Nano inks and hybrid presses at drupa 2012 versus ´real´ digital presses at drupa 2016

Landa S10 Nanographic B1The sensation at drupa 2012 was the introduction of Landa´s nano ink digital presses. A smooth show and the amouncement of cooperation with just about every offset press manufacturer sent shockwaves through our industry. Visitors queued to see Landa´s show. Especially the supersize touch screen with which the presses were manipulated drew attention. The prints were not available for everyone however and the cost was kept a secret. Landa will need to make good their promises at drupa 2016 and we are looking forward to seeing beta tests under normal circumstances.

The first real digital presses
Primefire 106Without a doubt Heidelberg´s Primefire 106 digital press will get as much attention as Landa. Also KBA and Komori will show their first large format digital sheet press. We think there will be more prototypes. With inkjet heads from manufacturers such as Kodak, Fuji, Konica Minolta and Xaar it is relatively simple for any press builder to build a digital press. What is more difficult is motivating printers to invest in this new technology. They are interested in the value add and they are right. If the value add is clear, such as with digital small format label presses and direct mailing streets the decision of invest is easy. This is different for the real digital large format presses. Not only is the cost per print still unknown, also the dependability and usefulness needs to be proven. Drupa 2016 will answer a lot of these questions, but equally will provoke more questions.

Small but good
Screen Truepress Jet l350UVAlthough large format sheet presses are getting a lot of attention, drupa 2012´s trend of small format presses for vertical market is at least as important. Screen proves that with their growing number of installations of the Truepress Jet 350UV in the label market this is where the growth is. Also Xerox with their daughter company Impika produced Rialta small format press will definitely score in the direct marketing and flyer market. For the real large format digital inkjet presses the old and trusted toner solutions by Xeikon, Xerox, Ricoh, Konika Minolta and HP Indigo remain important. Not only for their lower investment cost and smaller footprint. They also represent the trend towards decentralised production. A trend which lowers distribution costs, and makes variable data and an efficient production of small quantities possible. And, more importantly, for printers already using traditional print technology this is an ideal complement to their possibilities.

Hybrid presses win
Gallus LabelfireThe combination of print technology in a hybrid press is a trend which started at drupa 2012. The combination of inkjet for variable data and offset and/or flexo for fixed elements brings together the best of both worlds. In growth markets such as packaging and labelling this offers the chance to acquire enough orders to effectively feed these print monsters. Combined with different types of coating, foil and inline finishing such as cutting these hybrid presses can offer added value. Good examples of hybrid presses will be shown at the stands of Screen, HP, Heidelberg/Gallus, KBA, MPS, Domino and most likely others. It looks like hybrid presses will be the future of the print industry.

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Rob van den Braak

Printer’s devil (1964), phototypesetter, offsetprinter, teacher of graphic techniques, salesmanager, productmanager, trade journalist, founder of BlokBoek e-zine (2011). But above all husband, father, friend and lover of life in southern Spain (since 2010).

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