Home:: Xaar printheads take the lead in inkjet label printing

Xaar printheads take the lead in inkjet label printing

A common theme throughout the recently concluded Labelexpo Americas 2010 was the continuing implementation of digital printing - and more specifically, inkjet printing - as the fastest-growing segment of the label industry. As speed and print quality continues to improve, supported by shorter runs requested by brand owners, more and more print providers seek out digital solutions. Many digital printers were on display and, once again, many of the inkjet printers were using Xaar printheads. They included:

• Atlantic Zeiser's Gamma 70 Print Engine was imaging CMYK(+W) designs directly onto labels, industrial products and packaging. The Gamma module is typically used for marking, serialisation, customisation, decoration and personalisation within existing production lines. Xaar 1001 printheads provide high image quality with up to eight levels of greyscale.

• Dice Graphic Technologies (a subsidiary of Prototype & Production Systems, Inc.) displayed a system that allows printers to convert their existing flexo presses into full-colour digital web presses. The company offers customised digital printing systems, based on its GT-3000 and GT-4800 Digital Inkjet Color Engine (DICE). The print engine uses an array of up to 8 Xaar 1001 printheads per colour to print CMYK+2 on narrow web flexo presses 2.7 to 22.2 inches wide.

• EFI Jetrion had more Xaar printheads on display than anyone else at Labelexpo, with an emphasis on highlighting its wide variety of ink and application offerings. EFI Jetrion's four Xaar-based printers at Labelexpo included: the Jetrion 4830, demonstrating an extremely durable UV ink that has achieved UL recognition without the need for costly priming or over-laminates; the Jetrion 4830 with white to highlight its highly opaque single pass digital white; the new 4830LED with an innovative LED-curable ink set allowing printing on flexible and heat sensitive materials, including shrink sleeves; and a Jetrion 4830 with white that was part of Labelexpo's Technology workshop - a side-by-side comparison of digital and analogue label presses.

• Inx International Ink Co. showed a technology demo of its Evolve NW100 UV digital narrow web printer. Operating with four Xaar 1001 printheads, the short-run CMYK system uses LED curing and produces full colour labels in seconds.

• Nilpeter's Caslon digital module was not shown, but the company's hybrid FA-line, combining inkjet, screen, hot and cold stamp and / or flexo processes was a hot topic among visitors to its stand. Direct comparison prints were available, showing printed inkjet samples - using Xaar 1001 printheads - of the same job that was printed with flexo.

• Squid Ink's VDP In-Line printer is a low-cost add-on module that uses the Xaar 380 coding and marking printhead for printing variable data such as logos, time and date, or sequential numbers on labels. Depending upon ink coverage, it can print single-colour up to 160 feet / minute at 180dpi.

• Stork Prints' modular DSI 4330L digital label printer was not present at Labelexpo Americas, due to its initial focus on the European market, but high-quality samples from the short-run UV inkjet machine were available. Using Xaar 1001 printheads, this hybrid digital press includes optional semi-rotary converting, like die-cutting and flexo varnishing, easy touch-screen operation and productivity of up to 7,500 sq/ft hour, resulting in an excellent TCO per printed label.

Used by most of the inkjet printers at Labelexpo, the Xaar 1001 variable drop (greyscale) printhead is revolutionary in its design, ensuring exceptional reliability and productivity through its XaarDOT (Xaar Drop Optimisation Technology) capability and TF Technology design, reducing the need to purge printheads. XaarDOT allows users to select drop size or resolution depending on the application, image quality and substrate.

In addition, Labelexpo was the official launch of Xaar's 'Industrial Inkjet for Dummies' handbook. Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., as part of the well-known 'Dummies' series, the book provides a straightforward overview of 'industrial strength' inkjet printing for print professionals and non-printers alike.

‘The widespread live demonstrations of Xaar-based inkjet printers at this year's Labelexpo is a strong signal that inkjet can be both complementary and competitive to existing technologies,’ commented Chris Lynn, vice president sales and marketing, Xaar Americas. ‘We saw labels printed on a variety of substrates, for a number of different applications, along with different hybrid / flexo configurations. Digital inkjet is certainly becoming an integral part of the label printing industry.’

Additional information about Xaar is available at: www.xaar.com