Ricoh customer: new VC60000 will switch work from offset to inkjet

Jo Francis
Friday, November 7, 2014

The first purchaser of Ricoh’s new Pro VC60000 colour inkjet web has said the press has changed his mind over the potential shift from offset to inkjet.

Hansaprint, a large web, sheetfed and digital print group based in Finland, has ordered two VC60000 systems.

Director Jukka Saariluoma said: “We have demand from customers for higher quality. Until today inkjet had not been known for that.”

He said the VC60000 had changed his perceptions of what was possible with inkjet technology. “Until now, I hadn’t believed there would be a major shift from offset to inkjet. With the VC60000, I have changed my mind. There will be.”

The Pro VC60000 was announced in September. It uses Ricoh inkjet heads and inks, has a web width of 165-520mm and runs at up to 120m/min. A system costs around £1.5m.

It shares the same platform as the Screen Truepress Jet520HD, but Ricoh said there was less Screen technology on the VC60000 than on the earlier InfoPrint 5000 range.

Depending on the customer application, it can be configured with an optional undercoat unit and post-print protector coat station. It can print onto glossy coated stocks up to 250gsm.

Ricoh showed four-colour halftone and tint samples printed on 130gsm Stora Enso LumiArt at its Telford Customer Experience Centre launch earlier this week.

Clive Watts, Ricoh continuous feed marketing and business operations manager, said the Pro VC60000 had been “designed from the ground up to deal with the quality requirements of commercial print.”

Benoit Chatelard, Ricoh Europe general manager of production printing solutions, said: “The Pro VC60000 is based on 30 years’ experience in heads and inkjet development, combined with workflow, finishing and other attributes. We believe this will be a game-changer.”

He described Ricoh’s 1,200x1,200dpi multi-drop inkjet technology as “very unique”.

“We are breaking into a new market with this product,” Chatelard added.

Hansaprint’s systems will be installed in December and January. The firm had not previously been a user of Ricoh’s continuous-feed or cut-sheet digital kit.

Saariluoma said book and direct mail work would shift from toner and offset to inkjet, but that there would be bigger knock-on benefits.

“In the long run, the best benefits will be our ability to print products that we don’t do today,” he said.

Although Hansaprint was the first to order the kit, Netherlands-based Zalsman installed one of the presses last month.

The firm is a large commercial litho and digital printer, running seven offset presses from Heidelberg and Komori, a Kodak NexPress SX3900 and a Ricoh Digimaster.

At the customer event, Peter Williams, Ricoh Europe executive vice-president and head of the production printing group, was asked whether the new inkjet kit would be included in Ricoh’s partnership with Heidelberg.

He said: “Heidelberg is a fabulous partner for cut-sheet, but they already have a third-party partnership for inkjet. I can tell you there are many Heidelberg customers interested in the VC60000.

“It is easier to print inkjet and we think the enhanced quality will be a differentiator. This is the right entrance point, as opposed to B2 inkjet,” Williams added.

He said it would be “reasonable” for Ricoh to be considering some form of sheetfed inkjet device of its own, but said there were numerous challenges. “The total cost of ownership and engineering challenges are substantially different. There’s a prohibitive cost at the moment. We believe the cost, quality and performance is optimised in the current [continuous feed] format.”

 

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