“We plan to focus on the industrial and packaging space”
With digital printers getting more energy efficient, eco-friendly and faster with better registrations, industries like packaging and corrugation are adopting digital printers, thus leading to more automated workflows in their plants.
With digital printers getting more energy efficient, eco-friendly and faster with better registrations, industries like packaging and corrugation are adopting digital printers, thus leading to more automated workflows in their plants. SM Ramprasad, Head - Graphic Arts Business, Fujifilm India Pvt Ltd, analyses how digital technology has entered well into industrial segments with Fujifilm’s Acuity printers.
Tell us about the new printer Acuity and its applications.
It comes in three variants — roll-to-roll for printing on substrates such as flex, vinyl, and fabrics; flatbed printers for printing on rigid substrates, and the hybrid printer which can function as a roll-to-roll as well as a flatbed printer. The application segments of Acuity’s flatbed printers are in glass, acrylic, wallpaper, and metallic sheets, amongst others. The Acuity flatbed is applicable to the signage as well the interior design industry. You can even print a house door on our flatbed printer. The Acuity flatbed printer facilitates printing on any rigid substrate up to 50-mm thickness.
Which eco-friendly changes have you experienced recently?
There has been a change in the landscape of the signage industry with stringent rules coming up considering the environment, such as the ban on flex as well as with the restrictions on the use of solvents. These actions have triggered many end-users to opt for more sustainable options, to be on the safer and greener side. This is where Fujifilm’s Acuity UV printer plays a significant role. Customers have started demanding environment-friendly inks which are Green Guard-certified, such as our Acuity UV inks. About four years back, there were only a few UV players around when we pioneered in these types of equipment, when we kick-started our dedicated demo centre and so at that time, hardly one or two per cent of customers were willing to put their bet on UV.
How has the UV printer segment performed recently?
Every customer is now looking at UV as one of the possibilities in the signage industry. Industry is still dominated by solvents and eco-solvents but UV has definitely created its own space. Currently, 15-20 per cent of printing is happening on the UV space and this figure will rapidly change to approximately 50 per cent within the next two years, and after that almost 60 to 70 per cent of the printing will be done on UV platform.
What are printing capabilities of the Acuity printers?
All of these Acuity printers offered by Fujifilm come with white ink that opens up a lot of possibilities for printing as it widens the range of applications. White ink enables a three-layer printing application. In this, first, a CMYK is printed on a clear film over which the white is printed. On top of the white, again a CMYK colour of a different artwork is printed. On the same side of the substrate, you print three layers showcasing the front and the back of the clear film with different artworks with a sandwiched layer of white ink, acting as a base for the CMYK artworks. For the signage and graphics industry, people use Acuity for rigid as well as flexible substrates. Another feature of Acuity is that it can print using thermoforming inks.
Why thermoforming inks?
Using a thermoforming machine with the application of heat, the printed rigid substrate gets softened and takes the shape of the mould. Even if there is a 90-degree bend, the ink doesn’t break. So, in such a scenario, thermoforming inks, due to their special properties, have the ability to expand 1000 per cent more as compared to regular ink.
What are Fujifilm’s future plans?
The future looks exciting as Fujifilm holds the largest number of patents on UV inks, many possibilities can be there in the coming years. Being one of the pioneers in UV ink technology, Fujifilm ticks all the boxes due to its approach as total solution, superior product performance and backed with quality service support.
We don’t just limit ourselves in the space of signage and graphics. We have expanded to the photo market and the interior decor. We further plan to focus on the industrial and packaging space. The corrugation market is going to be a major game-changer in India, as it enables a wide range of applications. There are a number of possibilities with corrugated board printing. We will be exploring this area in the coming years.