Digital Print Summit ’08 – a digital delight

First of its kind Digital Print Summit, with platinum sponsorship of HP and gold sponsorships of Spectra, ONYX, Aqua Tint inks and WonPoong, held in four metros, received considerable good response. For Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi printers, it was an event with a new approach. While for those who missed out, S&G brings a glimpse of the same.

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Digital Print Summit ‘08, a series of four-city technical assembling, did receive good industry participation in its very first edition. The summit travelled across the four metros and kicked off its maiden voyage from Mumbai (12th April, Kohinoor Continental), then it reached three other cities, viz Chennai (14th April, Savera Hotel); Kolkata (16th April, Peerless Inn); and Delhi (18th April, India Habitat Centre).

It was sign industry’s original signature event in real sense as it shared the in-depth information about the industry. Moreover, the good participation of industry professionals added extra value to the event. All the speakers at the event were qualified and successful professionals, who all had interesting and interactive question-answer sessions with the audience. Everyone who attended the summit was over-whelmed with the information so received.

 The event was officially inaugurated in Mumbai in presence of industry professionals and dignitaries. Sonal Khurana of Sign & Graphics, media partner to the event, welcomed the industry professionals and elaborated the unique concept of four-city summit.

To start the presentation session, Manish Agarwal of Mono Sign Systems, representing, Wonpoong, chose an interesting topic on ‘Printing substrates: different media’s how to measure/weigh.’ Mono Sign Systems is formerly known as Acry Monomers founded in 1987 and today it represents Aqua Tint inks, Hanwha, Ritrama, and  WonPoong. Having around two decades of experience in dealing with various printing substrates, his presentation intelligently clarified most of the prevailing myths in this segment.

While introducing the company, Manish stated, “WonPoong, based in Seoul, Korea, is the second largest manufacturer of flex in Korea. The company has subsidiaries: Synthetic Filament Woven Fabrics – Malaysia and PVC Casting Leather – Hong Kong, Guangzhou, China and India, which has been launched by us.” He also explained the advantages  and weaknesses of laminated and coated fabrics. “Laminated Flex has advantage of better price, colour fastness and good printing ability, whereas the weaknesses include weaker physical strength and rough surface. On the other hands coated fabrics, made from paste resin-liquid solutionsabsorbed in fabric (Polyester), have advantages of strong physical and technical properties, smooth surface, high printing quality, whereas the disadvantages include lower colour fastness and high price.”

He also elaborated common problems of fabrics and reasons for the same, which included  spots while printing, slow ink drying, lower strength and low gloss or shine.

Followed by this, James Gill, European sales director, FUJIFILM Dimatix gave presentation on ‘Printhead technology: types, maintenance & future developments’. He started with his company’s introduction, and said, “FUJIFILM Dimatix designs and manufactures piezo electric, drop-on-demand inkjet printheads, micropumps and systems for industrial applications. Founded in 1984, the company is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.”

The company’s Spectra printhead  product range includes Nova/ Galaxy (256 Jets,30, 50, 80 pl, configured as printheads or jetting assemblies and multiple fluids supported); S-Class (128 Jets, 30, 50, 80 pl, jetting assemblies and solvent and UV capable); and Skywalker (128 Jets, 50 pl, solvent).

While explaining about trouble shooting and maintenance of printheads, he said, “Criteria that define image quality are drop velocity, drop volume, drop straightness, Jet-to-Jet uniformity, and tested and qualified inks, so one has to be very careful with these aspects.”

 He also explained about the printhead and nozzle plate maintenance, “Printheads should be purged daily as it removes air build up and produces reliable printing. To deal with excess ink accumulation on nozzle plate, it must be removed periodically as it will thicken over time with exposure to heat to UV (UVcurable), result in weak/ misdirected jets and failures can increase with nozzle wiping.”

His presentation talked in length about the printheads and all other aspects of the technology were also discussed. His engrossing  presentation attracted maximum queries during Q&A session. After this Neerav Goswamy, technical director, Aqua Tint inks took over the stage and shared his presentation on ‘Inks: types, optimum use of inks & future developments.’ Aqua Tint is the only south Asian company to have Xaar approved inks. Referring inks as Magic fluid, he said, “Good inks should be scratch and fade resistance, have rubbing light and weather fastness, excellent colour gamut, and depth of shade.” According to him, the success of solvent based inks in today’s scenario is due to its compatibility with most printheads. It is also competitively priced and can print on uncoated media without any extensive post treatment.

