By Greg Hrinya, Associate Editor, April 4, 2016
Printers can avoid the setup costs associated with the installation of a new standalone digital press.
The Colordyne Retrofit allows printers to avoid the setup costs associated with the installation of a new standalone press, as well as the associated digital finishing equipment. “The Retrofit has the same engine that comes out of our big inline units,” says Taylor Buckthorpe, marketing director at Colordyne Technologies. “We saw an industry where the majority of converters in the label space are not huge companies, so for them to make an investment in a million-dollar system is a serious financial decision for them to make. We realized we could bolt one of these onto a flexo press and get a converter into digital for under $250,000.”
The partnership with APR allows the product to be seen by more converters, and the 3600 Series Retrofit has been installed with 10 North American converters. The water-based technology provides a smooth appearance and one that might be printed on a flexo press. Should a printer’s customer require one million labels, but also have a need for a 5,000-label job, each order can be completed on the same press. “For that converter to invest in plates, it’s very expensive to produce 5,000 labels flexographically,” explains Buckthorpe. “With our technology, the ability to replicate that flexo label allows us to sell that digital label, and both can be sitting on the store shelf and you don’t really see a visual difference. The converter can also make use of all their existing tooling.”
“We kept wondering why someone didn’t take the imaging technology and put it on to a flexo press, for the main reason that people in the flexo industry–specifically, the narrow web industry–already have an investment in diecutting, lamination, foil stamping and so on,” says Richard Black, director of digital solutions at APR. “Whenever you would buy a digital press, you would then have to wonder how to digitally finish it. In many cases, the digital finishing is as much or more as the cost of the imaging device.”
With Memjet technology, the 3600 Series Retrofit can run at a maximum speed of 275 fpm (102 m/m) at 1600 x 1375 dpi. It also features Waterfall technology, which prints millions of 1.2 picoliter droplets through each CMYK printhead. Colordyne also offers standalone digital presses like the Industrial Class 1600 Series, the 2600 Series Mini Press, and the Production Class 3600 Series.
“We see a big market for the Retrofit because many people already have a press and have capital equipment already paid for,” adds Black. “More importantly, they have the finishing, so it’s hard for them to go out make a big investment and then have to reproduce all this finishing that they already have. That’s where it made a really interesting collaboration with Colordyne.”
According to Colordyne, nearly 90% of converters are operating at costs under $15 million per year. By opting for this retrofit technology, companies can avoid committing roughly $1.5 million for an inline digital unit–especially when a company is new to digital. The 3600 Series Retrofit also operates at higher speeds than the average press.
“Our digital production speeds are far above anyone else,” says Buckthorpe. “We’re printing up to speeds of 335 fpm, and we’ll be coming out with faster speeds at drupa this year. A lot of flexo converters like to say that their press can run at 500 fpm, but you’re not doing 4-color process work that fast. With ours, you can do 4-color process work regardless of image content, number of colors, variable data, image quality, and you can do all of that at full speed.”
Colordyne and APR will showcase the 3600 Series Retrofit at drupa, which will take place from May 31 to June 10 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The show will feature 19 exhibition halls and nearly 1,500 exhibitors from over 50 countries.
“We’ll have our Retrofit engine at drupa, and we’ll also have our Sprint unit at drupa for customers who want to see and feel the technology,” says Buckthorpe. “We’ll be debuting some faster speeds, as well, up above the 335 fpm. I think seeing is believing. A lot of people don’t believe the technology is what it is, but once they get in front of it and see it, touch it, feel it, it’s pretty impressive. … It’s groundbreaking technology.”