Introduced in April 2020, Canon’s varioPRINT iX-series sheetfed inkjet press has seen a rapid uptake in the graphic arts market during its first year. Commercial printers, in particular, have installed the press to support growth across a wide range of high-value applications. 70% of users are commercial and online print businesses producing general commercial print applications including, but not limited to, brochures, greeting cards, flyers, postcards and books. With over 100 sales in its first year, the system has proven to be popular worldwide.

Faced with shorter runs, higher costs, demanding delivery times and diversifying print offerings, printers are under constant pressure to accelerate production. On top of this, many have highlighted that they’re making compromises because their existing technologies deliver on either productivity or quality, but not both. Canon introduced the varioPRINT iX-series to offer a solution that could cost-efficiently deliver premium image quality on a wide media selection, together with high productivity, fast throughput and increased uptime.

Transitioning to inkjet

Over 40% of varioPRINT iX-series users are new to Canon’s equipment, having installed the press to complement other technologies or to transition volumes from offset and liquid toner to digital inkjet. Since installing a varioPRINT iX2100 press, Printmedien Ennetsee AG, a Swiss-based commercial printer, has replaced all of its offset volumes and owner, Roman Nussbaumer claimed “Offset printing is a thing of the past for us, we now print with inkjet.”

Roman Nussbaumer highlighted how the iX2100 has enabled the company to remove steps in the printing process and increase productivity, “With the varioPRINT iX-series from Canon, we can produce products in a timely manner, are much more productive and can adapt to the market faster. Using inkjet, everything is done in one step. In other words, in six to seven hours instead of two to three days, as in the past with offset. At the same time, I have quality assurance in the system and there are no errors in the run.”

He also explains how the inkjet press is easy-to-use and can achieve superior quality which is essential at Printmedien Ennetsee AG, “Within a month of installing the new system, we’ve obtained new orders that we wouldn’t have had with offset printing. It’s easy to operate and you can always rely on the final product. Tests we’ve carried out have proven that the printing quality is on par, if not better, than offset. Our production set up now allows us to be more competitive, even against international competition as we’ve received some orders that were previously produced abroad.”

The press output was also evaluated by Fogra and achieved the FOGRA51 certification for achieving the Process Standard Digital (PSD) Print Check specification. Customers can, therefore, have the confidence that their technology achieves the highest levels of colour fidelity, consistency, uniformity, print resolution, detail sharpness and stability of print.

Severn Print, a UK-based environmental print company, expanded its technology line up with a varioPRINT iX2100 in August 2020, giving Severn the ability to move into High Definition POD, and is complimented with a new investment giving automated binding capabilities. The press is running alongside a VarioPrint i300 and a ColorStream 3900 continuous feed press and, since installation, has enabled Severn to increase capacity by 75 – 80%.

Mark Allington, Managing Director and Owner of Severn comments on the key benefits of the press: “Canon is really at the forefront for inkjet printing and the new varioPRINT iX-series has set a new benchmark for this. The device delivers breakthrough quality that matches offset, toner, and liquid toner technologies, alongside the highest levels of uptime and reliability, without having to compromise on cost. It enables us to offer broader capabilities to customers, including the ability to print on a greater range of media from 60gsm uncoated to 350gsm coated, which will help to expand our customer base further in the future, both domestically and overseas.”

Hayco Van Gaal, Vice President Sales and Service, Commercial Printing EMEA, Canon Europe, comments, “We’re pleased to see that there’s been such a positive interest in the varioPRINT iX-series from the global commercial print market. When we unveiled the press last year, we wanted to offer graphic arts printers a solution that ensured they no longer had to compromise on productivity or media versatility to deliver high quality. It’s, therefore, encouraging to receive feedback from users that reinforces that it is delivering in all areas, allowing users to exceed customer expectations, take on new work and grow their businesses.”

Reinforcing its success in the market, in 2020, the varioPRINT iX-series was presented with an EDP award and, as a winning technology in the Keypoint Intelligence Outstanding Innovation Awards in Production Print, judges highlighted that the varioPRINT iX-series is “the first true sheetfed inkjet press capable of handling different formats and weights of coated and uncoated media”.

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