Memjet partnerships may boost Waterfall

By Simon Nias, Friday 18 May 2012

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Memjet unveiled two partnerships at Drupa this month with the potential to accelerate the mainstream adoption of its high-speed, single-pass inkjet technology.

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The manufacturer’s Waterfall printheads, which are capable of printing 14 A1 pages a minute at 1,600dpi, powered devices from both Canon/Océ and Fuji Xerox at the show.

The Océ machine, codenamed Project Velocity, featured a 1,066mm maximum print width and the six-roll media input technology from the ColorWave 650.

This allows automatic switching between different rolls and media widths, providing a total capacity of 1,200m without interruption, and can handle stocks of 65–175gsm.

The unnamed Fuji Xerox machine featured the same print width as the Océ device and could be seen churning out graphics on a range of coated and uncoated media at 150mm/sec.

A sample booklet revealed that Fuji Xerox has been using the device to print on backlit film, polyester, canvas, mesh and lightstop, in similar stock weights to the Océ machine.

However, one inkjet manufacturer questioned the cost of running the machines, given Fuji Xerox’s estimate of the average life of Memjet’s printheads as 10,000m of print.

A spokesman for Fuji Xerox said that he expected the total cost per page, including spare parts replacement and consumables, to be "very competitive", although no information has been given on pricing for the machine, the printheads or the ink.

Infotrends senior consultant Barney Cox warned that, with so little price information to go on, it was too early to tell how successful the devices would be.

"The interest from visitors in these technology demonstrations shows there is an unmet need for high-speed and low-cost wide-format output," he said.

"That they were both based on Memjet technology shows that it has potential," he added. "[But] to talk about taking it into the mainstream before there are firm details of the upfront and ongoing costs and available products is premature."


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