Home:: Full Color Inkjet Addressing From Konica-Minolta's New Printheads

Full Color Inkjet Addressing From Konica-Minolta's New Printheads

The idea of color inkjet addressing is something that was kept alive in the mail industry by several needs. First of all, we needed a way to print full color, variable data on uneven or processed stock (for example, booklets, stuffed envelopes, and coated paper). Second of all, we needed something to keep up with the rest of production equipment... something to fit inline with the mail equipment already being used. And thirdly, we needed a way to do this on short runs, without spending an incredible fortune on setup. To some, these might sound like impossible dreams, but we've been hoping someone would step up to bat.

Until now, most inline color printing was accomplished through laser printers or digital presses. While these work, they don't come close to accomplishing what a full color inkjet addressing system could do. Users were limited to certain stocks, ink types, and even inline configurations. But Konica-Minolta changed that when they developed their new versatile printheads. They stepped to bat, and hit a solid grand slam!

The Colourprint 144 can fit inline with other mail equipment, will print on many different stocks (including uneven pieces), keeps up with other mailing equipment, and is affordable to buy, maintain, and run.

Versatility - This color inkjet addressing system comes with variable-image software suitable for most existing systems. You can produce images, barcodes, addresses, or numbers on the fly using your current database. Customized versions of the software are available for fixed image printing or monochrome printing. You have control over everything from droplet size to grayscale settings and even print resolution. Dual head units can provide wide format printing (up to 288 mm wide).

Usability - The ink bottles are stored separately and the ink is pumped to the printheads, so you can replenish the ink without stopping production. The printhead unit itself slides out, so it can be quickly cleaned or maintained without pulling apart the production line.

Speed - Because of the versatile nature of this inkjet addressing system, the speeds can be maximized or minimized according to the print type and quality. For 360x720 dpi full color, it will print up to 27 meters per minute (89 fpm). For grayscale printing (higher quality) at 360x360 dpi, it will print at 18 meters per minute (66 fpm). Monochrome prints at 360 dpi will fly through at 120 meters per minute (393 fpm).

Cost - We tested the system on a full color run using UV ink. The graphics we printed were in a 3x5 inch box, and the total cost came to about 8 cents per thousand pieces. This is outstanding for short-run jobs on pieces with uneven stock... almost as cheap as monochrome! The cost for the equipment itself begins around $100K.

Overall, the Konica-Minolta color inkjet addressing system gets a solid two thumbs up. It's the answer to what the mail industry has needed for a long time, and we're glad to see it finally happening. Since they did so well stepping up to bat this time, we asked Konica-Minolta to further their development, and come up with a way to predict and print baseball scores. While we're waiting for that, we'll take the Colourprint 144 and be happy with it for now.

Rick Krieger is the owner of Addresser Based Systems, where they keep their customers on the cutting edge of inkjet addressing systems. For more information, visit them online at http://addresserbasedsystems.com/inkjet-addressing.

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