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In this commodity from 1995*, Barry Hunt looked at Indigo’s latest agenda colour** press, how it heralded a new affiliate in characterization converting technology and acceptable implications for the industry

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It is adamantine to ascertain the moment back an over-hyped ‘revolutionary’ technology becomes a astute proposition, but it seems to accept accustomed with Indigo’s web-fed Omnius One-Shot Colour System. It augments the sheet-fed E-Print 1000 launched in 1993. Since afresh a few added brief agenda colour presses accept additionally captured the acuteness of printers and repro houses.

The 330mm advanced Omnius is abnormally configured for the label, packaging and adorning columnist markets. Engraph, the USA’s better ambassador of affection prime labels, has ordered an bearding number. The DeLuxe Corporation, a above cheque printer, and A Gellis & Sons, a arch Israeli ambassador of adjustable packaging already use Omnius presses. The Moore Corporation, alive in both forms and labels, has additionally ordered several models.

Depending aloft configuration, the six-colour agenda columnist prints on a array of materials, including pressure-sensitive labelstocks. Indigo sees the food, beverage, biologic and claimed affliction sectors as prime markets for brief personalised labels. Significantly, Indigo NV (based in Maastricht) has cardinal OEM agreements with Gallus and Comco. Both companies are developing Omnius-based characterization presses, which they will advertise at Labelexpo Europe ‘95 in Brussels (October 11-14).

Packaging abstracts could accommodate bottomless blur and antithesis laminates, folding carton lath to 280gsm, metal or artificial containers. Indigo additionally targets adorning printing, alignment from customised bowl tiles to signage, CDs and toys.

Benny Landa, Indigo’s architect and CEO, spelt out the possibilities to the barter columnist recently. ‘Besides aperture up new brief markets for absolute products, the Omnius additionally creates absolutely new targeted products. For example, a addition angishore could action its own custom-branded products. Hotels and restaurants could action their own private-label wines. Even beverages served at weddings could buck a account of the helpmate and groom. This is the alpha of a agenda era for abounding products.’

As with cyberbanking printing, agenda imaging agency one or added capricious capacity with anniversary revolution. The aforementioned assumption applies to presses from Xeikon and Agfa (with the Xeikon-based Chromapress) and Heidelberg, with its GTO-DI press. Unlike absolute or arising systems based on dry toner crumb imaging or ink jet technology, Indigo uses a amalgam account process. Its ElectroInk aqueous toner technology combines electrophotography (using a altered imaging blanket) and offset-style printing.

The One-Shot Colour Arrangement transfers all colour separations to the imaging absolute in arrangement with anniversary revolution. It afresh accouterment the absolute colour angel in annals to the substrate, appropriately ‘one shot’.

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Label developments

An alternate web augment overcomes the limitations of a single-size cylinder. Gallus acclimated this assumption on the T250 to advance the DO 330 with basic Omnius book engine. An electronically-controlled web augment arrangement allows post-imaging flat-bed or rotary die cutting, UV lamination, hot-foil backyard and awning printing. Subject to modifications, accepted blueprint are a book breadth of 437mm and book amplitude of 308mm. Book speeds depend on colours, alignment from 4,000 impressions/hour distinct colour to 666 iph for six-colours.

Comco’s Indigo adaptation is accepted about the end of 1995, says Rolf Reichley at Comco Europe. Already afresh an cyberbanking web carriage provides the articulation amid the book agent and such processing ancillaries as flat-bed awning columnist and hot-foil stamping. Web infeeds will absorb loops as a anatomy of absorber storage.

Again, final installed amount is a prime consideration, address in apperception the aerial amount of consumables and the book agent itself. The fast availability of die tooling, accustomed the on-demand attributes of this technology, is addition consideration.

Pricing levels to authorize costs per consequence abide a bankrupt book. Indigo does not animadversion about on pricing, admitting accessible interests here. Rather, it states it is not in a cost-driven industry, but instead emphasises the amount added element. The aggregation will advertise account prices to abeyant users of Omnius and E-Print 1000 upgrades at Drupa ‘95, area it will affectation a dozen machines.

‘Based on US experience, best barter go for leasing plans, with archetypal account payments of $10,000. Hardware is accordingly a accessory issue. With accessible costs, users charge to analyze added-value markets to absolve end-user prices. In added words, converting barter from a accomplishment action to a service-based process,’ says Dr Giora Yaron, Indigo’s president.

To advice barter assure their investments adjoin obsolescence, both systems accommodate modular cyberbanking apparatus to acquiesce simple upgrades. The all-encompassing book agent has a continued life, but is replaceable.

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Indigo says it is too aboriginal – or conceivably absurd – to authorize abstracts administering economical run lengths, which can be as baby as one copy. In characterization columnist for example, the Omnius prints 70,000 labels in the time it takes to make-ready a accepted press. Abundant beneath runs will administer already the markets accept the ability of cyberbanking printing.

Several Electrolnk formulations baby for alone applications. Environmentally, the action uses no bubbler solutions or requires any appropriate ventilation. The inks accommodated all-embracing aliment packaging standards. Besides CMYK, users can accommodate argent and gold brownish inks, beaming and bespoke colours that abide constant from job to job.

Digital book takes off

How abundant absorption is there in brief agenda colour? Plenty it seems. Indigo saw gross revenues zoom from $3.2 actor for the third division of 1993 to $25.7 actor for the aforementioned aeon in 1994. Currently it has installed over 180 E-Print 1000s mainly in the USA, Japan and Europe, in barter repro houses, account bureaux and bartering printers.

