Canon has increased the print speed and range of papers its flagship continuous feed inkjet press can handle, so increasing its appeal to commercial printers.
The ProStream 1800 joins the ProStream 1000 as the press for printing on standard offset papers, now expanded to 40-300gsm and covering more of the range a commercial printer can be expected to cope with.
Speed has been increased to 133m/min, equivalent to more than 11,000 B2 sheets an hour. This is 33% faster than the ProStream 1000 for a price premium of around 25%. The first machine has a resolution of 1200dpi firing a polymer based ink, the ProStream runs at the same 1200x1200dpi resolution up to 100m/min. Above this the resolution is 1200x720dpi, still the equivalent of offer litho and a match for HP’s T250 HD and the Screen TPJ520HD/Ricoh VC70000 which are in the forefront of the transition to digital printing.
“The increase in speed will drive the transition from offset,” says Christian Unterberger, chief marketing officer and executive vice president, production printing products.
“Commercial printers need to optimise turnaround times and this will enable them to print more in the same period of time. I have spoken to printers who have had to refuse orders because they simply have not had enough time to deliver the job.”
The new press is built on the same frame and paper transport as the ProStream 10000. The ColorGrip coating is applied to all papers to provide a smooth surface that is matched to the chemistry of the Canon ink. Profiles of the most used papers can be set up and recalled to save time when changing substrates.
A reel stand with automatic splicing is available but unlikely to be necessary in a commercial print set up where substrate changes are likely to be more frequent than running multiple reels of the same paper every day.
After printing the web enters a dryer under tension in a similar fashion to a heatset web offset oven, though with more sensors to match the level of drying to ink coverage and paper and keeping temperature to a maximum 130ºC. The web is returned to its original state before printing the reverse side and again before either being rebound or passing to a linked finishing line.
There are minor hardware changes, says Unterberger, with substantial changes to the software to cope with the speed and variety of papers. Canon has also changed electronics on the printheads to deliver the additional performance required, included temperature control systems to maintained the ink in optimal condition.
“It results in a briar range of applications which will suit a commercial printer because of the different jobs they can be expected to run,” he adds. The ProStream 1000 has 30 or more placements, has addressed needs of book and to some extent magazine printers, but as with the ColorStream range, the applications are relatively narrow.
“Offset printers have a lot of volume but are very much under pressure on short runs, which area not very economic to produce. With a ProStream a printer can take on whatever they want in terms of short runs.”
The interruption to normal business caused by the pandemic has led to “a process of thinking about their business model and strategy going forward.” Even before the pandemic this had led to installations of ColorStream or i300 cutsheet presses, so, he says, offset printers are interested. “They are discovering that inkjet is where we need to go now.”
Canon has remained with a 556mm wide web on this machine, opting to increase the speed of the printheads to increase the pages printed rather than increase the width of the machine to achieve the same effect, the route taken by HP for example.