Fujifilm plans to drive the digitisation of corrugated board print market by improving the productivity and cost effectiveness of digital print for higher volume work with new ink and hardware.
Yesterday it unveiled a prototype corrugated board handling kit for the Inca Onset S40i, a productivity enhancement package for the flatbed printer called Accelerator, and Uvijet OC, a new ink for paperboard printing. The new products are the culmination of a two-year project.
"Ever since the Inca Eagle was launched in 2001 printers have realised that digital flatbed UV is suitable for corrugated but initially only for proofing and short runs" said Fujifilm systems marketing manager Tudor Morgan. "Corrugated board is a materials handling challenge and while digital machines print quickly, customers wanted more sheets on the floor."
Fujifilm claimed that these developments would enable digital to produce higher volume Freestanding Display Units (FSDU), transit packaging and smaller format point of sale (POS), currently produced using laminated litho and flexo.
"These markets have not gone digital yet, even though printers realise that it would make the process simpler and therefore more economic," said Morgan. "Our challenge was to understand the barriers."
Uvijet OC inks have been beta tested by a printer that was previously a flexo-only site, which installed an Inca S40i; it is in discussion about a second press. The inks offer a wide colour gamut, flexible ink film to enable cutting, creasing and folding without cracking, and, as they only need to adhere to paper, a simpler and cheaper formulation.
Accelerator is an extension of the S40i enhancements launched at Drupa 2012. It comprises hardware and firmware upgrades that improve productivity by 20% with no change in print quality.
"This is the first time I have seen a significant change in speed with no change in quality," said Morgan.
A prototype handling system with three-quarter automation is operating at Fujifilm’s Broadstairs site, with beta testing commencing in March. It uses a vacuum-to-vacuum arrangement on the loading arm and print bed to eliminate the warp inherent in sheets of cartonboard, which previously caused issues for digital presses due to head clashes. In March it will upgrade the unit in Broadstairs to full automation with a robot arm.
The system will increase productivity at the Onset S40i’s highest throughput 8-pass mode by 66% from 320sqm/hr to 530sqm/hr; the price of the three-quarter version is expected to add 20% to the price of the machine. It will be launched at Fespa in June.