María Renée Ayau

María Renée Ayau

Fujifilm North America (Graphic Systems Division) and ZUND America announce collabo-ration. Through this, Fujifilm’s print service provider customers (US and Canada) will ob-tain access to Zund America, Inc.’s collection of cutting technologies and methods that will provide a comprehensive solution for packaging, marketing materials, and signage.

“We are pleased to work alongside Zund America, Inc., to answer the needs of our cus-tomers looking for cost-effective, successful cutting solutions,” said Todd Zimmerman, division president, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division. “As we move into the future of printing, and as integration and automation become increas-ingly important, it was critical for us to continue to evolve as it relates to finishing. With our combined efforts, Fujifilm and Zund America, Inc.’s digital cutting systems will offer specialized resources designed for professionals that need to deliver high quality and diverse products under tight turnarounds in an evolving market.”

Shaun Holdom, Drytac’s Global Product Manager, has been appointed to the ISA-UK council with 100 per cent support from his fellow council members.

The ISA-UK powered by BSGA is the trade association for the sign, graphics and visual communications industry and plays an essential role in uniting the members of this thriving community.

"Being appointed to the council is very exciting. Having a trade association that repre-sents all facets of the industry, shares knowledge and experience with every company and individual to help support and grow their business - especially over the coming months - is incredibly important.

I hope to bring my years of experience within all areas of inkjet and digital print to the association. It's essential we understand all the new methods for printing outside of the more traditional markets to help our members”, states Holdom.

Michael Makin, has been acting as executive VP since the alliance of SGIA and Printing Industries of America (PIA). PRINTING UNITED Alliance announced that he will no longer be in this position after January 1st, 2021, following a successful transition of the com-bined organizations.

“We are extremely grateful to Michael for not only his years of service to our industry and the membership of PIA, and for representing the industry from international venues to the halls of Congress, but most recently for his embrace of the vision of PRINTING United Alliance and a coming together of the industry in body and spirit,” said Ford Bowers, president and CEO, PRINTING United Alliance. “Without Michael, this would not have happened, and we are all better off for his taking the opportunity to bring two sig-nificant organizations together. We are certain he will contribute to whatever he puts his mind to, whatever that might be. Our well-wishes go with him and we look forward to hearing of his continued success”.

Friday, 08 January 2021 21:47

Agfa Introduces InterioJet

The InterioJet 3300 multi-pass printer is designed for printing onto decor paper for interior decor to create customized interior decorations on laminate floors and furniture.

This printer is an adaptation of the heavy-duty Jedi Tauro LED UV printing press, but with printheads, inks and drying system for water based inks. It can print on two rolls of 155 cms and 600kg at a time.

“The InterioJet 3300 will accelerate the transformation from analog (gravure) to digital printing in the laminated surface market,” states Tom Cloots, Director Industrial Inkjet for Agfa. “It is the ideal cost-efficient solution for medium and short production runs. “Its limited start-up time and high flexibility will enable suppliers of laminated surfaces to gain new business by responding to evolving market demands, including printing on demand and just-in-time delivery. The system allows interior decoration designers to let their creativity run free and create customized designs for every order.”

Tuesday, 21 July 2020 17:30

DGI Hercules

DGI is a Korean digital printer manufacturer that has been in the industry for many years, even decades. While DGI is owned by the one of the members of the Choi family, it is a completely separate company from Dilli; which is owned by another brother. DGI is dedicated to manufacturing textile and solvent ink digital printers, while Dilli manufactures UV curing printers.

DGI is one of the largest and most well known digital textile printer companies in the market; and this year they have launched their newest textile printer model which is the Hercules. Just like many companies that have been affected by the coronavirus, DGI has launched this product digitally.

The Hercules textile printer is designed for printing onto transfer paper, it comes with four colors CMYK of dye sublimation ink. And has a roll-to-roll structure and a width of 1.9 meters.

This printer can be used for small production companies or when you want to do test runs, maybe some sampling or for small design firms or print shops.

The structure of the Hercules printer is similar to the former DGIFD 1904 and FD 1908; which are both transfer paper printers with a roll-to-roll structure. Also, their characteristics are similar, so this might be the model that will replace both of those printers in the future.

