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Screen Previews drupa, WTT Analysis

Press release from the issuing company

January 17, 2008 -- (WhatTheyThink.com Senior Editor Cary Sherburne Comments Below) -- The printing industry is under considerable pressure from electronic media and to improve its environmental profile. Screen is responding to the changing needs of the printing industry by undergoing tremendous change and developing products that will help the industry thrive. The company’s theme for 2008 and beyond is ‘Creating a Future in Print’ - a future not only for Screen and its customers but for the industry as a whole. Consequently, Screen is committed to providing both the infrastructure to allow print media to complement electronic media while helping the industry embrace a more environmentally responsible approach to production.

Creating a future in print is about more than just saving money or increasing productivity. It’s about creating new opportunities for printers: from building wraps through to highly personalised photo catalogues that can be put together and ordered on-line. This is an accelerating trend which Infotrends predicts will be worth USD 90 billion dollars by 2011 in the United States alone.

The future of print is ‘Print on Demand’ (POD) and it is fundamentally changing the use of print and creating new business opportunities, unlike any other technological changes. As a precision manufacturer with a long history of building innovative imaging technologies, Screen is perfectly positioned to develop powerful POD devices for: sign and display, direct mail/transpromo, newspaper, packaging, commercial and industrial applications .

With a reputation built on consistent and reliable precision engineering, Screen is applying its considerable expertise to developing, manufacturing and supplying an innovative range of digital presses. “Once you have built a machine that can fire ink, you still have to be able to manage and control the colour that is produced,” says Brian Forsdike, President, Screen Europe. When it comes to understanding colour, Screen can call on more than 50 years’ experience of screening, dot formation and colour management. These are skills that will be a key differentiator for any Screen inkjet press. In addition to the technologies, the right manufacturing skills are needed to put them into practice. Screen is well equipped to deal with the incredible level of accuracy required  to build such devices.

“The knowledge of how to create a solid foundation for print quality has driven Screen’s business,” explains Brian. “That foundation puts us in the best possible position to be a premier manufacturer of digital presses in the future.”

Here we provide an insight into the POD and CTP technologies that Screen will announce over the next few months and that will be launched and demonstrated at Drupa 2008 in May. In addition to these, the company plans to announce further significant developments in the lead up to and at the show.

Digital offset printing: Truepress 344
Screen’s first step into the digital arena was the Truepress 344, launched in 2004. This fully automated A3 digital offset press has proved the technology. It is not a redesigned conventional press but was developed from the ground up based on Screen’s extensive knowledge of screening and its long history of building innovative products. Imaging at 2400dpi resolution and printing with the conventional offset process using standard inks and water, the Truepress 344 delivers an outstanding level of print quality. It is ideal for prepress and printing companies moving to high quality on demand supply of printed material.

Variable digital printing: Truepress Jet520
Screen’s first system for the high speed variable data POD sector is the Truepress Jet520 continuous feed, single-pass system. Previewed at Ipex, the groundbreaking Truepress Jet520 is now commercially available and unites Screen’s proven prepress and colour management technology with the latest developments in inkjet printing. The company’s first major inkjet system, the press delivers a balance of exceptional performance, high print quality and low operating costs. Screen’s renowned manufacturing and engineering skills combined with Epson’s latest multi-tone Piezo DOD (Drop-On-Demand) inkjet print heads and water-based pigment inks results in a high level of accuracy, quality and reliability on both standard and uncoated stock.

The Truepress Jet520 can print up to 64m/min (210 ft/ min) to a width of 520mm (165in) which equates to 25,200 A4 colour pages per hour simplex, 50,400 pages an hour duplex and 37,200 3-page leaflets per hour. The first duplex model has just been joined by a single-engine duplex model which gives users the freedom to configure a line up to suit a variety of applications.

The first systems are being installed now worldwide. The first site to go live in Europe is at direct mail/transactional specialist GI Solutions Group in the UK (see attached release for full details).

Newspaper printing: Truepress Jet 520
As well as direct mail and transactional/transpromo printing, the Truepress Jet520 is an ideal machine for newspaper production, particularly the local production of foreign publications for the business community and tourist market. Previous attempts to establish the principle of printing newspapers locally have been compromised by speed, colour or quality. With the Truepress Jet520 publishers can now have a complete facsimile of their newspaper with perfect colour and a quality level that is indistinguishable from litho printing, with a production speed of a thousand newspapers per hour.

The first operational site is planned to go live before Drupa and a complete newspaper production line will be demonstrated on the booth at the show.

Wide format digital printing: Truepress Jet2500UV
At Drupa, the Truepress Jet2500UV will make its commercial launch following its preview at Fespa last year. It is a wide format flatbed and roll-fed inkjet print system featuring quality grayscale printheads that enables printing on both rigid and flexible substrates and offers a great balance between high print quality and productivity that means it can be used for a broad range of applications. As well as its flexibility of format, quickly changing from flatbed to roll, there is flexibility of resolution and speed.Truepress Jet2500UV can select five different resolutions, which are 300, 600, 900, 1200 and 1500 dpi. At 300dpi it is possible to produce almost 70 square metres per hour for applications such as billboards and banners and 1500dpi is to produce outstanding photo-like quality and detail which will stand the scrutiny of close viewing. So the customer can select the best resolution depending on the productivity and the quality required.

