02 April 2017 Digital Printing Technologies

Jetrix development takes InkTec into new market sector

The new Jetrix LXi8 draws on experience in demanding industrial print applications and will take InkTec into a new sector of the market.

The launch of the Jetrix LXi8 flatbed UV inkjet press at Sign & Digital last week coincided the 25th anniversary of the Korean company.

“The finished machine will be ready for Drupa,” says Inktec Europe managing director Joey Kim, explaining that what the company was showing in Birmingham was a late prototype rather than the finished article. EFI had taken a similar approach, allowing distributor CMYUK to show the Pro 16H UV flatbed printer, the replacement for the HS1625. It will receive a formal debut in Hamburg next month.

InkTec chief executive Kwang Choon Chung was on hand to help celebrations and underline the commitment to the UK as the bridgehead into mainland Europe. “The UK is our strongest market. We decided to set up here because it is the toughest market and knew that if we could succeed in the UK, it would be easier to move into mainland Europe.”

The company is indeed embracing on expansion outside the UK, leading with the inks it offers. Support and distribution into the new distribution will be handled through InkTec Europe in Witney as time zones are closer than trying to offer first line support from Korea.

“When we began 25 years ago, we were offering ink for HP and other smaller printers before expanding into large format,” says Dr Chung. “Then 11 years ago we built our first flatbed machine and introduced a silver based conductive ink.

“This is being used for printed circuit board production by Samsung and led us into industrial print applications.”

For these purposes, InkTec uses single-pass printheads as part of a production line. On one installation in Korea, the technology is printing directly to steel on a line running at 50m/min. For InkTec it is an application that consumes vast amounts of ink. “Industrial printing is one of our fastest growing areas,” he adds. “What we are learning from industrial printing, we can use in commercial printing.”

It had been a journey to get the new Jetrix to this point. “We have a queue of people wanting to see it,” says Kim. Among these are existing Jetrix users looking for a more productive machine than current models while maintaining the high quality that has allowed the output to be used for large high resolution displays of tiny insects. The exhibition that resulted has gone on tour having started at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

“We are looking at customers that have bought SwissQprint machines,” says Kim. “Theirs is a very good machine, but it is very expensive.” The Jetrix LXi8 will match the 200m2/hr output thanks to 16 print heads delivering CMYK a primer and white.

And the use of LED UV to cure the print will eliminate the tendency of mercury vapour lamps to produce slight differences when in bidirectional print modes. It also runs 20ºC lower than with conventional UV lamps, allowing the press to print heat sensitive materials, with no ozone generation and lower power consumption.

Other aspects of the technology include the ability slow down or pause printing and then restart from the same point without loss of quality and without having to discard the job and material printed to that point.

The zonal vacuum bed is helped by a three-pin registration system using pins that rise from the bed. Sensors in the print head carriage stop the machine should the pins remain raised or other impediment which might damage print heads be in the way of the carriage movement.

Part of the delay in reaching market has been caused by completing the software for the icon based touch screen interface. This was finished a couple of months ago, says Kim. “We are 85% ready. In a few more weeks we will be ready to ship.”

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Celebration time

Celebration time

Inktec Europe managing director Joey Kim looks on as CEO Kwoon Chung cuts the cake to mark the company's 25th anniversary. The ceremony took place at Sign & Digital where the company launched the Jetrix LXi8 flatbed LED UV press.

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