12 February 2019 Digital Printing Technologies

Uteco will lead with Kodak's new generation inkjet

The Italian packaging press specialist will work with Kodak on implementation of the new Ultrastream inkjet head.

Uteco has deepened its relationship with Kodak, signing to be one of the first companies to use the much heralded Ultrastream inkjet printhead.

The Italian packaging press producer uses Kodak’s Prosper technology in the Sapphire Evo 300m/min hybrid inkjet press and has started to gain traction with the press. Ultrastream is a new generation of the same continuous inkjet technology offering a resolution up to 1800x600dpi and throughput up to 150m/min. The first fruits of this partnership are likely to be seen in 2020, with Drupa following hard on the heels of Interpack in Dusseldorf ideal platforms for any introduction.

Ultrastream returns to the electrically charged deflection principal that was established with earlier generations of Kodak’s continuous inkjet technology. Prosper uses a stream of air to blow smaller droplets of ink into a collection bath, leaving larger droplets to reach the substrate.

This cuts the speed while increasing the potential resolution. Importantly it is a more compact less complex technology, while continuing to use water based inks and varnishes. This increases the appeal to packaging companies where the demand is for short run versioning according to Uteco group CEO Aldo Peretti.

“Our customers are looking for sustainably advantaged hybrid digital production solutions to enable short run versioning with compelling economics,” he says.

“Combining traditional flexo and gravure, along with digital inkjet technologies, these solutions optimise film handling, priming, post-coating and drying to deliver the performance required by the packaging market. Kodak’s proprietary continuous inkjet system continues to be technology of choice to deliver great quality, productivity and running cost for these industry leading packaging solutions.”

Uteco has used Prosper heads on the Sapphire Evo, jointly developed by Uteco and Kodak. There are two installations in Italy and a third has been sold to Japanese packaging printer Kinyosha. It was laughed officially at an open house at the Verona factory during the Print4All exhibition in Milan in May last year.

“The sale of the third Sapphire Evo confirms the high level of interest that we have seen from the open house,” says Peretti.

This will continue to be the high speed machine running on a 650mm wide web using flexo to print white on a clear film or where there are static elements. The opportunity with Ultrastream is for a higher quality printed result on a variety of materials.

At the same Print4All that Sapphire Evo received its commercial launch, Uteco showed Gaia, a roll to roll label press using Fujifilm printheads running with inks that are cured by electron beam technology.

By Gareth Ward

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Uteco Sapphire

Uteco Sapphire

Uteco has built three of the Sapphire Evo inkjet presses for flexible packaging applications and will begin work on a new press to take advantage of the new high quality Ultrastream continuous inkjet printhead. The fruits of this development are likely to be unveiled at an exhibition in Dusseldorf in the first half of next year.

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