Quantum Design and Hunkeler Agreement

Non-stop production in digital printing

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The Hunkeler roll-to-roll solution for non-stop production with production speeds up to 243 meters a minute. Flying roll change and paper weight range from 50 to 300 gsm. Photo Hunkeler
The Hunkeler roll-to-roll solution for non-stop production with production speeds up to 243 meters a minute. Flying roll change and paper weight range from 50 to 300 gsm. Photo Hunkeler

On 1 September 2020, Quantum Design, owner of the KTI product line of automatic splicers and turret rewinders, announced its agreement with Hunkeler, a leader in digital print finishing solutions making it the exclusive supplier of automatic splicing and rewinding equipment for Hunkeler. The partnership results from many months of hard work collaborating on a custom automatic splicing machine, the Hunkeler RS8 model, and an automatic turret rewinder, the Hunkeler TR8 model. Hunkeler is already selling these new models as part of a complete inline finishing system for the digital printing industry.

The technology central to this collaboration is a game-changer for digital printing. Hunkeler will offer the first inline finishing system with non-stop end to end processing in the industry. Hunkeler displayed the full solution at its in-house event, Innovationdays 2019, and had plans to showcase the equipment at drupa 2020 before the event’s postponement. The initial launch of these machines in 2019 was very successful. Over a dozen installations were completed and delivered to the United States, Germany, Italy, and the UK in the first year.

The RS8 is a shaftless automatic butt splicer with two shaftless roll positions that feed a continuous supply of material into the press. At the same time, the integrated storage festoon eliminates the need to stop for changing rolls. In-register splicing capabilities are available for running pre-printed material, which can dramatically reduce waste in the press when re-registering.

The TR8 automatic turret rewinder is also designed with two shafted roll positions to continuously rewind rolls directly from the press — eliminating the need to stop the press to remove rolls and offering greater throughput. The integrated festoon takes up material from the press while the web is brought to a controlled stop for cutting and transferring to a new core.

Both machines feature touch screen PLC Controls, and the quality construction for which KTI equipment is often recognized aligns with Hunkeler’s own equipment durability. Hunkeler and Quantum are currently in the design stages of a third model to be released and sold as part of Hunkeler’s finishing line in 2021.

Hunkeler has a long-standing reputation as being an industry driver for new technology and innovation,” says Derek Wheeler, V.P. of Sales at Quantum Design, “We are excited to create this partnership with Hunkeler to bring continuous process equipment to the digital marketplace. We are excited to see where future collaborations will take both companies.”

“Hunkeler continuously expands its portfolio with automation modules and features with our valued partners for the Digital Print Finishing Segment of the Graphic Arts Industry. With its KTI product line, Quantum Design brings a tremendous amount of experience and technology into the partnership. However, automation is only the first step in the process to connect, integrate and create an end to end workflow for automated solutions from start to finish,” says Hans Gut, VP of Marketing & Partnering, Hunkeler.

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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