MGI has announced a modular print embellishment line, called i-Ris, for small format sheets and with the ability to run inline with a digital press. It was shown off at a two-day open house event near Paris, where the foiling and varnishing line was connected to a Konica Minolta sheetfed press.
This was a technology demonstration for 500 mainly French visitors. A market ready version will be at Drupa, where the MGI's Alphajet will be the focus of its stand.
The machine on show featured a flexo station, UV varnish, UV dryer, and foiling unit. Registration units control the sheet as it enters the line and ahead of the spot UV varnish station. In effect it is a use of technologies that MGI has developed either for its Meteor sheetfed digital press or for its JetVarnish embellishment line, but developed for a smaller format.
Thus the toner print technology from Meteor is used to apply toner ahead of flat foiling; spot varnishing from the JetVarnish can apply a flat or a raised varnish, with iFoil system to apply a hot foil over these. The UV curing station chosen over one using LED curing to broaden the styles of varnish that can be applied. The Konica Minolta inkjet array can deliver high build effects as well as laying down the adhesive for the hot foil application.
The flexo unit is an option to apply a primer which will open up a wider range of papers and substrates to include uncoated papers and cards, says MGI.
While there is a close connection between MGI and Konica Minolta, which owns 40% of the French business, which made the choice of a KM sheetfed press obvious, the i-Ris will not be restricted to these digital presses. With a suitable interface and connection that allows the line to accept a single file for the press to be controlled by the finishing line, other presses can be used. The i-Ris can also run as an offline unit.
Expected applications will cover greetings cards and low volume, high value packaging. The opportunity has also been identified by the likes of Xerox with its best selling Irisdesse press which can print two additional colours above CMYK from a choice of gold and silver, clear and white.
The prime purpose of the event was the official launch of the AccurioLabel 230 ahead of Labelexpo in September. This is the most productive yet of the Konica Minolta label press family running at 23m/minute.
By Gareth Ward