The Hercules printer comes with Epson 4720 printheads that can achieve a drop size as small as 2.5 pl.

Recently transfer paper printers have become more and more popular especially for sportswear, decor, and fashion. Customization and personalization of items are important to customers and naturally DGI has been adapting to the customer needs.

Here is a chart with all the specs for the Hercules printer

Printhead Epson 4720
Ink DGI Original Dye Sublimation Ink
Media Transfer paper
Max Print Width 1,90 m
Max Media Load 1,94 m
Resolution (DPI) Max. 720 x 1,800 DPI
Rip Software Ergosoft (Optional:Inedit)
Color 4 Color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

DGI-Hercules

DGI Hercules printhead carriage


We hope in the near future we will be able to see this printer in action and evaluate it.


DGI-Hercules

Close up of the DGI Hercules printer



DGI-Hercules

DGI Hercukes transfer paper textile printer


Thursday, 11 June 2020 20:22

Fighting COVID-19 using UV

In light of the new COVID-19 spread (pun intended) scientists are not only looking for a cure but also ways to prevent the virus form spreading.

So far we know that alcohol can eliminate COVID-19 from surfaces and that antibacterial soap is also a great way to disinfect.

People are now speculating UV lights can kill the COVID-19 virus, but are they really effective? Even US President Donald Trump suggested using strong UV light to treat COVID-19 Patients. But that won't prevent or treat any cases of the disease, since UV lights can cause skin cancer.

The premise is not completely wrong or incorrect. For decades, scientists have known about the disinfection ability of ultraviolet wavelengths, specifically germicidal UV (also known as UV-C). This is where the main difference relies; regular UV lights are not the way to go, but what about UV-C?

What is the difference between UV and UV-C?

Let´s start from the beginning, sunlight contains three types of UV: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.

  • UV-A, which constitutes the majority of the ultraviolet radiation that, reaches the Earth´s surface and can penetrate the skin deeply, cause skin-aging, wrinkles and age spots.
  • UV-B can damage the DNA of the skin provoking sunburn and skin cancer, also caused by UV-A.
  • UV-C these are the shorter and more energetic wavelength lights, that can destroy genetic material in humans or viral particles. UV-C lights are filtered by ozone in the atmosphere
  • Use of UV-C for disinfecting

    According to Air Science website: “Ultraviolet light is proven to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. In light of the current Coronavirus outbreak, UV germicidal lamps are being used to aid in disinfection of air, surfaces and equipment within hospitals and healthcare facilities, to help reduce and control the spread of the virus”.

    The use of UV-C lights on different surfaces as a cleanser is well established in hospitals, it eliminates 95% of aerosolized H1N1 influenza, the flu and superbug.

    UV-C is used for disinfection with applications in water treatment, air systems, and surfaces. DNA and RNA (genetic code for all life forms) absorb UV-C radiation by changing its structure and inhibits the affected cells´ ability to reproduce, so they are no longer dangerous. Although the quantity of UVC lights to inactivate different microorganisms varies and some are immune to this treatment.

    UVC´s ability to inactivate bacteria and viruses is the same principle that makes it damaging to human cells that also contain DNA. And it is why exposure to UVC is regulated globally, with the common agreement that it is harmful and presents a risk for human health.

    Some of the recommended precautions when handling UCV radiation sources include: wearing appropriate PPE (long sleeve clothing, gloves, opaque face shield), and to avoid this type of radiation on the skin, eyes, or any body part.

    These are some of the reasons why UVC lighting is not recommended to the used on humans to disinfect or to treat the virus. It is useful however to disinfect surfaces but not to be used on people. It is very important to take into consideration the opinion of experts in the field before exposing yourself to UV lights, that might kill COVID-19 but are not safe on humans.