The Truepress Jet2500UV is a versatile, high-quality, large-format inkjet printing system designed for markets that demand large-size, high-speed printing. It covers a maximum printing width of 2,500mm and makes it possible to print on a variety of media including panels and construction materials. The machine combines the benefits of a flat-bed for printing on to rigid substrates as well as the flexibility that comes from printing directly on to reels of flexible material (up to 50m long). It has a maximum production speed of almost 70 square metres per hour and can print up to seven colours including a pre-white function. Like the Truepress Jet520 and Truepress Jet650UV, the Truepress Jet2500UV uses grayscale heads. The image quality that this brings in combination with the company’s extensive knowledge of colour management gained in providing high-quality imaging solutions to the graphic arts industry will help the Truepress Jet2500UV set new standards in wide format production.

Industrial inkjet printing: Truepress Jet650UV
The Truepress Jet650UV has been developed for the industrial printing market, where the business model of incorporating POD systems into a variety of products during the production process is gaining considerable attention. The digital printing of car instrument panels is a good example. The Truepress Jet650UV boasts highly-customisable features and provides precise, high-resolution, multi-colour imaging that responds to the demands of a large number of industrial users. 

Workflow tools: Trueflownet
Screen continues to be committed to providing a comprehensive Trueflownet workflow solution that will drive all types of print on demand devices for document printing, display graphics, packaging and industrial printing, but without losing its focus on high productivity CTP output.

At Drupa visitors will see tools that are optimised for digital output (e.g. variable data and versioning) and more tools to streamline production automation, monitoring and management.

Commitment to Computer to Plate: The PlateRite range
From 4, 8, 24 and 36 page devices, Screen provides platesetters to suit all needs, and devices for commercial, newspaper and flexo applications. Screen’s commitment to CTP remains as solid, dependable and long-lived as its platesetters. With a worldwide market share which has remained above 30% for four years, and with OEM agreements with major graphic arts companies, Screen’s expertise and superior technology ensure its position as the world’s leading CTP supplier.  Screen entered the VLF market in 2005 and the features of consistency, reliability and integral punching has led to a 25% share of the VLF market today. The company predicts that more machines than in any previous year will be shipped worldwide and will shortly see the sale of its 12,000th platesetter.

Phenomenal amounts of research and development continue into CTP to ensure a product range that continues to meet, and predict, customers’ needs for reliability and productivity. In the last 18 months, Screen has launched new platesetters for the flexo and newspaper industries and further models will be added for Drupa. These include the PlateRite FX1524, a new mid-range flexo device which generates a high quality dot and is aimed at the the folding carton and flexible packaging market with a format of 1067mm x 1524mm.  Finally, Screen is committed to providing a CTP solution for the new generation of large format presses that will come to market over the next few months and details will be announced shortly.

Focusing on the environment
Screen puts environmental issues at the top of its agenda and endeavours to significantly reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing as well as the products themselves. The company has had an environmentally responsible approach to building machinery for more than ten years and signed up to the Eco Kyoto 21 agreement as long ago as 1994. The results have been dramatic. Carbon dioxide emissions have been more than halved since 2000 and the 2010 target for waste reduction was reached four years ahead of schedule. One of Screen’s goals is for each new machine, or generation of machine, to be defined as a Certified Green Product and aims for improvements in five key areas of manufacturing: energy efficiency, resource efficiency, recyclability, safety and chemical management.

However, no matter how ‘green’ a machine is, as long as it is being employed in the generation of unwanted printed material, then an opportunity is being missed. A smarter way of printing must be created, one that generates far less waste. This can only mean one thing: the future of the printing industry and the future of Screen has to be print on demand.

Research into future technology: White Canvas Rakusai
Continuous technical development is critical to Screen’s commercial development across all sectors, not just the graphics arts.  Screen’s passion for innovation has always being given top priority and it is this commitment that led to the opening of White Canvas Rakusai, the Group’s largest academic research facility. Here Screen’s best research staff have been brought together from all disciplines to create new ideas and core technologies for Screen and the wider community. The research that is carried out here is not product specific, it is an environment that encourages creative thinking and eventual product development.

Creating a future in print
The company recognises inkjet as a key enabler for future success and is committed to developing further inkjet production systems as a key pillar of business growth for its media technology division.

“Screen’s strategy of evolving to meet the needs of the industry over the last 54 years is the reason we have such a strong position in the market today as a supplier of innovative and reliable products,” says Brian Forsdike, President of Screen Europe. “We will continue to grow by maintaining a dominant position in technology that is reaching maturity, such as CTP,  while emerging as a leading supplier in a new generation of Print on Demand equipment.”
WhatTheyThink.com Senior Editor Cary Sherburne Comments:

We are not getting a lot of new product announcements here in Dusseldorf as companies talk about their drupa plans, but I found it interesting that Screen, who presented today, is shifting focus to the print on demand market, projecting that more than a quarter of its revenues will come from that source by 2011.  Although the company has had the Truepress 344 direct imaging offset press on the market for some time, and has introduced the Truepress Jet 520 high speed inkjet, Truepress 2500 UV wide format and Truepress 650 UV industrial printer more recently, Screen is not well known as a provider of print on demand technologies.  The company is trying to change that and will dedicate the majority of its drupa stand to print on demand technologies.  At the same time, Screen executives here were very clear that the company continues to support and invest in its CTP business.