Indigo has 18 years of acquaintance of cyberbanking printing. Its R&D, service, training and accomplishment address are a Tel Aviv, although one third of its 1,000 advisers are amid alfresco Israel. There are bristles absolute sales and abutment offices in the USA and bristles in Europe. It has all-around distributors in nine countries. Among them is Toyo Ink, which articles Electrolnk beneath authorization and sells lndigo articles in Japan, the Far East and Australia.

Having accustomed a abject in bartering cyberbanking printing, the aggregation wants to echo this action for packaging and adorning products. On-demand publishing and appointment markets will eventually follow, although any office-based articles would reflect aggressive pricing, rather than aerial affection colour printing.

‘Following ten years of amazing improvements [to Electrolnk and associated actor technology], we launched the E-Print 1000 and surpassed xerographic quality. Now we are on a abrupt affection ambit and apprehend to abide there for abounding years to come,’ said Benny Landa.

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Initially the aggregation saw aerial account affection as the benchmark, it now feels it has equalled, if not surpassed, these standards. The declared ambition is not a columnist process, but silver-halide colour photography. Realistically it knows such aerial standards are not accessible aural a columnist framework, but it aims for them nonetheless.

Colour analogue

High Analogue Imaging (HDI) is a footfall in this direction. Additionally accessible as an advancement for absolute E-Print 1000s, it gives high-edge analogue with awning rulings of over 200 lines/inch (32 x 32 dots/mm). The key is proprietary continuous-tone abstracts compression with on-the-fly awning generation.

Dr Giora Yaron said this gave a abstracts alteration amount of 600 megabits/second (three times the above rate). ‘During 1994 we upgraded and adapted machines to accommodated customers’ expectations, such as improving, screening, angel accord and bendability from apparatus to apparatus or folio to page. Formats were added to A3, additional drain and 11 x 17 inches, additional bleed.’

A new personalisation affection accustomed every ‘page’ to backpack several anchored or capricious elements, alien and alloyed from alien databases. The arrangement passes blueprint and job analogue through the E-Rip raster angel processor for compression as bit-maps for extenuative to deejay and loading to memory. Decompression and on-the-fly artifice follows at the columnist stage, giving real-time personalised applications.

Layout XTension embraces desktop personalisation. For example, as a Quark XPress addendum it allows Apple Macintosh users to ascertain blueprint and job ambit of personalised or targeted products.

Also new is 4-Fi Color. Indigo claims it expands the colour ambit and enriches colour assimilation levels above accepted account colour standards. It is accordant with DuPont’s HyperColor software. Having invested heavily in its own screening technology, the aggregation says users accretion no chief arete in appliance the latest stochastic, or FM, awning technology.

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Strategic partnerships

Besides Gallus and Comco, Indigo is alive with several OEM distributors, specialised abstracts suppliers and pre-press vendors to bazaar and abutment E-Print 1000 and Omnius products. The pre-press affair is decidedly acute in auspiciously amalgam any agenda printer with a front-end colour system.

To admission seamless interfaces, Indigo has cardinal partnerships with Scitex Corporation, Barco Graphics, Dainippon Screen, Linotype-Hell, Crosfield, Dalim and Xyvision (but not yet Purup Prepress). A software account allows accordant colour arrangement adjoin industry standards.

Users can admission either PostScript or proprietary book administration platforms. For example, the Scitex articulation involves its Impak PS arrangement appliance either PostScript or Scitex HandShake platforms. Barco Graphics intends to interface a committed adaptation of its FastRip, appliance industry-standard protocols and formats, to the Omnius. This follows a agnate PostScript and proprietary book administration accord with Xeikon, in which Barco has a stake.

Avery Dennison, 3M and the Moore Corporation will advance and accumulation acceptable labelstocks. Anniversary will action such abstracts to Indigo OEMs, distributors and characterization end-users. Also, the aggregation is allied with Cookson Matthey, a above UK architect of bowl articles and a arch printer of adorning bowl products.

The Avery Dennison articulation allows Omnius users to admission a ample ambit of committed Fasson self-adhesive abstracts for labels and tags. Similarly, 3M has ample acquaintance in characterization materials, including anti-counterfeiting and tamper-evident products.

The aggregation accurately affairs to advance downtimes and utilisation. This will entail greater accent on the training element, including ambience up a European training academy in April this year. The new basement and added believability agency users no best accept to install two machines, with on-site support, as in the aboriginal canicule of the E-Print 1000.

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As far as labelling is concerned, any appliance of agenda colour columnist charge represent a cogent footfall forwards. For the aboriginal time it is commercially accessible to go from absolute ascribe of afar colour files through to automatic reel-to-reel assembly beneath one roof.

Furthermore, the columnist action requires a minimum of abettor action or downtime. It accordingly addresses two arresting demands: beneath runs with college quality. But the actuality that every printed angel could be altered adds a third and awful able aspect that accords with avant-garde business practices. Seemingly, forecasts that characterization converting technology could alter abundantly by the about-face of the aeon accept greater credibility.

*This assessment commodity was aboriginal appear in Labels & Labeling affair 2, 1995

**This archetype is a absolute archetype of the commodity as originally published

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Barry Hunt is an beat adviser to Labels & Labeling.

He was ahead the magazine’s abstruse editor. With added than 35 years of acquaintance in the clear arts industry, he is a arch all-around ascendancy on abstruse trends.

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