    The International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) and RadTech North America are educational and advocacy organizations consisting of UV equipment vendors, scientists, engineers, consultants, and members of the medical profession, states: “We would like to inform the public that there are no protocols to advise or to permit the safe use of UV light directly on the human body at the wavelengths and exposures proven to efficiently kill viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. UV light under the conditions known to kill such viruses are also known to cause severe skin burns, skin cancer, and eye damage. We strongly recommend that anyone using UV light to disinfect medical equipment, surfaces, or air in the context of COVID-19, applications that are supported by sound scientific evidence, follow all recommended health and safety precautions and to avoid direct exposure of the body to the UV light.”


    fighting-covid-19-using-uv


    fighting-covid-19-using-uv


    fighting-covid-19-using-uv


    fighting-covid-19-using-uv

    We all talk about automation and making processes automatic to speed tasks up and to decrease production times. But what does automation really mean?

    Here is the literal definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
    automation
    noun
    au·to·ma·tion | \ ˌȯ-tə-ˈmā-shən \

    Definition:
    1. the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically
    2. the state of being operated automatically
    3. automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, process, or system by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor

    It is a very straight forward and easy to understand definition, but in the real world the definition of automation is a bit more complex:

    Automation is the creation and application of technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human intervention, this implies monitoring and controlling the production and delivery of products and services. All these are achieved by using a combination of various means: mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, and electronic devices.

    Many industries apply automation in different ways, some in hardware others in software but all with the goal of improving production. One thing is for sure automation is evolving quickly and it is a new way to speed up processes, nonetheless there´s still a need for some form of manual intervention, even if the equipment can perform most of the tasks, an operator needs to at least supervise the operation to avoid mistakes.

    Automation in Digital Printing

    There are many ways that you can use automation in digital printing, the idea is to accelerate any process and to optimize times so operators can use their time more wisely and be less and less involved in the printing process.

    Here are some ways automation can be implemented in digital printing:

    • Automation software such as MIS, RIP, color management, Web to Print Software, Variable Data Composition, etc.
    • Mechanical Arms to move media and substrates before or after printing
    • Automated media handling, pallet-to-pallet: this allows you to place stacked media on a pallet into a feeder.
    The feeder loads it onto a table, then moves it over a transition table into the printer.
    The printed graphics move across the output side transition table and into a fully automated media stacker.
    • In-line printing: if your pre-treatment, printer and finishing equipment are in-line, it is another way of optimizing time by automating the printing process and involving the operator to the minimum.

    Benefits of Automation in Digital Printing:

    There are many benefits of using automation in digital printing but her are a few:

      o Employees have more time to take on other roles
      o Improved quality or increased predictability of quality
      o Improved consistency of prints
      o Improved quality, accuracy, and precision
      o Increased throughput or productivity
      o Reduction of production time
      o Labor savings
      o Performs tasks that are beyond human capabilities of size, weight, speed, etc.
      o Provides higher-level jobs in the development, categorization, maintenance and running of the automated processes
      o Reduced direct human labor costs and expenses
      o Reduces some occupational injuries
      o Replaces human operators in tasks that involve hard physical or monotonous work

    Many people believe that by using automation employees will be left out of a job and machines will take over, but I don´t think this is the objective of using automation, it is rather the optimization of time and the good use of it by current employees, who will now supervise tasks and use their time in other tasks.

    Automation is gaining popularity and increasing in every business as technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, it will certainly transform both the economy and workplace.


    What-is-Automation-and-what-does-it-imply

    Here you can see an example of pallet-to-pallet automated media handling on an EFI printer.


    When an epidemic or a pandemic such as coronavirus (COVID-19) strikes, the main problem is the increase in fatalities as health systems are stretched to the limits. This happens because of the thousands of patients presenting all at once, hence these run out of resources and normal surviving conditions become life threatening.

    Since coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, the patient´s lungs, critical cases require oxygenation and intensive care, being connected to oxygen allows the patient to live long enough through the infection so they can defeat the virus.

    Meaning, the only way to save a critical patients is to have many working reanimation machines. It doesn’t sound so complicated, but these reanimation devices require different pieces so they can work, but if one piece is missing it becomes crucial.


    3D-Printed-Valves-save-COVID-19-Patients-Lives

    Cristian Fracassi (left), founder of Isinnova, with the 3D printed valve. Photo courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network.


    This was the case of a Northern Italian hospital in Brescia, one of the worst COVID-19 stricken Italian areas, ran out of replacement ICU valves for a reanimation device needed to save their patients. Many lives were at stake, when supply chains fell short and suppliers were unable to keep up and with the high demand.

