More than 100 Britons will be heading for Lucerne at carnival time in the Swiss city, but to view the latest in digital printing and finishing technology rather than the traditional pre-Lent revels.
The destination will be the Hunkeler Innovation Days, 25-28 February, an open house event which has become the most important showcase for high speed digital printing and automation in finishing. And while most of the exhibitors spread across two halls of the exhibition centre are keeping their powder dry at this point, there is enough known to ensure that very few, if any, of those making it from the UK will be disappointed.
The incursion of high speed continuous feed inkjet into commercial printing adds a further reason to visit. It was at the 2017 event that Bluetree first saw the quality of the Screen TruepressJet 520HD with its SC inks that has now been installed in its Rotherham factory to substitute for offset litho. Others will be keen to check whether this will be possible for their business.
The Ricoh equivalent of the Screen press, the Pro VC70000, will be the star of its display. The emphasis at HID has always been on working demonstrations of products that include at least one element of Hunkeler technology. Print engine suppliers are allocated the same space and the ostentatious stands that feature at Drupa are out.
The commercial print opportunity will be a strong message from the event, so too will automation. The presentations have also resulted in a direct mail piece, book block or finished leaflet, but frequently the same product time after time. Now books can be delivered in single copies with on the fly changeovers.
Stefan Hunkeler says this will be a strong message in 2019. “We’ve made the Innovation Days event slogan ‘Success with automation’. This refers to the convergence of important customers, technology and worldwide experts in Lucerne. We are very excited to present the broadest state of the art solutions portfolio for the digital printing and finishing sector.”
Hunkeler's own emphasis will be on developments of its Popp8 generation of finishing technology. This can cope with higher speeds and paper widths to 570mm to match developments in inkjet, and to cope with the full range of coated and uncoated papers that the presses can use.
This amounts to 40 solutions across the 100 exhibiting companies. Muller Martini, for example, will introduce an end paper feeder for its Vareo book of one perfect binder, enabling it to produce case bound books. In one line it will integrate technology from Hunkeler, Heidelberg, Palamides and Muller Martini to show how smaller users can automate production of books with eight different jobs. A second area will demonstrate 15 jobs and how up to four Vareo binders can feed a single Infinitrim robotic three-knife trimmer.
Friedheim International handles invitations to the event as UK agent for Hunkeler. National sales manager for digital solutions Robin Brown says: “We will be taking over 100 UK customers to the event, including technology leaders who will influence and set the pace for the next stage of industry innovation. Continuous workflow automation will be a focal point for transactional printers, direct mailers, book manufacturers and commercial printers.