Graphics Blog

Fujifilm at drupa 2016

Fujifilm’s influence was felt at several levels—particularly concerning inkjet—during the international graphic technology trade fair known as the “Olympics” for print and allied media—drupa2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, in June.

The reach of inkjet was apparent all over drupa, but scratch the surface and it will probably reveal the involvement of Fujifilm Inkjet Technology. The largest aqueous ink production facility in the world is Fujifilm’s facility in New Castle, Del., where aqueous, pigmented and dye inks are manufactured. Research and development is conducted in Scotland, and also in Japan. One notable result is the RAPIC (Rapid Coagulation, without dot bleed) ink primer used in the Heidelberg PrimeFire digital inkjet press, co-developed with Fujifilm. RAPIC coating enables inks where water to be used as the dispersant but, as the inks coagulate quickly on the primed substrate, normal coated offset stocks can be printed. Sharpness, colour vibrancy and detail are superior to other methods.

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Topics: inkjet printing, drupa 2016

The Hidden Printing Market And How To Find It

With less than six months until the doors of the world’s biggest printing industry trade fair opens—drupa in Düsseldorf, Germany from May 31 to June 10—organisers have already started exploring new areas where print and related businesses might discover fresh opportunities to make money from printing, as traditional four-colour on paper markets begin to soften and dwindle.

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Topics: printing, inkjet printing

Roll On Buddies

Merle Travis’ classic country song goes:
“Roll on buddy, don’t you roll so slow,
Tell me how can I roll, when the wheels won’t go?”

Although written in another era, the words could apply to modern inkjet printing, using any of the media types available. Inkjet roll media can be a confusing landscape, peppered with compatibility issues between ink types, equipment, profiles, drying methods and, with adhesive media, suitability to surfaces. Roll materials can be coated papers, plastics, vinyls, polypropylene, textiles and even perforated media for uni-directional graphics on glass. Rigid sheet media are even more diverse, but let’s not complicate matters and stick with roll flexibles for now.

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Topics: inkjet printing, Euromedia

Using Your (Print)Heads

One of the two most exciting new printing technologies to emerge since the advent of offset in the early 1900s is inkjet. The other was Chester Carlson’s 1930s invention of xerography, or electrophotographic printing. However, unlike xerography, inkjet’s origins go back at least to the 19 century – it’s just taken a while for the ideas to be matched by the technology capable of delivering millions of tiny ink droplets onto a substrate, in the form of the modern inkjet printhead.

Around 1873, famed British inventor Lord Kelvin patented his ‘Syphon Recorder’ for tracing incoming telegraph messages. This was the first printer to use ejected ink droplets to form an image. However, not to be outdone, France claims the first theoretical inkjet application because, in 1754, a Msr. L’Abbé Nollet, Master of Physics for the Dauphin of France, conducted research into the effects of static electricity on the flow of liquid droplets from capillary tubes. According to Inkjet guru Graeme Minto, who went on to found Domino Inkjet Sciences in 1978, Nollet also reported the very first blocked nozzles!

Inkjet remained an idea looking for a market until the 1950s when the Siemens company introduced a medical recorder that used ejected ink droplets to mark the paper. In the years that followed, inkjet was seen as primarily a marking and encoding method of printing, placing a single colour of informational data onto cartons, boxes and products such as plastic pipes.

Fast forward to 2015 and we can see that inkjet for full-colour printing with stunningly vibrant detail, is all around us. What caused this acceleration in inkjet’s capability?

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Topics: inkjet printing, graphics systems, printheads

Not All UV Inks Are Created Equal

The utilization of inks using Ultra-Violet wavelength light to cure them is increasing all over the world, in all printing processes. Instead of relying on oil/solvent-based inks to cure by evaporation, thereby releasing unwanted VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, UV energy instantly polymerizes a combination of monomers and oligomers present in inks and coatings, onto a wide range of substrates. If that sounds a little fancy, in practical terms it means UV dries and fixes the ink instantly, so the printed item is ready-to-use straight off the printer.

The uptake of UV is strongest in the industrial inkjet printing market. These are the printers that make billboards, POP displays, posters, window signs, exhibition booth graphics, backlit panels, wall and floor décor, product decoration, printed textiles and, increasingly, labels, cartons and boxes for packaging use. Not so long ago these products would have been printed by the ‘silk screen’ process where thick pigmented inks are squeegeed through a fine mesh directly onto the substrate. The screen process is still around, but inkjet UV has taken vast chunks of its market due to its speed, cost and convenience.

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Topics: inkjet printing, UV inkjet

Understanding the Basics of Inkjet and Wide Format Printing

You may not even realise how many examples of wide format printing you pass on a daily basis. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, are in plain sight as you walk down any high street: On buildings, in shop displays, on vehicles, at bus stops. In shops, floor graphics guide our footsteps, three-dimensional POP tempts us to pick up and purchase, signs guide us to the products we want, special offers encourage us to buy what the shop wants us to.

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Topics: Fujifilm Graphic Systems, wide format printing, Fujifilm Printing, inkjet printing

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