Inventory of the hottest digital printing developm

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Digital Printing Development Inventory

all along, digital printing seems to carry people's dreams about the future development of printing technology. It's not easy to stumble along the way, but the pace of digital printing development has never stopped. Since indigo launched the world's first real digital printing machine at the IPEX exhibition in 1993, digital printing technology has made great progress in hardware, software and materials. As a wind vane for the development of printing technology, drupa exhibition takes inkjet printing as its theme this year, and the surge of digital printing development can be seen. The author will try to present the latest development picture of digital printing technology by introducing the development of various aspects of digital printing technology in the past year


on drupa2008, 64 exhibitors exhibited digital printing machines. It can be seen that the number of digital printing equipment merchants is huge. With the fierce market competition among manufacturers, digital printing equipment has developed rapidly. Throughout the main products of major manufacturers, digital printing equipment shows the characteristics of continuous improvement of printing speed and printing quality approaching or even surpassing offset printing

speed is always one of the focuses of attention. Compared with the traditional offset printing, if the digital printing equipment wants to print the image accuracy close to that of offset printing, its speed will be much lower than that of offset printing. For digital printing equipment manufacturers, it is the only way to challenge offset printing with digital printing and improve the speed of high-precision color printing of digital printing system. Digital printing improves the printing speed on the premise of ensuring the printing quality. At present, there are two significant development directions, namely, the improvement of the printing engine and the increase of the printing format

1. Engine improvement

Kodak's stream concept machine gives us infinite imagination about high-speed digital printing system. This concept can print the printing quality of Kodak digital color printer in the 44cm wide rotary system, but the speed is greatly improved, up to 2500 pages/minute, and the applicable media range is broader. The image quality analysis report completed by spencerlab, an independent digital imaging testing company, pointed out that Kodak stream concept printing machine can achieve the offset printing quality equivalent to 175 lines/inch, and the color gamut of stream concept sample is 35% larger than that of 175 lines/inch offset printing sample, and the black density is 29% higher than that of offset printing sample. This continuous inkjet printer that Kodak has been developing for 4 years has a great momentum to replace offset printing. Traditional offset printing equipment manufacturers may have smelled the smell of competition

in order to pursue the improvement of printing speed, digital printing equipment manufacturers have improved their printing engines and upgraded their original products. Taking HP as an example, the company will launch a new indigo 7000 printer with a maximum speed of 240 Pages/minute. Its 812 point/inch, 8 bit/pixel recording head can process 775m pixels per second. The igen4 newly launched by Xerox is also known as the single sheet digital printer with the highest production efficiency and the best printing quality in the printing industry. Compared with the previous generation product iGen3, the production capacity is increased by 25% ~ 35%, and it can produce offset and photo quality images and continuous colors. Its running speed reaches 110 pages/min

in addition, Xerox concept color 220, a concept machine introduced by Xerox, integrates two digital printers to achieve an output speed twice that of iGen3 digital printer. At present, the main high-speed Web digital printers in the market include HP indigo 7000, HP indigo w7200, nExpress s3600, OCE jetstream2200, xeikon8000, infoprint5000, Versamark vl2000, etc. The speed and accuracy data of the above equipment are shown in Table 1

2. Wide digital printer

when it comes to wide digital printer, we have to mention inkjet web press. This web printer with a printing width of 762mm is specially designed for newspapers, books and direct mail market, and the maximum printing speed can reach 2600 pages/minute. According to HP's official announcement, the color printing cost of this machine for printing 30% full page A4 paper is only US $0.01, and the black-and-white printing cost is only US $0.0015. If this machine can be launched as scheduled next year, it will become the fastest and lowest cost digital printing machine

although the application of inkjet technology has been quite mature in the field of large format and super large format inkjet printing, in the field of wide format digital printing, the progress of inkjet printing technology has shown a strong momentum of development in recent years. Thanks to the progress of nozzle technology, more and more manufacturers are able to manufacture nozzle arrays with the same width as the printing machine, so that the entire width can be covered by one inkjet without making the paper pass through the nozzle many times, which greatly improves the speed of inkjet printing. At present, the representative products of wide width digital printers include jet press 720 of Fujifilm company, qpress of Jadason company, truepress jet SX of screen company, etc

truepress jet SX is the world's first inkjet printer with cutting function. The target market is the B2 format market. The inkjet technology can be used to achieve the production speed of the offset press, that is, 1600 sheets per hour. Jet press 720 is developed by dimatix, a subsidiary of Fujifilm. It uses a full width (720mm) print head. This print head is composed of a high-density and long-life MEMS piezoelectric print element array. There are four different sizes of ink droplets in the inkjet process. Therefore, four different print densities can be achieved in one paper feeding process. Qpress is a surprise brought to us by Jadason company, an equipment supplier from Hong Kong. It is the first B2 format toner production digital printer in the world. Its maximum speed and maximum resolution are 100a4 pages/minute and 1200dpi respectively. The main parameters of the three digital printing equipment are shown in Table 2

it can also be seen from the basic parameters of the above three products that at present, the format of the wide sheet fed digital printing machine is mainly big four open, and has high printing speed and precision. Wide width is also conducive to compatibility with traditional post press equipment, retaining the original equipment investment results and reducing investment costs