    An Italian 3D printing company, Isinnova, stepped up during this crisis, they brought their own 3D printer directly to the hospital, redesigned the respiratory valve and printed it right on the spot. They later tested it and by the next day they reported the system worked!


    3D-Printed-Valves-save-COVID-19-Patients-Lives

    The original valve on the left, and the 3D printed and redesigned one on the right. Photo courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network.


    This was able to help many patients live and fight for their lives. Another Italian company, Lonati has joined the cause by helping produce more 3D printed valves for the same hospital.


    3D-Printed-Valves-save-COVID-19-Patients-Lives

    The Lonati SpA 3D printed valves. Photo courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network.


    “Additive manufacturing may be able to play a role in helping to support industrial supply chains that are affected by limitations on traditional production and imports. One thing is for sure though: 3D printing can have an immediate beneficial effect when the supply chain is completely broken,” a post on 3D Media Network said.

    Wednesday, 08 April 2020 21:31

    EFI VUTEk D3r and D5r LED

    EFi has a new line of medium-range roll-to-roll printers using UV-curable inks: VUTEk D3r and VUTEk D5r LED printers. These new line of VUTEk printers have many similar capabilities as the VUTEk 3r+ and 5r+ printers but for mid-volume printing runs.

    “The ‘D’ in the name for these new printers is for ‘Design,’ and they are absolutely designed to offer the right mix of features, productivity and cost to create new opportunities for signage and graphics professionals,” said Ken Hanulec, EFI’s vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We listened very closely to our customers for feedback to create a mid-volume solution that will be the technology of choice for print providers seeking to profitably grow their businesses with high-end applications.”


    EFI-VUTEk-D3r-Roll-to-Roll-UV-curing-printer-IMG

    EFI VUTEk D3r roll-to-roll printer.


    Both the EFI VUTEk D3r and D5r printers use LED-curing, which translates into more benefits:

    • low energy wastage
    • lower operating costs
    • more sustainable and environmentally friendly
    • ability to print onto thin heat sensitive substrates
    • Increases uptime and productivity with instant on/off and less maintenance
    • low VOCs

    Two types of UV-curable inks are compatible with the VUTEk D series printers: the efi 3M SuperRange XF inks and the SuperFlex inks for car wrapping and fleet graphics. So you get a choice of ink depending on what you need to print.


    EFI-VUTEk-D3r-print-samples

    Flexible print using white ink on the EFI VUTEk D3r roll-to-roll printer.


    One of the features worth mentioning for the VUTEk D3r and D5r printers is the Museum print mode with ultra-high definition and photographic quality at a resolution of up to 1,200 dpi.

    Some of the suggested applications for the VUTEk D models are:

    • indoor closely-viewed graphics,
    • wall decorations and murals,
    • window graphics, flooring,
    • high-value prints with selective gloss effects,
    • fleet graphics,
    • car wraps,
    • truck-side curtains, etc.

    EFI-VUTEk-D3r-print-samples

    Control station screen on the EFI VUTEk D3r printer.


    Just like with many printers you can customize them to adjust to your specific needs, you can choose from:

    • Software productivity pack and are able to remotely connect with the printers using a mobile application
    • White and clear ink
    • Inline x-cutters and y-slitters
    • Automatic backlit and block-out printing
    • Media spreaders and motorized winders

    EFI-VUTEk-D3r-print-samples

    EFI VUTEk D3r printing samples.


    Specifications

      VUTEk D3r LED VUTEk D5r LED
    Width 138 in (350 cm) 205 in (520 cm)
    Media thickness 0.43 in (11 mm) thick
    Maximum roll weight 1,653 lbs (750 kg) Optional 10.5 ft (3.2 m) super duty winder enables working with large media rolls up to 1,749 lbs (793 kg)
    Multi-roll 2 rolls of 63 in/1.6 m 3 rolls of 63 in/1.6 m
    Curing device LED lamps
    Ink types LED-curable UV inks
    Ink colors CMYK, White and Clear
    RIP EFI Fiery proServer SE

    We had to opportunity to see the VUTEk D3r printer in action at EFI manufacturing plant in Israel; you can see the quality samples produced with this printer.


