Fujifilm Jet Press 720

Fujifilm Jet Press 720 - the future of short-run print

FUJIFILM Europe today announces that it will be showcasing its ground-breaking B2 sheet-fed digital inkjet press, the Jet Press 720, at the Ipex 2010 exhibition (18-25 May, NEC, Birmingham, UK).

The development of the Jet Press 720 has progressed successfully, including some customer trials, following its first appearance as a technology announcement at drupa 2008.

Since the world-wide economic recession began in late 2008, print volumes have declined in most areas of the world, including the average run length per job. Printers and print buyers are therefore looking for more efficient print production and value-added services such as personalization for a much wider range of applications.  The Jet Press 720 meets these requirements perfectly and will revolutionize the business of short-run printing. The press will be particularly suitable for traditional commercial printers looking to improve competitiveness for short-run work and digital printers who are looking to offer a wider range of digital print services. 

The Jet Press 720 is ground-breaking in that it takes the advantages of digital print technologies one step further and is set to open up new markets for digital print through a combination of features unique to this inkjet digital press:

i)                      Unprecedented digital print quality
The Jet Press 720 takes the print quality produced by a digital printing system to new heights thanks to a combination of technologies.  Firstly, the Jet Press 720 makes use of SAMBATM print-head technology for single-pass inkjet printing developed by FUJIFILM Dimatix.  This piezoelectric MEMS*1 precision fabrication technology achieves resolutions of 1,200dpi x 1,200dpi with four levels of grey scale, a specification unobtainable from any other digital printing system.

As with any inkjet system, however, the performance of the ink through the print-head onto the printed sheet is critical to delivering benchmark quality.  Fujifilm has therefore made use of the company's advanced chemical technology to develop water-based inks which enable bleed-free, high quality images to be produced.  The quality is enhanced through Fujifilm's unique "anti-curling" and "rapid coagulation ink" technologies, which prevent paper curl and dot gain.

Finally, the repeatability from sheet -to-sheet is second to none.  This is because the Jet Press 720 makes use of the superb registration accuracy of an offset press (the paper handling is identical to offset) and combines it with the inherent stability of an inkjet printing system.  This is further enhanced through the use of a CCD sensor which scans every sheet and makes any necessary alterations in real time.

The combination of these technologies means Fujifilm is advancing the quality of digital print to levels never reached before.

ii)                     Unprecedented digital print productivity
Thanks to SAMBATM technology, the Jet Press 720 can print a B2 sheet in a single-pass, resulting in production speeds of approximately 180 sheets (A4 size equivalent)*2  per minute or 2,700 B2 sheets an hour.  This represents unprecedented productivity for a sheet-fed digital press and will move the break point for the cost effectiveness of digital as a print production technology further into the traditional litho area.

Fujifilm estimates that the Jet Press 720 will be particularly competitive for print runs under 2,000 sheets. Productivity is further improved as the B2 printed sheet emerges from the press completely dry, thanks to the drying process that occurs once the paper is imaged. 

This means that 1,000 copies of a 32-page brochure can be printed and ready for finishing in half the time taken for the same job to be produced on a traditional offset press.

iii)         Unprecedented flexibility
The Jet Press 720 has been designed to make digital print production much more flexible.  Firstly, as the machine is B2 format, it fits into existing sheet-fed pressrooms without the need for any alterations in terms of paper handling and finishing. 

Secondly, standard B2 coated paper can be used, removing the requirement to use specialized (and expensive) digital paper.  This means, for example, that a B2 printer can take advantage of current B2 paper stocks, simplifying inventory and stockholding and reducing costs.

Thirdly, as the B2 sheet emerges from the Jet Press 720 completely dry, the range of finishing options available are much wider than with many other digital print technologies.  Once imaged, the B2 sheet can be treated like an offset sheet, dropping into existing finishing equipment, with many special finishes possible. As a result, in terms of finishing flexibility, digital print can be treated more like offset print than ever before.

Finally, the Jet Press 720 can take advantage of one of the key benefits of digital print in the form of personalization and variable data.  With the Jet Press 720, a printer has the flexibility to print a very cost-effective, short-run job without variable data and then produce another job requiring variable data on the same machine immediately afterwards.

iv)        Unprecedented production efficiency
The Jet Press 720 makes B2 print production much more efficient as it removes the need for the pre-press equipment and time associated with plate production. It eliminates the requirement to run up to color with the associated make-ready material waste and reduces the time required to wait for the printed sheets to dry in preparation for finishing. 
v)         Unprecedented environmental performance
The advantage of digital print in terms of optimizing the number of printed copies produced and minimizing the amount of unnecessary over-runs is a key benefit of the Jet Press 720.  There are a number of other significant environmental benefits.  Firstly, the number of make-readies is considerably reduced.  On some short-run jobs on traditional sheet-fed presses, the number of make-ready sheets can represent a significant percentage of the total run, up to 25% in some cases.  This problem is significantly reduced with the Jet Press 720 as very few make-ready sheets are required.

Secondly, the Jet Press 720 removes the need for a number of the pressroom solutions used on a typical offset press, for example founts, sprays and potentially harmful VOC washes, and of course removes the requirement for water.  The Jet Press 720 requires only two consumables in addition to the water-based ink.  These include a wash for the inkjet print-heads and a solution used for pre-coating the paper prior to printing.

Finally, as part of the life cycle analysis Fujifilm carries out on all its products, the company estimates that the carbon footprint of the Jet Press 720 compared to an equivalent B2 sheet-fed press (internal estimate*3) is approximately 25% less. In addition, early internal studies indicate that paper printed with Fujifilm water-based inks on the Jet Press 720 can be recycled.  These internal studies are subject to further external qualification, but potentially represent a significant advance in the drive to reduce the environmental impact of inkjet printing.

Customer feedback on the performance of the Jet Press 720 has been extremely positive.  The combination of color consistency, easy operation and print stability makes the Jet Press very appealing in helping to reduce the stresses within current print operations. It is anticipated these factors will also help improve client relationships and provide an opportunity for business growth. 

Provisional specifications*4:

Productivity:                              2,700 B2 sheets per hour
Resolution:                                1,200 x 1,200dpi, 4 level grayscale
Paper size:                                542 x 382mm (min), 750 x 530mm (max)
Printable area:                          720mm x 520mm
Paper weight                            100gsm - 300gsm
Input paper capacity:                800mm in height (max)
Output paper capacity:             600mm in height (max)
Variable data support:             Yes
Workflow:                                   FUJIFILM Workflow XMF
Dimensions:                              2.7m (D) x 7.3m (L) x 2.0m (H)

*1 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).
*2 Number of sheets printed when printing large sizes of 720mm by 520mm.
*3 Effective CO2 produced (Kg) estimated on a print run of 1,000 sheets.
*4 The specifications are provisional and are subject to change without notice