13 March 2016 Digital Printing Technologies

Short run online printer is first with KM-1 inkjet jet press from Konica Minolta

German printer PLS, operating as Overnight Prints, is the beta site for B2 inkjet press as it seeks alternative to instant on litho printing.

Europe’s first user of the Konica Minolta KM-1 B2 inkjet press is an online printer that specialises in short fast turnaround print runs.

Print Logistics Systems in Leipzig is part of the Overnight Prints group, formed in the US. The UV inkjet press was delivered at the end of January for a six-month beta test programme. “We specialise in print runs from 1-1,000,” says PLS president Arndt Eschenlohr. “We are the only online printing company to print with short train inking and without water.”

The KBA Gravuflow technology that the company uses means a makeready in minutes with just five waste sheets. However, this technology is no longer available and Eschenlohr says the need was for a replacement technology that would deliver a match for offset quality with no increase in waste levels. “It’s important that we have no more than 5-10 waste sheets. Other online printers with conventional litho presses will expect to run 70-100 waste sheets on much longer runs. We are oriented towards short runs, so cannot do this.”

This led to investigation of digital alternatives to the KBA technology, resulting in looking at inkjet options.

“We can’t currently do this on toner devices due to our clients’ demand for exceptional quality,” he says. The UV cured ink means that a sheet is fully dry in the delivery for immediate handling in finishing.

Before committing to taking the KM-1 as a beta test, PLS visited Japan to run print trials to be reassured about quality and reliability. Within the Overnight Prints organisation there are two HP Indigo 10000s and a Fujifilm Jetpress 720, giving the company the chance to compare the performance of the three currently available B2 sheetfed inkjet presses.

The KM-1’s performance compared to the waterless litho press and other digital technologies will run until June. PLS will also be looking at opportunities in short run packaging.

“The main reason for the installation is that we want to continue with the low waste priority. Offset is no longer usable for us.”

The commercial launch of the KM-1 will be the highlight of Drupa for Konica Minolta, It will be teamed with an MGI Jetfoil to demonstrate production of high value packaging with a link to DirectSmile and to Markomi, a cross media workflow and content personalisation application.

The KM-1 “will cost between €1-2 million,” says Olaf Lorenz, general manager of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe’s international marketing division. “Price will depend on the clients and the business cases. Operational cost will be driven by coverage, but we want to get to an ink out model rather than a click charge.”

There will be no clear barrier between customers for the KM-1 and those buying the Impremia IS29 from Komori. “We are looking at different parts of the market and have different existing clients.

“We have experience in digital that Komori doesn’t. It needs a lot of know-how in variable data and a dedicated organisation to create the business case for the customer, otherwise you are just selling the box.”

The Drupa stand will be themed around production of print collateral associated with a rock band, from posters to tickets to CD inlays and so on. It will also feature the launch of the BizHub 1250e and C71tf label press “our first step into the industrial printing segment”.

It will also include large format inkjet presses from EFI Vutek. Lorenz says: “Konica Minolta will resell EFI’s large format machines. We are selecting products that have not been sold extensively by EFI in Europe because they are at the lower scale of the range.”

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KM-1 inkjet press

KM-1 inkjet press

PLS has joined users in Japan and the US as beta sites for Konica Minolta's KM-1 B2 inkjet press. The company is an online printer specialising in very short runs from a factory in Leipzig, Germany.

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