    EFI-VUTEk-D3r-print-samples

    EFI VUTEk roll-to-roll UV-curing-printers.


    Monday, 30 March 2020 18:15

    3D Printing for Circular Economy

    When you think about 3D printing it is mostly associated with manufacturing objects and prototypes made out of plastics and filaments. Although there are other more sustainable and more eco-friendly choices, these are not on people´s top of mind for 3D printing.

    3D printing is one of the fastest growing markets in the past few years, with a 25% increase each year. Since it is a new field of study for many people and many things are experimental, it gives a lot of room for innovation and creation.

    3D printing is an example of how circular economy concepts can be applied, as it becomes the first self-sustaining/zero waste technology. Just to be on the same page, circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. In this kind of economy, materials are maintained in a close loop, when the customer is done with a product, instead of discarding it, the product serves a new purpose. You don´t through it away, the product is recovered and its embedded materials become the base of the next round of products, a regeneration process.


    Circular economy diagram

    Circular economy diagram.


    According to the report What a Waste 2.0: “the world is on a trajectory where waste generation will drastically outpace population growth by more than double by 2050. Although we are seeing improvements and innovations in solid waste management globally, it is a complex issue and one that we need to take urgent action on. Solid waste management affects everyone; however, those most affected by the negative impacts of poorly managed waste are largely society’s most vulnerable—losing their lives and homes from landslides of waste dumps, working in unsafe waste-picking conditions, and suffering profound health repercussions.

    The world generates 2.01 billion tones of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 percent, or 683 million tones, of the world’s waste“.


    european-landfill

    Solid waste. Photo courtesy of new-mine.eu.


    So with this in mind, it is refreshing to see many companies, designers, engineers, technicians and many more, striving for success to develop new sustainable and greener alternatives when using 3D printing.

    With this in mind, I would like to use “Feel the Peel” project as an example of the use of 3D printing as circular economy:

    “Feel the Peel”

    Eni (an energy company engaged in the exploration, production, refining and sale of oil, gas, electricity and chemicals) and Carlo Ratti Associati (an innovation and design firm that investigates the impact of digital technologies on architecture, planning and design) teamed up t create “Feel the Peel”. This is a 3.1-meter prototype of an experimental orange juice bar using circular economy.


    carlo-ratti-bioplastic-cups-orange-peels-circular-economy-designboom

    Feel the Peel orange juice bar. Photo courtesy of www.designboom.com.


    How does it work?

    The design of the bar has a circular dome at the top, filled with 1,500 oranges, when an order is placed the oranges slide down into the squeezer and here they are cut in half and juiced.


    carlo-ratti-bioplastic-cups-orange-peels-circular-economy-designboom

    Circular dome with 1,500 oranges. Photo courtesy of www.aasarchitecture.com.


    The leftover peels are deposited in a lower receptacle, where they dry and are later milled to make “orange dust”. These are mixed with polylactic acid (PLA) derived form plant sugars; it is heated and melted to form a filament, which is fed through a 3D printer attached to the machine.


    3D-circular-orange-bar

    At the bottom you can see the peels in the receptacle ready to be turned into filament. Photo courtesy of www.aasarchitecture.com.


    This is used to print bioplastic cups on the spot, so you can drink in them the freshly squeezed orange juice. These cups can be later recycled, with the material continually broken down and remade in the further cups.


    bioplastic-cups

    These are the newly 3D printed cups. Photo courtesy of www.aasarchitecture.com.


    "The principle of circularity is a must for today's objects," said founder Carlo Ratti. "Working with Eni, we tried to show circularity in a very tangible way, by developing a machine that helps us to understand how oranges can be used well beyond their juice. The next iterations of Feel the Peel might include new functions, such as printing fabric for clothing from orange peel.”

    “Feel the Peel” is an example of innovative technology put to good use, creating a more sustainable and green product, from something as simple as ordering a cup of orange juice.

    The most important thing we should all get out of this, is the fact that you can make a huge change in the environmental impact by making simple changes and thinking outside the box.


    feel-the-peel

    Here you can see the Fell the Peel, orange juice bar running. Photo courtesy of www.aasarchitecture.com.




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