15 August 2011
Fujifilm taking orders for J-Press
HANOVER PARK, IL—Fujifilm announced it is officially taking orders for its new J-Press 720 inkjet press at a media and analyst event late last week. PrinCAN was there. The company announced that two presses have already been sold in the U.S., but have not yet been installed.

    The Fujifilm J-Press 720 at the Hanover Park, IL, showroom

Inkjet applications pick a little at every market, said Steve Sanker, director of inkjet presses, and the 4-up, sheetfed J-Press is expected to take business for work such as photo books, books, packaging, screen printing, and flexo printing among others. The press signifies a strategic change of direction for Fujifilm, from a consumables driven company to an equipment driven one, Sanker said.

 The J-Press is being positioned as an ideal press for runs up to 3,000, straddling the gap between toner-based devices and offset models. It produces fully variable 4-colour work on a 20.8” x 29.5” sheet at 2,700 impressions per hour, on coated and uncoated stocks from 70 lb. text to 14 pt. board. It also prints in a single pass with 17 heads producing a dot as little as two picolitres. A pre-coating unit prepares the sheet with an aqueous-based solution to create a stable foundation for the ink, and to prevent the ink from penetrating the paper. Though it did not provide pricing, Fujifilm says the press can be 20 to 30% more cost effective than offset, in part because it requires fewer consumables, namely inks, ink cleaner and coating solution.

The J-Press is unique in the inkjet space. It is one of two sheetfed options (Screen has a sheetfed inkjet press), in this format. All other inkjet presses released to date have been in the web format from 20.5” to 42”. This is a space that will be avidly watched at Drupa next year for more developments.

The first commercial shop to order the press—expected to be delivered in October—Gilson Graphics in Michigan, is a US$23 million enterprise with a full complement of toner and offset presses. Owner Dave Gilson said the J-Press can handle a good amount of its basket of work, such as short-run packaging. For Gilson the press has three advantages, he said: speed, sheetsize, and thickness of substrate that can close current production gaps in his shop and open up new applications.
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