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No room for mediocrity at Drupa

If there is one thing that is abundantly clear at Drupa 2016 it is that there is not a single millimetre of room for print production solutions that are anything else than perfect. Such is the scrutiny they are placed under and so intense is the competition, then the American saying, ‘go big or go home‘ seems very appropriate.

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Konica Minolta has come in force, with the highlight of its stand being its Accuriojet KM1 inkjet press and its variant the KM-C

Concept devices aside, gone are the days when a piece of print technology could have any theoretical or performance weaknesses. It needs to be aimed at a very specific market segment and needs to cater for the demands of it flexible and with little margin for error. Why? Well, the print industry is now a product of the global economic environment, and printer’s customers have no room for a bodged or late order, and so printers have no tolerance for equipment that will let them down even once.

Enter Konica Minolta, which has really done well at Drupa to draw in the crowds and showcase to them the precision and production capabilities of its KM1 inkjet press, which was developed in cooperation with Komori.

“Drupa is one of the world’s greatest print shows and Konica Minolta is showing that it has the scale and expertise to grace such a formidable stage, ” explains Olaf Lorenz, general manager, international marketing division at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, who adds: “We have one of the largest stands here in Düsseldorf, and with products such as the Accuriojet KM-1 and the technology demonstration of the KM-C, we are proving that Konica Minolta’s stand is truly one that every printer with an eye on the future should have on their schedule. ”

Drupa is one of the world’s greatest print shows and Konica Minolta is showing that it has the scale and expertise to grace such a formidable stage

The KM-1, Konica Minolta's eagerly-awaited B2+ UV inkjet press can be found in the B2 inkjet printing zone, where it is working in combination with MGI’s JETvarnish. The key benefits of this combination being cited include moving short-run offset to digital inkjet, the ability to carry out hybrid printing with the integration of KM-1 into existing offset processes, duplex printing and larger sheet sizes as well as printing on packaging board, lightweight papers, and textured stock.

Konica Minolta has also made a public commitment to make fully-fledged inroads into the label and packaging sectors is also well underway. As such, another key string to its bow at Drupa is to show a combination of its Bizhub PRESS C71cf, GM DC330 Mini finisher and MGI’s JETvarnish can reduce label print run lengths, enabling faster delivery times and opening the doors to value-added on-demand label runs.

Furthermore, for those looking at optimising opportunities in the digitally-printed packaging space, Konica Minolta will stage a technical showcase of a new technology: KM-C. This flat-bed B1 format inkjet digital press has been developed for folding carton and thin corrugated applications for a thickness of 0.3 to 1.2 mm.

Konica Minolta has also used Drupa to announce it is to invest an additional stake in MGI Digital Technology (MGI), the French-based leading decorative printing equipment manufacturer, with which Konica Minolta has had a financial and strategic alliance. The stake investment of a further 30.5 percent of MGI’s shares increases Konica Minolta’s stake in the company to 40.5 percent and adds MGI’s products for commercial print, labels and packaging to Konica Minolta’s existing and growing portfolio.

Lorenz continues: “In line with our management philosophy, ‘The Creation of New Value’, we want to inspire our customers to seek new horizons for their businesses and attain the goals they set for success. We never stop talking to the market to ensure we can deliver the tools that will enable our customers to hit those heights. ”

The KM-C utilises technology from AccurioJet KM-1, giving it superior image quality at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi resolution, as well as excellent colour stability, inline sensor and image correction, and the ability to print on a wide range of paper substrates without pre-coating.

New worlds await

Highcon has revealed its concept technology, the Shape 3D press, which creates any object your heart desires out of laser-cut compressed paper

Another very impressive piece of technology that has been wowing the crowds at Drupa is the Highcon Shape 3D machine. Unlike a conventional additive printing device, it uses a sheet-fed press engine, industrial laser cutter, and some astonishing software to create 3D objects out of compressed paper. Seeing this machine in the flesh literally blew me away, and is a real testament to the fantastic inventive ingeunity of a company that can trace its founding DNA back to HP Scitex.

Under the slogan of “Unleashing the Power of Paper” Hall 9 has seen Highcon reveal  an entire world of applications that can be achieved through its technology. From traditional print applications such as folders and packages to paper fashion, large format display items, and all the way to 3D models made of paper.

Even before reaching the company’s booth, in the North entrance and in the drupa cube in Hall 6, visitors can see the amazing results made possible with Highcon’s technology. These spectacular displays, designed by Wanda Barcelona, were produced by Highcon customer Maison Lack by DLW on their Highcon Euclid digital cutting and machine on Arjowiggins Maine M1 paper.

The extensive range of different and exciting applications on our booth, from the paper fashion show, through to the general commercial and packaging products, and on to the 3D applications, were all produced on our digital cutting and creasing machines and we are proud to be introducing a whole new portfolio here at Drupa

Aviv Ratzman,co-founder and chief executive officer of Highcon explains: “At Drupa 2016 we are proving the strength of our vision of delivering digital technology that bridges the gap between design creativity and production capability.

“The extensive range of different and exciting applications on our booth, from the paper fashion show, through to the general commercial and packaging products, and on to the 3D applications, were all produced on our digital cutting and creasing machines and we are proud to be introducing a whole new portfolio here at Drupa.”

The surprise unveiling at the show is of the Highcon Shape 3D machine. Designed by Padwa Design, renowned industrial product and car designers, this is a technology preview of Highcon’s new machine, implementing its Rapid Layer Manufacturing Technology aimed at transforming the 3D print world from rapid production to rapid manufacturing. The Highcon Shape, envisaged for release in Drupa 2019, can produce real life, large scale products from a file to reality, within minutes, using any kind of paper.

This machine can also produce products at high speeds and at costs that are reportedly unmatched by any 3D printing technology. The result is a truly revolutionary process to produce everyday items, such as furniture, which can be customized and personalized, and models for industrial use.

Industrial scale

The Barberan Jetmaster is some machine, capable of printing 55m/min

My final stop on my day three tour of Drupa took me to the Barberan stand in Hall 9, where it is showcasing the might of its Jetmaster single pass flatbed printer. Capable of hitting speeds in excess of 55m/min, this beast offers the ability to print onto board up to 3m long and 200mm thick, with a CMYK LC LM or O and V ink set.

“In comparison to the existing conventional industrial printing systems, this digital technology is a contact-free printing system, which makles it possible to print onto every type of surface without issues like shadows, crushed flutes in corrugated substrates, misregistered print, and trapping issues. These are all typical problems of conventional printing systems in this specific area of rigid substrate printing that we have overcome,” proudly states the firm’s technical specifications information pack.

Indeed, this type of technology is a much more dominant feature of Drupa than it was four years ago, and really proves the point that a once niche sector is squarely in the sights of today’s global commercial print market.

With Heidleberg up for review later in the day, I will leave you with the thought that it is a very good time to be a commercial printer. Demand is returing to our industry for an amaying variety of high-value, personalised, and ingenious print products. When you add to that the absolutely fantastic array of technology that is now available and on display at Drupa, then it seems that commercial print is now a very long way from a sense of depression that prevaded it only four short years ago.


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