28 June 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

Konica Minolta tweaks inkjet for evolved performance

Konica Minolta has improved the versatility of the KM-1 B2 inkjet press, with an emphasis on productivity.

Konica Minolta has delivered a tweaked version of its KM1 B2 inkjet press, that is now the KM1E, with E for evolved. It is in effect a relaunch for the press with an eye to expanding its appeal to commercial printers.

Sheet size remains at 585x750mm, claimed as the largest of any half sheet format digital press, though this is matched by the Fujifilm Jetpress 750S introduced last year. The format provides space for five A4 pages to view, or importantly for six US letter sized pages. This means the 3,000sph press will produce 300 of the US pages a minute.

There have been extensions to range of media, to now include metallised, textured, transparent and other synthetic materials, to improve the handling of the thinnest papers (0.06mm). An API kit to enable connection to third party finishing equipment is available as is a tape inserter, both helping to automate production. The press is also open to any workflow, not only Konica Minolta’s own systems.

The most significant change however is likely to be improvements to maintenance required. Many of these changes are beneath the hood. “We needed to push for mechanical improvements to upgrade and improve maintenance times so that the press can run for longer without service,” says Nuno Sacadura. The company is not providing details at this point. It has made changes to the printheads used while retaining a 1200dpi imaging resolution. Nor are there details on price, this being dependent on local market conditions.

The expansion of what the LED cured UV press can print will include labels, not to challenge the Konica Minolta AccurioLabel range, but to handle shorter runs that a commercial printer offering a full service capability might need to produce. The ability to handle material to 0.6mm thick makes the press suitable for carton work, though use of UV inks rather than water based may be a limiting factor for the types of carton users can produce.

The press retains the sheet reversing technology developed by Komori, delivering precision on back to back register that other inkjet technologies cannot match. The KM1E uses a high viscosity UV cured ink which is heated in the print head to ensure it can be fired easily and which does not spread on contact with the substrate, even in the fraction of a second before hitting the LED array, says Konica Minolta.

The press also has an offset style 900mm suction feed pile rather than multiple paper bins on Konica Minolta’s toner presses. This suits the commercial printer more than an inplant. However, while there are 100 of the presses installed worldwide, Konica Minolta has just 12 installations of the first version across Europe, including Colourfast in the UK.

The latest is at Baron & Fils in Paris, which received its press during the lockdown in France. And there is at least one of the new models on the ground, though Konica Minolta is not saying where.

It remains behind Fujifilm in the European installation base and well behind HP Indigo as a supplier of B2 digital presses. It will be hoping that the KM1E can start to close the gap.

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Konica Minolta is in effect relaunching its B2 sheetfed inkjet press, tweaking it, improving up time and designating it the KM-1e.

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