Comparing inks to human blood, Neerav stated, “Ink is a mixture of different ingredients, each ingredient being there for a specific reason. Just like in blood we have WBC, RBC, Iron, Calcium etc and each has its own function, similarly the ink has various ingredients, each with its own functionality and not having these ingredients or having an imbalance in these ingredients can cause the printheads to malfunction, clog, print quality to detoriate, fastness properties to reduce and other things of that sort. Thus, inkjet ink, though some would like it to be, is not as simple as mixing two or more colours and getting the right shade, it is infact fairly advanced chemistry. A good ink is one, which is tailormade to the specifics of the printhead and the application used. The two most common printheads in the Indian print industry are the Xaar 128 and the Spectra Nova 256.”

Adnan Bilwani’s software engineer, Onyx in his presentation tried his best to get most friendly and interactive with the audience, talking on ‘RIP : version, optimum use of RIP S/W & future developments’ started with question round, in which he actually tested audiences knowledge about RIP. And after that everyone in the audiences was totally involved with him all through his presentation.

‘RIP – Raster Image Processors’ is a technology that converts data from your graphic image into printer language, tells the printer when and where to lay down the dots to make big pretty pictures and finally process image data to printer dots,” he said. In his presentation, Adnan explained the every minute detail of RIP technology and stressed on important features to be considered while choosing a RIP. According to him, always choose a RIP that provides efficiencies, optimizes setup, and allows for future growth; offers a universal workflow solution to automate, customizes and streamline processes from start to finish, standardises on ICC profiles for consistent colour output across applications, platforms, and file formats.

Not only technology, the company that is offering a RIP is also important. “Choose a RIP company that offers dedicated technical support, certified training programme, provides media profiles and printer drivers on-line and has engineering resources to innovate,” he advised.

In the concluding presentation, all time active Hewlett Packard’s (HP), application specialist Asia Pacific, Sudarshan Vaidya stressed on ‘LFP: maintenance, types, optimum use of inks and future developments’. Highlighting both pros and cons of the technology, he explained about large format printing in details. He also highlighted the common errors we tend to do while printing and explained in-depth about the nitty-gritty of the technologies of LFP.

He laid extra emphasis on the daily maintenance of the machine and said, “Maintenance needs to perform daily, weekly and monthly…which is a must. Neglecting proper shut down will definitely start eroding quality as heads and other electronic parts not properly run off power.” Pankaj Goswami, country category manager, LFP, HP presented the young and dynamic face of the company. In his presentation, he shared HP’s future development with the audience and mentioned company’s recent acquisition spree, “We have been expanding our portfolio through acquisitions. These acquisitions included Scitex Vision, MacDermid Colorspan and NUR Macroprinters. HP acquired Scitex just 30 months ago and today we have over 4000 customers worldwide,” he said. He explained company’s strategy of acquisitions as a total structured approach, “Actually we are trying to build in an ecosystem, where HP can offer everything from machines, software and to all other printing services.”

“Our other services include recently launched SnapFish, world’s largest portfolio management portal. We are trying to have big projects on web as well.”

Pankaj did share an interesting example of expansion of applications, which company had done for the SAP Open, Germany. “HP enables graphic arts businesses to confidently build their competitive advantage and successfully pursue new, profitable growth opportunities. Now the expansion of applications is endless. Imagine Olympics site during 80s and today, just see any of the sports event. The difference is quite evident.”

While mentioning company’s continuous growth trajectory, he said, “We have four R&D centers in Israel, US, China & Spain. Mastering all technologies – solvent, UV, water-based and latex, we are the leaders in our field. We also have five ink factories (South Africa, Puerto Rico, Singapore and two in Israel).”

He was quite confident about the digital print market in India, which is going to be much bigger in the coming years than what it is today. “Wide format printing is wellestablished in India, and the other segment i.e. superwide format is going to be the next big thing. Building wraps and extra large banners are becoming popular. The other segment, having a great potential is textile printing, which may be a next good business for Indian printers.”

“The wall paper printing will also offer great gains. Where all one needs is a printer that can print on a paper and with business contacts with graphics and interior designers, real good business can be generated,” he added.

“We have the proprietary thermal and piezo inkjet technologies, new HP wide scan print-heads & OMAS and also strong investment in innovative X2 MEMS print-heads as the core technology for future Piezo inkjet platforms,” Pankaj informed further.

 ‘Environmental-regulations’ is the prime concern of all Indian printers, he also discussed his views about the same and said, “Today, in India we have no regulations for outdoor advertising. But, it can be imposed any day. At HP, we have our technologies and options available with us. And we as an organization is very much concerned about the environment,” he concluded, while inviting all the industry professionals to drupa to visit HP’s grand participation. This year’s initial success of the Digital Print Summit has made the organizers to offer more next time where they would like to cover more destinations.
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