An Uteco Sapphire Evo M inkjet web press is on its way to a customer in the US, following successful acceptance trials.
The press is a mid web press using Kodak Prosper Stream continuous feed inkjet heads, configured to print on an inkjet optimised film for short run packaging applications. The unnamed customer is the third to opt for the joint venture press, following successful installations in Italy and Japan.
The supplier says that the destination company is a printer with “applications requiring large quantities of short run jobs”. This is a relatively undeveloped market as yet. A number of label press suppliers are hoping to appeal to flexible packaging printers; HP Indigo’s 20000 and 20K presses have the most installations, thanks in a large part to multiple installations at fast developing ePac; inkjet machines have been announced by Screen, Fujifilm and Miyakoshi. And as well as this machine, the Kodak-Uteco partnership has the Uteco Sapphire Evo W, a full width inkjet press that uses Ultrastream print heads. Announced, but undelivered as yet is the Landa W10.
The Uteco Sapphire Evo M prints on a 650mm wide web and is reckoned to be cost effective to runs of 20,000 m2, before the speed of a conventional flex press with its costs of plate production overtake the Sapphire.
However, the key benefit comes from changing a business model that depends on printing for storage into one which is much closer to print on demand and in quantities that can be used immediately. Uteco reckons that conventional flexo print requires a two week turnaround compared to a two day turnaround using Kodak's inkjet technology.
“It provides an efficient way for packaging printers and converters to meet brand owners' increasing need for fast, cost effective and high quality production of short and medium runs,” says Uteco president and CEO Aldo Peretti, with Kodak senior vice president, print, Randy Vandergriff adding: “The latest sales success is clear evidence that the Sapphire is set to become on of the leading solutions worldwide for digital flexible packaging printing.”
Uteco has a third customer for the Sapphire EVO M inkjet flexible packaging press, which will bring it a machine in operation in Asia, Europe and now North America. The press is aimed at short to medium run flexible packaging print.