A few years ago, some experts pointed out that, for example, with the progress of high-speed inkjet system, speed and printing quality are no longer the bottleneck restricting the development of digital printing, but whether the typesetting software, digital workflow software and digital content production software supporting high-speed digital printing system can meet the needs of the rapidly developing digital printing market will become the difficulty of future development

1. Digital printing workflow

when printing services such as ordinary printing and variable data printing, black-and-white printing and color printing, single page printing and on-demand publishing coexist, the complexity of the workflow increases exponentially. If the printing process cannot be guaranteed to run smoothly, the advantages of digital printing will be greatly reduced. However, the major digital printing equipment manufacturers did not neglect the development of supporting process software while sparing no effort to develop advanced hardware equipment. For example, HP smartstream digital printing process management system launched by HP, freeflow of Fuji Xerox, Prisma of OSI, etc

the production process of roll over Gutenberg, which was just displayed on drupa2008, shows that digital workflow is equally important for digital printing. Under the management of Oce prismaprepare process, two OCE varioprint 6250 (black and white) and OCE cs650 pro (color) digital printers closely cooperated with the front-end and back-end processes to complete the whole production process of roll over Gutenberg. The whole workflow is managed by OCE prismaprepare, which separates the black-and-white and color parts of the document and ensures that the data of each page is correctly sent to 2 sets of black-and-white or color digital printing equipment

prisma is mainly aimed at the workflow of digital printing, while freeflow goes further and is committed to the integration of digital printing and traditional printing digital workflow. The latest version of freeflow realizes the sharing and interaction with the two process operation information of yinnengjie and Fuji XMF, and can send the printed parts from the digital printing system to the CTP equipment or from the offset printing system to the digital printing system. The success of freeflow may make us believe that the digital printing workflow is beginning to take over the future hybrid printing process

2. Network printing platform

although network printing can bring more convenient communication channels, lower costs and faster services, how to smoothly convert customers' orders into final products is a problem that manufacturers engaged in network printing services must face. Although there are many online order receiving services, there are few products that truly integrate the online printing platform into the digital printing workflow. Fortunately, the development of the web printing integrated flat testing machine, which is used to measure the mechanical properties, safety performance and comfort performance of materials and parts, has been able to connect the processes of Web order placing, creation, on-demand printing, binding, logistics and distribution, so as to meet the fast, personalized and convenient service requirements of web printing

in terms of products, Kodak's network printing integrated process solution is a good example. Insite software in its product suite can realize the e-commerce function of going to stores, and cooperate with eyemedia to realize personalized page paging and templating software and primergy process system to realize the automatic management process of digital printing. Similar representative products include the network-based Delano management platform of AGFA and the web to print solution of printable technology

3. Variable data typesetting software

although most digital printing equipment will provide a certain random variable data printing function, if the variable data typesetting is completed at the time of printing, it is very disadvantageous to the management of the digital printing process, and its WYSIWYG disadvantage also increases the potential error probability. Therefore, it is very necessary to introduce variable data typesetting in the content production stage, which leads to the emergence of variable data typesetting software

as more and more banks outsource the bill printing business to digital printing service providers, variable data printing has become a new strong growth point in the digital printing market, which has also promoted the rapid development of variable data typesetting software. In the original field of commercial direct mail, the data that the variable data typesetting software needs to process is relatively fixed, and the implementation is relatively simple. For example, the entry-level variable data typesetting software printshop mail can easily complete the typesetting and printing of products such as personalized business cards, e-mails, direct mail advertisements, etc. Similar software includes personaleffect of xmpie company, Darwin VI authoring tool of pods company and variable data typesetting software of huobo technology

compared with the typesetting requirements of commercial direct mail products, the typesetting of bills is much more difficult, which is mainly reflected in the increase of variable data volume and variable data fields. This also puts forward new requirements for variable data typesetting software. However, at present, many companies in the market have launched corresponding products, such as the printnet designer variable data typesetting software recently released by GMC and the new Wenrui business letter version launched by founder electronics, which can meet the complex typesetting requirements of products such as credit card bills


the improvement of digital printing equipment in printing quality, speed and substrate range is inseparable from digital printing

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