Konica Minolta enters display print with first AccurioWide

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AccurioWide 200
AccurioWide 200

Konica Minolta is using its own printheads on a first large format printer to carry the company name being introduced in North America.

Konica Minolta is to show the first large format inkjet printer for display graphics with its own name at the Print 18 show in Chicago this month.

Previously, the company has had a deal to sell EFI Vutek machines, but while there are Konica Minolta inkjet printers for textiles, there have been none in the commercial and display print space. That is changing with the introduction of the AccurioWide 160 and AccurioWide 200, 1.6 meter wide and 2.0 meter wide hybrid machines, respectively.

Both operate with Konica Minolta 1024i printheads giving a resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi. The printhead is in widespread use in other sectors and uses a high pigment ink which is claimed to give a thinner ink layer and reduce overall ink volumes required.

Speed is dependent on resolution. The AccurioWide 160 comes in a 4-color plus white or 6-color versions, while the AccurioWide 200 offers 6-color plus white printing. Both combine LED UV and conventional UV curing for speed across the range of substrates.

The AccurioWide 160 prints at 63 m2/hr in draft mode, falling to 7 m2/hr in finest quality. It can print on most media including rigid sheets to 45 mm thick.

Konica Minolta will link the machines to its FD-9 scanning spectrometer and both FD-5 and FD-7 hand-held spectrophotometric color measurement. These link to the AccurioPro WideDirector workflow application. This automates step and repeat image placement, nesting color profiling and offers suggestions about optimal settings having analyzed and run a preflight check on the incoming digital file. It will balance production across multiple printers.

The move comes hard on the heels of Ricoh’s first flatbed/hybrid printer, the Pro T7210, which is now available in the UK. This is in a different class with a 50 m2/hr standard mode and twice that in draft mode. It also offers primer and clear ink channel and is configured as a flatbed rather than hybrid printer.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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