EFI Unveils High-Speed, Single-Pass Inkjet Press for Corrugated Boards

When I submitted my article about “What’s Next for Single-Pass Inkjet Printing?” for the June/July issue of Screen Printing magazine, not all of the drupa news about single-pass inkjet printers had been announced. So I will be reporting some updates on this blog.

At drupa 2016, Electronics for Imaging (EFI) announced new EFI™ Nozomi single-pass LED industrial inkjet technology that can reach up to 75 linear meters (248 linear feet) per minute. According to EFI’s CEO Guy Gecht, “EFI’s next generation of innovation brings to market the strongest combination of versatility, imaging quality, and production speeds at a total cost of ownership that is far below similar single-pass platforms.”

The media handling, inks, and software platforms for EFI’s new Nozomi single-pass inkjet platform were designed by top engineering, software, and ink teams from across EFI.

EFI’s first use of the technology in the new 1.8 meter EFI Nozomi C18000 inkjet press for high-speed corrugated board production. EFI plans to incorporate the core Nozomi inkjet technology platform into new, high-volume printers for the signage market and other industries.

EFI Nozomi C18000
EFI Nozomi C18000

EFI Nozomi C18000

The EFI Nozomi C18000 is a sheetfed digital packaging press that can print on boards up to 1.8m x 3m in size. It has run speeds of up to 8,100 square meters/hour. A double-lane printing feature makes it possible it print up to 9,000 80cm x 60cm boards per hour.

The LED imaging capabilities provide brilliant, accurate color on just about any corrugated board, including Kemi, Model, and bleached and natural kraft corrugated boards.

According to EFI, the EFI Nozomi C18000 press was not adapted from single-pass printers developed for other markets. Instead, it was built from the ground up specifically for a $130 billion corrugated packaging industry that involves more than 200 billion square meters of printed output each year – or about 25 times greater than the estimated amount of signage and graphics output each year.

To create the EFI Nozomi, EFI combined some of the best features from other development operations, including:

precision, single-pass inkjet imaging systems from U.S. based EFI Jetrion® digital press facilities and the company’s Cretaprint™ ceramic decoration printer operations in Spain. advanced LED inkjet innovations from EFI’s global ink development centers superwide-format press technology from EFI’s U.S. based VUTEk® operations scalable Fiery® digital front end processing and management technology from EFI’s Silicon Valley development center; and cloud-based remote diagnostics and support advancements from EFI’s technical hub in Bengaluru, India

EFI’s engineering, software, and ink teams focused on understanding the unique needs of the corrugated industry and leveraging the latest technology to develop a revolutionary solution.

Users will be able to increase their productivity with digital in nearly any board application, running everything from 14-point cardstock to a full range of corrugated flutes —A, B, C, D, E, F, G, N, O, AB, AC, BC, EF, EF, and triple wall —without slowing down the press.

The corrugated board press prints up to seven colors, including white, and provides high-quality output with resolutions up to 360 x 720 dots per inch with four-level grayscale imaging.

An in-line primer will give customers control over dot gain and ink absorption on different types of corrugated top sheets.

A 100% in-line image-quality inspection system on the press is tied to robust print optimization technologies, including inkjet nozzle, alignment, and uniformity correction for the highest possible imaging quality. The Nozomi press’s permanent head architecture eliminates the downtime associated with replacing consumable printheads.

Energy-Efficient “Cool-Cure” LED Imaging

The Nozomi C18000 will help redefine sustainability in corrugated board production by enabling supply-chain improvements in ink, energy usage, and inventory.

Industrial users of this digital press can eliminate wasteful warehousing of analog-printed packaging and switch to a leaner method of just-in-time delivery of packaging materials matched to each product-manufacturing run.

EFI cool-cure LED UV technology is designed to consumer less power and use fewer materials than systems that use high-power lamps to ensure proper image adhesion.

Printed output from the EFI Nozomi C18000 has received certification for OCC (old corrugated containers) recyclability from the Western Michigan University Recycling, Paper, and Coating pilot plant. Brands can include the certification’s recyclability logo on corrugated board packaging, displays, and other products printed on the press.

Fast, integrated workflow

The press will run with EFI’s new high-performance Fiery XB, bladed-architecture digital front-end. This system will provide fast, efficient job processing and eliminate downtime spent waiting for jobs. It includes Fiery job-management, imposition, and automation tools for peak efficiency.

Plus, the new Fiery DFE for the Nozomi C18000 press will completely integrate with the end-to-end manufacturing execution system (MES) and ERP technologies in EFI’s Packaging and Corrugated Packaging Suites. The system also integrates with Esko workflows for streamlined management, including dynamic scheduling, shop-floor data collection, and more.

EFI also offers fully integrated top- and bottom-feed options, using a patented system that also handles media separation, lift, transport, and alignment at full press speeds. Programmable features support faster, automatic feeding configuration for repeat jobs.

EFI plans to start installations of the Nozomi C18000 press within the next 12 months.

“When it’s commercially available next year, the Nozomi C18000 press will finally give the corrugated packaging market a unique solution to establish a profitable business around on-demand, customized digital printing,” said Gecht.