15 March 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

New presses to keep Indigo ahead of the pack

Indigo is pushing the performance of its liquid toner technology to put distance between it and dry toner and to stave off the challenge from inkjet.

HP Indigo will meet the challenge that B2 inkjet presses pose to its business with a version of its liquid electrophotographic technology capable of printing 6,000 colour sheets an hour.

And HP Indigo promises that the HP Indigo 100K will be a reliable, high quality press as well as a fast one. Currently the only B2 sheetfed inkjet machines available are the Fujifilm Jetpress 750S and the Konica Minolta KM-1/Komori IS-29. However, competition is expected to increase this year with new and faster machines that had been anticipated to appear at Drupa.

The Indigo 100K has been at beta sites since last summer to iron out bugs and ensure that the the company can give accurate up time data when asked. It uses a new litho press style gripper system to present the paper to the impression drum. The is designed reduce the number of misfeeds and paper jams. Paper is still fed from four feeder bins and a stack.

It is designed for industrial levels of productivity Indigo general manager Alon Bar-Shany says, dubbing it “the Born to Run press”. The company has gone back to the drawing board he says to come up with a simplified design for the imaging unit and the paper path to deliver the 6,000sph performance. This is achieved in EPM mode using three colours only. Printing with black reduces speed to 4,500sph while in theory printing black only could run at 18,000sph. It will not, but indicates the direction of Indigo’s thinking.

It needs to increase the productivity of its presses to keep a clear distance between Indigo and the pack of Japanese toner machines that are snapping at its heels and offer a lower entry cost.

Indigo is taking these on with revisions to its Indigo 7x presses. The new Indigo 7K is the versatile model now printing on heat transfer materials and 550 micron substrates; the 7 Eco is the entry level machine offering silver as a fifth colour while the lowest priced Indigo is the 7r refurbished machine.

The B2 platform with series 4 print engines, is extended with the 15K as a press with HD print options, additional colours and features to make this the machine for most commercial printers. The 12000, now superseded as the flagship of the range, can be upgraded in the field to meet most of the specifications of the 15K.

The increasing focus on packaging results in the 25K, the new version of the flexible packaging machine and the 35K for carton printers. This has undergone significant changes in order to kick start demand from carton printers with improved Tresu coater and Spot Master colour engine to prioritise the brand colour across machines, during a run or a later reprint. This is also part of the package for the 25K.

The 90K is perhaps the most intriguing machine. It takes the frame of the webfed 25K and adds a sheeter to print B1 sheets. This responds to demands for this format from carton printers, though Bar Shany points out that the majority of short run cartons are covered by the B2 format. The 90K might also appeal to poster printers.

The postponement of Drupa will deprive the industry of sight of the Indigo V12, a 340mm wide label press capable of absorbing longer run flexo work into the digital world. It will run at 140m/min thanks to a configuration that uses an image transfer belt passing six imaging engines, each laying down one colour to the belt which is then transferred to the substrate by the OneShot process. As each imaging unit is linked to two colours, the press can print up to 12 colours. It will link to a rewind unit or to an AB Graphics Digicon finishing line.

Indigo has intended to bring two V12s to Drupa even though first shipments will not be made until 2022. By April 2021 when Drupa will next open its doors, the technology will be a year away from first deliveries.