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Commentary & Analysis

Digital Embellishment Still a Hot Topic: JetFX to bring offline sheetfed solution to Print 2017

Digital embellishment was a hot topic at drupa 2016, and more companies are entering the fray. We came across JetFX at an event earlier this year and were intrigued by their approach. Read more about JetFX approach to foiling, spot varnishing, embossing, and high end digital holograms.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: July 25, 2017

At drupa 2016, digital embellishment was a hot topic, with Highcon, MGI and Scodix being examples of companies providing solutions in this area. Earlier this year, I came across another player, JetFX, who got its start in the digital space through an alliance with HP Indigo. JetFX offers foiling, spot varnishing, embossing, and high end digital holograms in line with HP Indigo roll-fed presses (primarily the HP Indigo WS6800). The company plans to commercialize an offline sheetfed solution in September, which will be shown at Print 17 in Chicago.

According to Ed Wiegand, President of JetFX, the company’s sheetfed solution, which will be sold direct, will run at 3,600 B2 sheets per hour and will have all of the capabilities of its roll-fed solution. He says, “Any one of our embellishments has zero slow-down effects for the printing press when they are inline. For example, we have tested foiling at up to 60 meters per minute, which is as fast as an analog system can do cold foil on a label press. For many embellishment providers, each embellishment that gets added also adds a slow-down factor. So if there are multiple embellishments added to a piece, the embellishment process will be slower than the press. Our solution does not have that issue.”

In addition to September’s B2 launch, Wiegand also expects to have a modified A3 solution available later in the year (15”x27”) that will cover most of the rest of the sheetfed presses, including the Xerox iGen extended. “These solutions will be offline,” he says, “but they could be put inline in the future since we can run at the speed of the press.”

I saw output from JetFX, and it is quite impressive, especially the digital holograms. Holograms have many applications, including security applications, and general enhancement of printed materials.

Uptake on this solution has reportedly been much faster than expected. Wiegand told me the initial expected attach rate for HP Indigo roll-fed presses was 15%, but that they are achieving closer to a 50% attach rate.

Wiegand claims that both hardware and ink from JetFX run about 30% lower than the competition, another potential boost to market growth in digital embellishment.

From what I can see, JetFX is a pretty nimble company, and Wiegand shared some potential future solutions with me under embargo that I have no reason to believe won’t come to fruition, and that can drive even further change into the digital embellishment market. How nimble? The alliance agreement with HP was signed in November of 2015, and the company designed, engineered, fabricated, assembled, tested and delivered the product shown at drupa 2016, in just six months! Not a trivial accomplishment.

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

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