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Analog-to-digital future is now

Single-pass inkjet press for corrugated board production

EFI announced its biggest inkjet product development to date – the new EFI Nozomi single-pass LED technology, which can reach speeds up to 75 linear meters (246 linear feet) per minute. According to the company, the 1.8m-wide EFI Nozomi C18000 inkjet press will help corrugated manufacturers and brands access a wide color gamut and broader design options in corrugated board work with fast turnaround times, all while maintaining low production costs. The sheetfed, digital packaging press has run speeds up to 8,100 m2 / hour and can print on boards up to 1.8mx3m in size.

“While other inkjet technologies are often developed to address signage or document printing and then adapted to corrugated packaging uses, this new EFI LED inkjet press has been designed from the ground up specifically for a $130 billion corrugated packaging industry that has more than 200 billion square meters of printed output per year — a figure that is more than 25-times greater than the estimated amount of annual signage and graphics output produced. When 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,” says Guy Gecht, CEO, EFI.

To create the press, EFI combined some of the best features from many of its 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 the company’s U.S.-based VUTEk operations; scalable Fiery digital front end (DFE) processing and management technology from EFI’s Silicon Valley development center; and cloud-based remote diagnostics and support advancements from the company’s Bengaluru, India, technical hub.

The corrugated board press prints in up to seven colors, including white, and provides high-quality output with resolutions up to 360×720 dots per inch with four-level grayscale imaging. An in-line primer gives control over dot gain and ink absorption on different types of corrugated top sheets. An in-line image quality inspection system on the press is tied to print optimization technologies, including inkjet nozzle, alignment and uniformity correction. The Nozomi press’s permanent head architecture eliminates the downtime associated with replacing consumable printheads.

In addition to the new corrugated packaging press, EFI will incorporate its core Nozomi inkjet technology platform into new, high-volume printers for the signage market and other industries.

Collaboration with Esko to provide unified workflow for packaging

EFI and Esko announced that they have signed a letter of intent to bring a combined workflow solution to market that will enable companies to produce packaging with a single seamless and integrated workflow.

This collaboration will connect EFI Fiery digital front ends (DFEs), Esko workflows, and EFI ERP/MIS solutions to provide a unified production eco-system for packaging companies. In addition, customers using the Esko workflow will be able to prepare jobs once for output and use EFI’s optimization tools to route them to their Fiery driven digital production devices with a single seamless experience.

EFI and Esko intend to develop a unified workflow for digital printing of packaging using EFI’s Fiery DFE combined with Esko’s workflow automation platform. The combined offering will be integrated to EFI’s ERP/MIS and Web-to-Print solutions to provide an end-to-end workflow from design to delivery for commercial print customers.
Beyond the DFE and workflow integration, EFI and Esko will also enhance their existing integration between Fiery DFEs and the full platform of Esko workflow tools as well as EFI’s ERP/MIS and Web-to-Print products.

“We’ve heard from many of our commercial print customers that their existing workflow tools, most of which were purchased with a CTP device, are just not flexible enough to help them expand the vast opportunity in digital packaging production,” says Toby Weiss, senior vice president and general manager, EFI Fiery. “Packaging is a key area of growth for EFI and our customers and many of our Fiery partners now offer great digital printers that are suitable for packaging production. We believe a Fiery and Esko combined solution will be the best way to meet this need in the packaging workflow space.”

“By combining the expertise and technology of two undisputed market leaders, EFI and Esko, we believe together we will offer a great solution for companies that want to enter packaging, as well as those packaging companies that already have an Esko workflow and want to get into digital printing,” says Bernard Zwaenepoel, senior VP, Software Business, Esko.

ERP-based packaging solutions

The EFI Packaging Suite 4.0 is the company’s latest ERP-based suite of software solutions which include 20 certified workflows that provide business and production automation for label and package converting environments. Each certified workflow combines the core EFI Radius ERP solution with modular, integrated components from EFI’s industry-leading portfolio, as well as with third-party technologies, such as Esko’s Automation Engine.

Packaging operations are able to configure their individual Packaging Suite workflow to address the specific production management needs for products they offer, including folding cartons, labels, shrink sleeves, in-mold labels, flexible packaging and blown film extrusion products.

“The Packaging Suite takes complexities out of the software implementation process, improving the day-to-day experience for users in their end-to-end label and packaging converting workflows,” says David Taylor, general manager, enterprise segment, EFI Productivity Software. “Converters and the brands they serve will benefit from key advancements in customer engagement and management, order acquisition, scheduling production, data collection and financial and business reporting.”

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