19 November 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

Emmerson moves to second gear: Emmerson Press installs the UK's first Jetpress 750S

The UK’s first user of the Jetpress 720 is now the first user of the Jetpress 750S. Jamie Emmerson explains how the technology has moved on.

Emmerson Press has completed the double with Fujifilm. The Kenilworth business was the first in the UK to install Fujifilm’s Jetpress 720. Now it is the UK’s first installation of the Jetpress 750S, the latest incarnation of the B2 sheetfed inkjet press.

The second replaces the first in the environmentally controlled room, built for it in 2016. And despite printing on a larger sheet size, comes in with a smaller footprint than the first. This is because there is a new approach to drying and inkjet print heads are lifted out of position when not in use rather than the printhead array sliding to the side.

Throughput is also increased, now reaching 3,500sph. “We knew it was faster when we went to see it at the showroom in Belgium,” says operations director Jamie Emmerson. “But they told us about 100 other things that we weren’t aware of, the main one being the improvements in drying. We can now back up the sheet the same day we have printed rather than have to wait until the next day.”

The redesigned system uses a combination of heated belt and hot air so trims the length of the press by around 1 metre. It uses less power to dry the sheet into the bargain.

There are other improvements that derive from user experience, for example on the previous version print heads moved away to avoid damage from a double-sheet feed, taking three minutes to reset each time; now the heads stay in place with a deflector preventing damage to the head.

Emmerson had been unaware of these improvements until the demonstrator in Brussels put the press through its paces. None, size and speed apart, was enough to be a game changer, but combined the features add up to a different proposition for the commercial print business.

“It means that we can migrate more jobs from litho,” Emmerson says. And many of those jobs represent work that could not fit on its SRA3 Ricoh press.

“The benefit of the Jetpress is in format and speed. We can print A4 landscapes, presentation folders, A3 finished size books, calendars. All these are only possible with B2 printing.

“We are printing perfect bound books in collated order, postcards with the names and addresses printed on them and a lot of short runs that are not viable for litho printing, runs of ten copies for example.”

Quality is not an issue. The 1200dpi printing accuracy of the Samba heads, droplet size and wider than litho gamut of the inks, deliver quality that is beyond litho when using max gamut setting.

Emmerson will normally print with standard litho equivalent settings, though for a job such as the roses project for fashion photographer Nick Knight, the max gamut achieves fidelity to the customer’s vision that would not otherwise have been possible.

“We expect to use max gamut more frequently in future,” says Emmerson. “We’re not scared of anything now, and we can take on work that demands a larger format.”

It is taking on more short run work than before the Jetpress. An Average Order Value of £1,000 is less for digital work. “We have to work a lot harder for digital. There’s a lot of £50 work,” he adds.

Over the three years’ experience of B2 digital the original press has delivered all manner of jobs. The lack of duplexing which became a point of criticism compared to smaller digital presses is not an issue for a litho printer where backing up jobs is normal. Barcodes identify each sheet and that these are fed in the correct orientation and will ensure that any personalisation is maintained on both sides of the sheet.

The inkjet press is also used for proofing longer run jobs that will go for customer sign off and the settings applied to its five-colour Speedmaster XL75. The Jetpress will print on most of the papers that will feed to the Speedmaster, including uncoated substrates and the Antalis Curious Metallics family.

The press applies a bonding or priming coat that amounts to a consistent, ideal surface for Fujifilm’s water based ink. A seal is an option for adding value and as protection for the printed sheet.

The impact has had a similar effect on finishing. In April, Emmerson installed a Duplo 600i booklet maker to handle work from digital that had previously been hand finished or required a run on the Muller Martini. “We chose to work that way because we hadn’t been able to find a decent quality booklet maker, mostly because nothing we saw could guarantee a square finish. We needed that because our customers were used to the quality produced on the Muller Martini.

“We calculated that we only had to save an hour a day in order for it to pay for itself.”

That was enough to justify the investment, though the finishing kit has been put to more extensive use than that. “Our operators are choosing to put litho work through the Duplo because it’s easier to set up and can deliver better quality on short runs,” he says.

It becomes a virtuous circle. The Jetpress and the booklet maker feed off each other, the company can print in short runs knowing it can finish to the right quality. The company has the confidence to take it all on.

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John Emmerson

John Emmerson

John Emmerson, managing director with the UK's first Jetpress 720 in 2016. The new machine has slotted into the same air conditioned space and although it prints a larger sheet, is slightly narrower and shorter than the first version.

Explore more...

Emmerson leads with UK's first Jetpress

A little extra will give Jetpres 750 the edge

Story 1 of 2

John Emmerson

John Emmerson

John Emmerson, managing director with the UK's first Jetpress 720 in 2016. The new machine has slotted into the same air conditioned space and although it prints a larger sheet, is slightly narrower and shorter than the first version.

Explore more...

Emmerson leads with UK's first Jetpress

A little extra will give Jetpres 750 the edge

Story 2 of 2