Konica Minolta has added an inline finishing option to its AccurioJet KM-1 B2 inkjet press as part of a raft of new technology partnerships, and has outlined ambitions to grow the installed base to 50 later this year.
The Japanese manufacturer currently has 30 AccurioJets installed worldwide, with the most recent installation of the UV inkjet press going into production last month at a large Polish printing company. A further sale to a French printer with a specific requirement to print onto plastic is also imminent.
As yet there are no installations of the 3,000sph KM-1 in the UK although Lexon Group installed an Impremia IS29, the Komori equivalent, last year.
Mark Hinder, head of market development at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, said: "We have UK orders in the pipeline, but Brexit has made the UK a challenge. People are taking their time about capex.
"The UK print market has always been innovative, but probably at this time Brexit is holding back decisions."
Hinder said the manufacturer aimed to hit 50 installations "in the next six-to-eight months".
He said that Konica Minolta's patented inkjet droplet control technology, which has now been officially named 'DotFreeze', was opening up a variety of potential applications for the press. "We achieve perfect colour-to-colour registration with DotFreeze, and this allows us to do some quite unique things. We've been doing a lot of work with customers on hybrid printing applications where four-colour litho combined with four-colour KM-1 and it is matching perfectly," Hinder explained.
He said that the KM-1's ability to print onto a wide range of media types, including plastics and textured materials, was proving to be a key strength. Among the existing users the production of high-quality books and book jackets has also taken off.
The new technology partnerships include a tie-up with UK finishing kit manufacturer Rollem for a fully-automated inline finishing setup for the KM-1. Hinder praised the work of Rollem managing director Stuart Murphy and his team for developing a special bridge that gives users a number of workflow options for inline or near-line finishing.
"The inline finishing option is going to be real game-changer. The bridge allows us to still use the bulk stacking equipment on the press and adds the ability to take sheets out and down the bridge and move either left or right at a t-section into two finishing lines."
Hinder likened the KM-1 to a "Swiss Army knife or a Meccano set" because of the wide array of potential uses and configurations.
The Rollem bridge is currently installed at Konica Minolta's Tokyo site for testing, prior to being made available on general release.
Harris & Bruno has also become named as Konica Minolta's preferred supplier for coating and corona treatment. The other new technology partners include Opensoft's Scissor Hands an innovative cloud-based AI (artificial intelligence) system for optimising cutting programmes. Sister company DaVinciDesigner, which allows the appearance of special effects such as embossing and varnishes to be proofed online is also a partner.
In addition UK MIS developer Tharstern; colour management specialist Alwan Color Expertise; Japanese cutting machine maker Itotec; and imposition software supplier Ultimate Technologies are all working with Konica Minolta on the development of the press.