Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Is Ink Jet Fast Enough?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Is Ink Jet Fast Enough?

Article excerpt

Digital print technology has made tremendous strides in the past five years, especially in the transactional print, direct mail, and book-publishing segments. Further penetration of inkjet into truly commercial printing was expedited last year, as 2012 saw more coated, treated papers come on line suitable for inkjet printing. The wider, web-fed inkjet presses now can run up to 1,000 fpm, or 5,000 8.3 x 11.7-inch A4 pages per minute, at 133-lines-per-inch resolution. Some imprint head modules can image nearly a mile of paper every 60 seconds, up to 5,000 fpm. (See above.)

"'Technology Watch' research shows that Kodak systems attain speeds of 1,000 fpm--and greater--daily on production plant floors," said editor/ consultant Henry Freedman, who spent more than 835 hours last year scrutinizing Stream and Prosper technologies. "Because we have found that Kodak presses not only print at a higher speed but also can print at a higher quality at a higher speed than other presses, we are confident in declaring that Kodak is class-leading," Freedman concluded. The newsletter's eight-page, spring 2012 edition details his findings, looking "under the hood" of the 1000 model and examining the Prosper design, including ink, print heads, and media.

Still, Jim Hamilton, group director at market research/consulting firm InfoTrends, and other industry analysts question whether color inkjet web printing speeds ever will be fast enough for true, mainstream newspaper applications--even with light ink coverage on uncoated bond paper. That is why we are seeing hybrid configurations in this segment, too, such as Kodak's aforementioned Prosper imprinting systems and KBA's 30. …

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