Baldwin Technology Company has reached an agreement with QuadGraphics to acquire the intellectual property rights for the Digital Ink System. This will enable continued development of the technology. Baldwin is a world leader in providing process automation solutions, consumables and services for the print, packaging, textile and corrugated industries and has acquired several companies in these related areas in the past two years.
The Digital Ink System is a computer-controlled ink injection technology that replaces traditional open fountain ink trains—or can upgrade existing ‘pump and rail’ systems—providing more precise density control at all press speeds with significant cost savings. The system eliminates ink contamination and delivers consistently high-quality results, metering the correct volume of ink delivered to each control zone across the printed image.
In late 2017, Baldwin acquired QuadGraphics’ research and development division, QuadTech, combining it with PC Industries and Web Printing Controls to form a new ‘Baldwin Vision Systems’ business segment. Baldwin Vision Systems already owns the rights to the Digital Ink System technology used in newspaper and commercial printing markets. This most recent agreement brings to Baldwin additional ownership of new developments underway for future applications of the technology.
“We are very enthusiastic about the new possibilities this agreement affords us, and more importantly—our customers,” said Brent Becker, president, and chief executive officer of Baldwin. “We see enormous potential for the Digital Ink System technology beyond the efficiencies already being realized by commercial and newspaper printers. With our new Vision Systems business segment in place, we plan to hit the ground running to deliver inventive new solutions and adaptations of proven technologies to new industries.”
Karl Fritchen, president of QuadTech, said being part of a larger organization means bringing more diverse technical capabilities under one company umbrella. He further stated, ‘We plan to expand automation capabilities …. Our focus remains the same: innovating and delivering world-class color measurement and management, registration and vision system technologies. By combining engineering talent and expertise, and with the infusion of more financial resources, we plan to expand automation capabilities to include and connect other workflows within print operations.
According to Fritchen, the new agreement will give printers the ability to choose the option that best fits their specific needs and budget. “For example, in newspaper and commercial printing applications, Baldwin Visions Systems not only offers standalone color-to-color registration and color control systems, but also combined functionality from the same camera, if needed. Additionally, customers can choose between RGB-based or spectral-based color control, depending upon process and customer requirements.
“In packaging applications, our combined product portfolio includes options for offset, flexo, gravure, and the unique requirements of digital print. We offer pre-press proofing solutions, as well as on-press and post-press solutions across narrow-, mid-, and wide-web applications—as well as sheet-fed applications. Furthermore, we offer connected tools across pre-press, production and post-press workflows that help our customers monitor and manage much more than just the print process—but also their inks, job data, production quality and reports.”