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Bell & Bain acquired fellow Glasgow printer J Thomson Colour Printers in the summer of 2019, creating a £30m-plus turnover group.


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