By Editor Morten B. Reitoft 

Today, November 24th, 2022, the first significant print event after the pandemic got kicked off. The doors opened at 11.00, and with facemask requirements, hand sanitizers, and mandatory temperature check, the organizer took the measures you would expect from a country where facemasks in public are still required.

Some exhibitors told INKISH that some PSPs forbid their employees to visit IGAS (International Graphic Arts Show) because they wouldn't risk COVID. Being from a country where all the bans were lifted months ago, it seems a bit over the top, but as a friend told me, Japan doesn't have in their constitution the right to impose country-wide lockdowns - so, therefore, it maybe makes sense to be more careful? I don't know, but that is how it is for now!

But - we were there, and a well-attended show not only presented a lot of equipment but even equipment I had no expectations for, so let's dig in.

This is a 'solution' to load wrapped paper into a board to make it easier for an operator to manually un-wrap the paper before print.

Fujifilm is one of the significant players in the industry. When Carl Icahn invested in Xerox and terminated the merger process between Fujifilm and Xerox, they have maybe woken up the Asian bear which for the past months had invested massively in technology, companies, and people. The split with Xerox has, in my mind, left Xerox in quite a bad position in the professional segment. But that's another story; let's focus on the products presented at IGAS.

Fujifilm demonstrated a new two-arm robot. The robot can operate as both a robot and a cobot. In a film we did with robot specialist Henrik Christiansen, he presented the difference between the most widely used robots in the industry. The easy way to differentiate the two types is based on whether the robot is fenced. If a robot isn't fenced, it needs to have sensors that will stop the robot immediately if it's touched. This makes the robot slower and with lower lifting capability. The new Fujifilm robot can run in both Robot and Cobot modes. With two grippers, it can lift and air sheets after being unwrapped. In Europe and the US, PSPs typically get the paper delivered on pallets wrapped in plastic, but in Japan and China - and I believe in India, the standard is to get the sheets delivered in paper-packed batches. So before a printer can print, he will need to remove the paper wrapping - and at IGAS, you see many solutions for this. However, all of them require an operator, which takes time and money. The Fujifilm robot unwraps the paper, takes the paper, airs it, and stacks it. The potential is endless. But see the film, when we are ready with it, shortly!

The robot is developed in collaboration with Yaskawa.

Above is, of course, interesting, but even more interesting, and a big surprise to me was the presentation of the new toner-based Revoria B2 printer. Revoria is the new brand Fujifilm is introducing to the market after the breakup with Xerox. The machines surprised me with quite a few parameters. First of all, a new contender in the B2 segment today is dominated by HP. Secondly, to present a B2 cut-sheet printer based on toner isn't what I would expect. Most are talking about Inkjet, and as we all know, Fujifilm excels in the B2 inkjet market with the S750 JetPress. The third surprise is the quality—my god. The quality of the samples at the booth is simply stunning, and with a speed of 2,500 sheets per hour, it defines a new space for digital print. We hope to get more information about the press during the next few days, and who knows, maybe even an interview with Fujifilm/Revoria.

But there is more to it - or at least, something I didn't know :-)

Fujifilm ALSO revealed a new Jet press named Jet Press 1160CF. The 1160CF is a continuous feed roll-based printer capable of printing more than 2,000 A4 pages per minute in what Fujifilm refers to as 'Speed Priority Mode.' The two modes on the 1160CF offer, respectively, 80 meters and 160 meters per minute. The page width is up to 520.7 mm. This is effectively a machine becoming a severe contender to HP's T-Series. The new T-series Advantage 2200 offers slightly wider paper and somewhat different speeds (244 meters per minute in monochrome, 152 meters per minute in Performance mode, and 101 meters per minute in Quality mode,) but interesting to see how the 1160CF will fit a market more and more competitive!

This leads us directly to yet another product presentation that came as a HUGE surprise to me. Horizon has for years focused on cut sheet finishing. Innovative solutions from the BQ series to the Stitchliner series are seen with printers everywhere. However, this is maybe not entirely correct. Maybe Horizon's focus has always been on finishing digital printing solutions, so cut sheet was just the hotspot until now?

Horizon and Hunkeler have worked closely together for years; it surprised me. However, it's not long since INKISH had our finishing webinar event, where Hunkeler presented their cut sheet solutions, which was equally a surprise to me.

The new Horizon plow folder solution is built-in modules, like all other Horizon products, so there is an unwinder where the role is placed. From here, the paper is led into a scoring unit, followed by the plow itself, with each signature being cut with a rotary die-cutter. Besides the rotary die cutter, the solution is very silent, and though it can produce up to 800 book blocks an hour, the machine doesn't seem too stressed. From the delivery of the book, blocks are delivered to the BQ500 for finishing.

When I said it came as a surprise, the surprise was mainly because roll-based finishing is new to Horizon, but not entirely. Horizon has some experience with role-based finishing. With a growing digital market, they bet it is vast enough for more players. With growing digital demand, it will be interesting to see how Horizon will manage the competition, with not only, Hunkeler and Tecnau but all companies wanting a bite of the market!

Well - this is what we have for you for now. Hopefully, more exciting news tomorrow!

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