Star product: Fujifilm Jet Press 720

By Jenny Roper, Wednesday 21 March 2012

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A four-colour digital press aimed at short-run markets, with quality to rival litho counterparts

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The Fujifilm Jet Press 720

What does it do?
The Jet Press 720 is a four-colour digital press capable of printing a B2 sheet in a single-pass. It prints at a speed of up to 2,700 B2 sheets per hour at a resolution of 1,200dpi.

When was it launched?
Although the Jet Press 720 first made an appearance at Drupa 2008, this was a technology demonstration rather than a fully fledged launch, explains Fujifilm Graphic Systems UK managing director Keith Dalton. The machine has since undergone significant development, he adds, with the result that it is now commercially available.

What is its USP?
Fujifilm says that this is the first digital press capable of rivalling the quality of litho printing. Because of this, and because it is a B2 machine, the Jet Press will open up new opportunities for printers, as well as being the first digital press that integrates effectively into a conventional litho production line, says Dalton.

He adds: "They understand how a sheetfed press works, so they can ensure very effective back-to-back registration with this press and they can use it seamlessly with their existing finishing equipment."

How does it work?
The high quality of the Jet Press’s output is achieved, says Dalton, with a combination of printhead, ink and coating technology. The coating technology is key, he says: "When the paper comes off the feeder, it goes under an anilox roller, which puts down a very thin layer of coating. The coating is vital because when you put down a water-based ink on normal offset media, it bleeds into the paper, whereas Fujifilm’s coating technology ensures that the ink dots coagulate rapidly and are able to reproduce fine lines and detail."

The speed of the Jet Press is down to the printer’s Samba printhead technology, says Dalton: "Instead of ink nozzles that shuttle back and forth across the media, the Jet Press has a complete array of nozzles across the whole sheet. So rather than performing 16 or 20 passes to build up a wide-format image, the Jet Press 720 performs only one."

What markets is it aimed at?
The Jet Press doesn’t have variable data capabilities and is therefore aimed at high-quality short-run markets, says Dalton. This could include magazines, brochures, fine art publishing, or other markets that Fujifilm hasn’t yet contemplated. "It’s still early days at the moment, but I think this could unlock a whole market that couldn’t afford to do high-quality short runs before," says Dalton.

How easy is it to use?
"Once the press is in, it’s very easy to use," says Dalton. "In all the trials I’ve seen the input needed from the operator is minimal. You’re not going to have to manage colour on press, as it’s all done upfront, so you don’t need print boffins to run this machine."

How much does it cost?
At around €1.5m (£1.2m) the Jet Press 720 doesn’t come cheap, and so is perhaps not a printer with mass appeal, concedes Dalton. But potential purchasers should not simply focus on the upfront capital spend, he argues; they should instead consider the overall cost of running the machine compared with litho printing costs.

"On a sheetfed litho press, you end up with much more start-up wastage," he says. "This means that if you are doing a 50-sheet, very high-quality magazine, book or brochure, you could have 50%, 200% or even 300% paper waste. That’s extremely costly when you factor in the expensive media used for high-quality work. A Jet Press, then, could work out cheaper in the long run."

What are its sales targets?
Fujifilm has declined to comment on predicted sales for the Jet Press, but Dalton says: "Jump ahead five, 10 or 15 years and who knows – Drupas and print shops in years ahead could well look very different to how they look now. This could be the beginning of a new road in professional printing."


SPECIFICATIONS

Speed
2,700 B2 sheets an hour
Resolution 1,200dpi with four variable dot sizes
Substrate compatibility Standard offset coated and specified uncoated papers
Price Around €1.5m (£1.2m)
Contact Fujifilm www.fujifilm.eu/uk 01234 572000

HP Indigo 10000
Unveiled last week, but not commercially available until next year, the 10000 utilises HP’s ElectroInk technology and has full variable data capability. It features seven colours and an Enhanced Productivity mode that boosts its speed to 4,600sph.

Speed 3,450sph
Resolution 2,348dpi
Substrate compatibility 2,500 certified substrates, 65-400gsm
Price $1.5m (£950,000)
Contact HP 0845 605 6013 www.hp.com

Screen Truepress JetSX
The Truepress JetSX is a full-colour press that is capable, says Screen, of handling a wide range of substrates. It is also equipped to print fully variable data.
Speed 1,620 B2 sph
Resolution 1,440dpi
Substrate compatibility Inkjet and standard coated/uncoated offset papers and boards up to 0.6mm
Price €1.5m (£1.2m)
Contact Screen Europe 01908 851277 www.screeneurope.com

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