Very good print quality, novel design, quick speed, long and sure to give competitors pause, the newest Canon inkjet web press is worth a look.
I traveled to Poing Germany, outside of Munich, with executives from more than 100 printing companies and 22 countries for Canon’s unveiling of the Océ ProStream 1000 inkjet web press last week. We were not disappointed — while the newest press in the Canon product line has a novel design that makes for one heck of a long machine (57.4’ end-to-end) — its print quality is first rate.
Canon ProStream 1000
ProStream draws on Canon’s seven years of full-color inkjet press sales. Samples produced before we arrived had deep, smooth solids. Printed on a variety of coated and uncoated papers, overall the results approached offset print quality. Some areas exhibited a small amount of banding, which could be overcome with software adjustments as beta testers put more and more paper through the first ProStream presses. Nevertheless, Canon says that test results indicate the inkjet technology has a superior color gamut than offset printing does on coated and uncoated media.
My key takeaways were:
- The water-cooled inkjet heads, jointly developed with Kyocera, have more than 5,000 piezo drop-on-demand nozzles per array. The heads jet droplets at 1200 x 1200 dpi with multi-level droplet size modulation (2 picoliter and 5.6 picoliter) at full speed.
- A new ink, using polymers at a nano scale to encapsulate the pigment, have been developed specifically for Océ ProStream.
- The ink’s polymer component is designed to protect the image while fusing the droplets to the paper surface. Bright colors and dense blacks are enabled by the polymer and pigment combination that results in what Canon says is nearly perfect light reflection.
- Each of the two print towers is equipped with 6 imaging stations (CMYK stations, ColorGrip, one open slot) and a drying unit. The towers each contain 150’ of paper.
- The appropriately named ColorGrip fluid is used on coated and uncoated papers to improve ink droplet positioning and detail sharpness. ColorGrip increases the color gamut and humidifies the gap between the paper and printheads to ensure a more reliable print process.
- The 16’ long floatation dryer uses hot air, not IR or UV energy. The dryers consume less than 3 1/2 times the power of ColorStream digital presses. Although quite long, Canon says the dryer is designed for minimal paper stress without intermediate rollers.
- Add in the novel turn bar system — which actually takes the web which has been simplex printed outside of the press for viewing and then into the second inkjet print unit — and there is more than 300’ of paper in the press in a twin configuration.
Canon ProStream External Web Path
Source: Pete Basiliere
- Unlike ColorStream presses, the ProStream requires the press be running close to rated speed before printing begins. As a result, after a press stop more than 150’ of paper is used before the first saleable image is printed.
- The operator control panel at the rewind end of the press is a state-of-the-art touchscreen display; a similar panel will likely be added to the unwind end.
- While customers with the space will likely install the ProStream in a straight-line as shown in the photo. Operators walking from one end to the other — or around to the back of the press — will have quite a hike. An L-shape configuration will be available, reducing the walk time somewhat.
Canon has already built two ProStream presses — the one in Poing and a second that was unveiled at the Hunkeler Innovation Days in Lucerne Switzerland. The company has purchase orders for a total of five presses, is optimistic that a sixth sale will come through shortly and forecasts 25 presses will be sold in 2017 once general availability is announced in the second half of this year. Each press has a $1.6 million price tag.
With a 21.25” web path and running 262’ per minute, the Océ ProStream makes a compelling case for short-run color inkjet jobs, especially when they can be produced back-to-back without stopping. Senior and operations managers at commercial printing companies and in-plant operations, particularly those producing direct mail and marketing collateral, should evaluate the ProStream 1000 for their operations.
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