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Next generation Inkjet Digital Printing Technology from Fujifilm Group

We are bound to see at Drupa several "next generation" inkjet technologies that will potentially impact our wide format printing industry, we already know of several of these. Fujifilm Corporation has released information on their own groundbreaking technology that they are claiming will be the next generation to enable the world’s first high quality, high-speed printing on large sheet sizes (maximum print size: 720mm x 520mm) at high resolutions of 1200dpi at 4-level grey scale by using a single-pass inkjet printing method.

"In addition, it achieves quality levels comparable to offset printing for a variety of different types of coated papers. This digital printing technology achieves “high-speed,” “high-quality,” and “large sheet size” and is set to revolutionise the printing industry by significantly enhancing the efficiency of the print production process," they say.

They go on to say, " Furthermore, with its excellent system design and development capability, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., has developed the Jet Press 720 (a temporary name), which is an inkjet digital printing system offering superior printing and achieves higher productivity by incorporating this technology. Fujifilm will globally market the Jet Press 720, a revolutionary digital printing system realising high-speed, large size printing at high resolution, to be supplied by Fuji Xerox."

The Jet Press 720 which is the combination of Fujifilm Group’s technologies, will be exhibited at the global print media exhibition Drupa 2008.

Currently, the amount of short-run print is increasing in the commercial print market. In general, digital printing has been the preferred technology for such short-run print thanks to its short make-ready time. Up until now, there has been no digital print technology that achieves production speeds and quality comparable to offset printing on larger format sheet sizes. So many printing companies undertake short-run print using offset printing, a process which is more suitable for longer print runs. Fujifilm’s newly developed technology will realize digital printing with “high-speed,” “high-quality,” and “large format size” to solve this problem.

An outline of the Jet Press 720 inkjet digital printing technology includes:

(1) New inkjet printhead technology
The wide printhead with a print width of 720mm was developed incorporating high density, long-life piezoelectric element arrays with high precision and can print high resolution images using single-pass inkjet technology at the high speed of approx. 180 sheets (A4 size equivalent) per minute.

(2) Water-based inkjet material technology
Fujifilm’s advanced chemical technology was leveraged to develop water-based inks which enable bleed-free, high quality images to be produced on a variety of coated printing papers by anti-curling and rapid coagulation ink technology.

By combining these technologies, Fujifilm has realized high speed printing for large sheet sizes (maximum print size: 720mm x 520mm) and an image quality that is comparable to offset printing.

1:  Printing method of scanning the head over the recording media (paper) once. Suitable for industrial printing, which requires high printing speeds.
2:  Physical resolution is 1200dpi. Each nozzle can jet 4 level drops.
3:  Piezoelectric elements that expand and contract when voltage is applied. Piezoelectric method refers to using the piezoelectric elements to change the shape of the pumping chamber where the ink is filled to release the ink.
4:  Number of sheets printed when printing large sizes of 720mm by 520mm.

Features of the Next Generation Inkjet Digital Printing Technology

(1)  Realizing a high image quality comparable to offset printing
The printhead technology for single-pass inkjet printing has been developed realizing a high resolution of 1200dpi and high accuracy, leveraging FDMX’s MEMS*5 precision fabrication technology and its expertise as the leading manufacturer of industrial inkjet printheads. A high image quality comparable to offset printing is realized by gray scale reproduction with its unique 4-level drop modulation technology*6 and a sharp image by rapid coagulation ink technology. 
 
(2)  Realizing high productivity by high speed printing on large sheet sizes (maximum print size: 720mm x 520mm)
Enables high productivity at approximately 180 sheets/minute (A4 equivalent) for 720mm by 520mm sheet sizes due to the newly developed printhead for single-pass inkjet printing.
In addition, it enables higher productivities than offset printing to meet the demand for fast turnarounds and short print runs since it needs shorter make-ready times and no drying time. 
 
(3)  Compatible with a wide variety of coated printing papers
It significantly improves the problems of conventional water-based inkjet printing systems, such as bleeding and deformation of the paper, for paper that is not specifically designed for inkjet printing. It also allows high quality printing on various coated printing papers without curling or wrinkling. It also meets the wide range of requirements of clients. 
 
(4)  Excellent durability and stability
High jetting stability is achieved utilising FDMX’s unique anti-ink clogging technology in the printhead nozzle. Furthermore, superior durability is realized by using MEMS technology that is employed in all major parts of the printhead. 

*5:  MEMS is a general term that refers to technologies that are used to create 3-dimensional electronic and mechanical structures on silicon substrates on the micrometer level, and manufactured parts using such technologies. Also referred to as MST (Micro System Technology).
*6:  High precision printing by combining 4 different sized dots (no print, small, medium, large).

Fujifilm Corpration
http://www.fujifilm.com