Robin Greenhalgh, chairman of Duplo International, is hoping to convince the Japanese company to expand production of the new DuSense 810 digital spot varnishing machine following reaction from Graphitec and DScoop where the unit was launched.
Currently supply to Europe is limited while Greenhalgh reckons that initial reaction shows that that at €160,000 the company has a product that could follow on from the success of its DC range of cutter/slitter/creasers. It was shown at the Duplo Festival last month and will receive an official UK launch at Ipex. Flexpress has taken delivery of the first machine in the UK.
Much of the technology is proven as it is based on the DIJ200, a two-colour inkjet printer that Duplo markets in Japan and throughout Asia for short run transactional printing. There is no demand for this style of printing in Europe or the US, so no demand for the printer. However, adapted to fire a dedicated UV sensitive clear ink, it delivers a machine that may have the sort of brand appeal that the company’s multifinisher units have enjoyed.
The DuSense has the same array of three Kyocera 600dpi inkjet heads as the printer. “It has been sold in Asia for six years,” says Greenhalgh. “There are register marks that cameras will pick up on both edges of the sheet so that precise registration is guaranteed with compensation for those known attributes of digital printing – stretch, shrink and skew.”
The 600dpi imaging delivers a sharper lay down of the clear fluid than the Scodix or MGI alternatives which are using lower resolution print heads and firing larger droplets to achieve throughput speed. The closest completion to the DuSense is likely to come from the recently launched Argos unit seen at
Hunkeler Innovation Days where a production agreement was completed with Renz. The price and speci cation of the two units is close.
Argos builds flood coaters for photobook applications and supplies CeWe worldwide. The addition of a new product poses some production constraints on the Dutch business which will be eased as Renz takes over production at its factory in Germany. The logic of adding a varnishing machine to customers producing calendars and photobooks is clear, as is the appeal of a spot varnishing machine to digital printers.
Duplo has the in-house skills to develop its own inks and fluids having done so for its Duprinter duplicators. Consequently it is not dependent on outside suppliers for future developments whether new fluids or new printheads.
Currently the high gloss varnish is cured under a Baldwin UV lamp system. Currently this is the only fluid available (other than coloured inks marketed in Asia), though satin and matt fluids will also be available.
The accuracy of registration will also allow multiple passes under the inkjet array to created high built effects to 80 microns. This is unlikely to satisfy strict Braille standards, but will enable creative tactile effects to be produced, including half tone effects using an additional spot colour layer on a PDF.
The DuSense will deliver 1,100sph in single pass. As well as the same registration systems, it will be using the same proven feeder as the DC746 multi finishers. This will allow unattended operation.
One problem that users of the larger digital enhancement machines have come across is in cutting where the build of a sheet renders the finished stack difficult to cut with accuracy because the surface is uneven. Carton companies can use existing platens to overcome this issue, while Duplo customers are likely to have a DC machine designed for single sheet finishing.
Another advantage, says Greenhalgh, is that daily maintenance is straightforward. “There is no need for a clean down, and no waste of UV consumable at the end of each day. The machine turns off in two minutes and warms up in two minutes. It makes it really easy to maintain in-house,” he says.
A further feature is a cost calculator which works out the cost of the consumable for each sheet according to the amount of fluid to be applied. It will amount to pennies, Greenhalgh explains. “And we asked a printer during Graphitec how much he might sell one of these sheets for. He said €5. The ROI that is possible is such that a printer may only need run it for a couple of hours each week to cover the cost of ownership. There’s a lot of money to be made from a machine like this.
“This is going to provide a return to anyone producing more than 2,000 sheets a month.
”It fits both with the Duplo fixation on “automated precision” and the need to offer customers product innovations which can help grow their businesses. It managed this with the DC machines. “This is going to provide the growth for the next few years,” says Greenhalgh. “It could be as successful as the DC finishers.”
By Gareth Ward