Screen GP, formerly Dainippon Screen Australia, entered the digital label press sector in 2013 when the Japanese parent company release the Truepress Jet L350UV model at Labelexpo Europe. Since that time, over one hundred machines have been installed worldwide, with the Australia-New Zealand area punching well above its weight with four installs and more in the pipeline.
The L350 and its successors have also garnered technical awards from Printing Industries of America’s InterTech Technology organisation (2017) and more recently, from the Japanese Society of Printing Science & Technology (2018). One early-adopting customer in the UK, Springfield Solutions, based in Hull, now has four L350UV inkjet presses. So, what is it about Screen’s Truepress Jet L350UV series that has made it so successful, winning awards and repeat customers?
INKJET IN A TONER WORLD
The first obvious aspect of the L350UV that differentiates it from the majority of digital label presses is that it uses UV-curing inkjet to print labels. Admittedly a late-comer to digital labels, Screen opted for inkjet over the market dominance of toner in both liquid and powder forms. HP Indigo’s liquid toner undoubtedly ruled production digital label production for many years, with Xeikon’s electrophotographic powder machines a distant second.
Screen already had a firm foothold in inkjet technology, having been the first company in the world to commercialise high-volume full colour reel-fed inkjet with its Truepress Jet 520, released in 2006 and now with well over one thousand units shipped. This was aimed at the transactional, promotional, book printing and direct marketing sector and printed across a 520mm web. In its latest iteration, the Truepress Jet 520HD with SC inks, Screen has achieved near-offset quality on standard offset stocks and, yes, more awards.
It was a logical move into digital label production since this is a growth area from both a market demand aspect and also by displacement of previously flexographic or offset printed labels in shorter runs with variable content such as barcodes, QR codes, versioning and micro manufacturing. While there existed some inkjet label printers in the market, these were mostly slow, very narrow web machines that had evolved out of the marking and encoding sector. The L350UV presented good production speeds across a 350mm web, with UV-curing inks on a wide variety of substrates, in full wide-gamut CMYK and, most importantly from 2014 on – white ink.
Converting/finishing of labels could be accomplished by a printer’s existing equipment or ultimately by Screen’s JetConverter L350, released in 2015. The stage was set for further printer advancements.
LISTENING TO THE MARKET
Screen has earned a reputation in the global graphic arts sector, for manufacturing equipment to very high engineering standards, making it high-productivity with optimum ‘uptimes.’ The majority of computer-to-plate setters in use worldwide are manufactured by Screen and its Inca Digital subsidiary in the UK dominates the high-end flatbed UV printer market for highest productivity, maximum uptime machines used in the signage, POP and display sectors.
As label printers experience more demand for short-run jobs with many versions, digital provides the answers but today, the lengthy prepress and flexo platemaking stage of conventional production, is colliding with the easier all-digital method of file preparation and streaming directly to the press. However, the press must be up to the task in terms of quality, registration, substrate choice, application and productivity.
Screen listened carefully to customer requests and now offers three versions of the L350:
Truepress Jet L350UV: the original model and foundation stone of later versions, running at up to 50 metres per minute across a 350mm web (or down to 100mm) with 322mm print width and a repeat length from 50.8mm, to a staggering 2,400mm. Printing is with a CMYK inkset plus white ink. Curing is by LED UV for ‘pinning’ and metal halide for final cure.
Truepress Jet L350UV+: As per the basic L350 but printing at up to 60 metres per minute and with the optional addition of Orange ink to further extend the colour gamut achievable. It also features a chill roller which enables the printing of much thinner substrates that are susceptible to warping under heat. A web cleaner and corona treatment option is also available. Four-step grayscale printheads print at 600 x 600dpi with an ultra-fine minimum droplet size of just three picolitres.
Truepress Jet L350+LM: The ‘LM’ is for Low Migration and refers to a special ink/curing system that optimises this version for food packaging where the substrate comes into closer contact with the food. A nitrogen purge chamber drives out oxygen at the curing stage as the presence of O² can inhibit fast UV curing. By accelerating the curing using nitrogen, the inks exhibit low migration properties through the substrate. Four-step grayscale printheads print at 600 x 600dpi with an ultra-fine minimum droplet size of just three picolitres.
RIP & front-end: Bundled with all L350s is the EQUIOS Rip, Screen’s versatile front-end that can work in harmony with all third-party label/packaging workflows, or be configured into a workflow itself.
Screen GP Australia Pty Ltd
2 Eden Park Drive
Macquarie Park, NSW 2113
T: 1300 305 118
Jet Technologies Pty Ltd (Australia & New Zealand)
19 Rosebery Ave
Rosebery, NSW 2018
T: (02) 8399 4999
2C Willaim Pickering Dr
Auckland, NZ 0632
T: +64 9 414 0400