The World of Industrial Printing Heads to Milan for InPrint 2016!

InPrint in Italy promises a revolution for industrial printing technology. Italy is Europe’s second largest manufacturing economy and Milan is a world-renowned design capital. In terms of industrial printing, the country has been an early adopter and a developer of new technology so, as a result, industrial sectors are thriving in a culture of collaboration and creativity. Décor, textile, ceramics, leather, glass, automotive and packaging, plus other industries are all enjoying a renewed emphasis on innovation as the market responds to changing demand and industrial printing continues to grow.

All the research conducted by IT Strategies and InPrint point towards accelerated growth for industrial print technology. It is a coalescence of consumer demand and technical innovation which is driving new opportunities for industrial print and, as such, the innovative Italian marketplace will provide added impetus and new opportunity for this sector. This year’s InPrint in Italy promises to be a key event in the development of industrial printing with a particular focus on décor printing.

The InPrint show itself has the vision of connecting new markets, creating new possibilities, and will unlock new opportunities for advanced print technology for manufacturing. Visitors attend from across different industries from automotive to packaging, and from pharmaceutical to sporting goods manufacturers, with the core driver being to source customised printing solutions for industrial applications.

The industrial decoration revolution in Italy

The ceramics industry in Italy has been revolutionised by ink-jet and, in just five years, the ceramics market has shifted from analogue printing to digital – driven by demand for more flexibility and lower cost production. With the market centred primarily in two key regions in Europe, in Spain and Italy, this revolution was quick and comprehensive. This has led many to ask the question: “Which industrial decoration market will next tip to ink-jet?” Attending InPrint 2016 will provide further answers.

InPrint in Italy has many new exhibitors participating. A leader in ceramic print production, Gruppo Tecnoferrari will have a stand for the first time and has significant experience in developing single-pass ink-jet printing for ceramics and new décor applications. 

In addition, System Group, another Italian based leader in industrial ink-jet single-pass technology, will make its début as a participant at InPrint 2016. Also a leader in ceramic print technology, this company will be connecting with new markets and opportunities across a range of décor printing at the event.

Italy’s Smartcolor is a new exhibitor at InPrint 2016. Its technology is based on the best roll-to-roll plotter re-engineered for industrial printing with systems that allow direct printing without pre-treatments on many materials. These include flat or slightly corrugated (5mm) such as wood, plastic, aluminium, ceramics, glass, cardboard and leather, providing a printing effect without thickness and with no odour, even with white ink. As with many exhibiting companies, the emphasis is on creating new print potential for fresh applications and markets such as crafts, fashion, industry, graphics and design.

Winning technology

InPrint 2015 Great Innovations Winner Kuei will, again, exhibit at InPrint with scanning technology and with its software partner, Metis, showing the impressive impact of the Haptink ink. This collaboration between engineering, chemistry, scanning technology and software enables the production of decorative wood with an impressive 3D haptic effect. This year they both will show the evolution of this technology plus new products yet to be announced.

SunJet is another leading ink company participating at InPrint 2016 and one which has also invested in the growing digital direct-to-surface décor segment. Phil Jackman explains how ink-jet is bringing something very new to this type of production which increases efficiency. “Ink-jet is an enabler in direct print as it is a non-contact printing process,” he states. "Traditional analogue printing works well onto paper but is more difficult onto hard surfaces. The combination of short run capability and the jettisoning of the supply chain become synergistic when printing direct to boards with ink-jet. My vision is that ink-jet will grow radically in the wood decoration industry.”

Canon Italia is another to participate, with a stand based on the possibilities available for industrial printing. Digital printing opens a world of new opportunities, even to companies that don’t know the potential or simply have never used it for interior decoration, furnishing, technical components and more, and all are now easily customisable with impressive decorations. Featuring on the stand will be applications presented by FPE | d'Officina, a technical partner which already uses Canon technology to produce interior applications, and more, for companies from many sectors. Visitors are welcome on the Canon stand to touch applications and discuss with FPE | d'Officina the wide range of application possibilities. 

Direct-to-shape packaging

Packaging is the largest single sector within industrial print and the continued development for direct-to-shape is building interest from brand and retailers. Italy is a leader in the packaging arena and has a number of exhibiting companies with products focused on this segment.

InPrint exhibitor, Italian company Martinenghi, is located close to Milan. It has successfully launched the Michelangelo direct-to-shape ink-jet printing machine which can print direct onto a metal container. Likewise, German innovator Hinterkopf is another participant with leading direct-to-shape technology that is adding value to packaging production. Recent news from Ritter, one of the company’s key customers, is that the Hinterkopf machine is capable of printing onto sealant cartridges whilst matching the quality achieved by screen-printing. 

Additionally, the energy reductions are considerable when printing with the D240 digital printing machine and Ritter has reported significant savings using 210 fewer metric tons of plastic per year, saving 15 metric tons of special waste, and 2.4 metric tons less waste such as old paints, paint residues and liquors. In terms of power, Ritter has reported savings of 450,000kWh of electrical power per year. In so doing, the company is reducing its CO2 emissions by 270 metric tons, proving the growing importance of industrial ink-jet.

ToneJet is also a leading direct-to-container print technology with a speciality for printing onto aluminium cans, proving popular in particular with the growing craft drinks market. With its nozzle-less print heads for industrial reliability, Tonejet’s digital printing technology is now opening up new opportunities for can printers and craft brewers alike, and contributing towards the growth of this exciting world-wide market. 

It isn’t just the marketing benefits that are driving preference for cans. For one, cans better retain the freshness and quality of a beer. Unlike bottles, they cut out UV light that degrade hops and change the taste and nature of the product. 

USA based EPS will also exhibit at InPrint 2016 for the first time. This company evolved into industrial ink-jet largely through its experience in pad-printing which is still being developed and integrated. EPS has grown with the support of Italian company Comec, based near Milan; until 2006, analogue printing was the main focus. However, the demand for digital solutions for product decoration began to shift the following year and, at that point, EPS developed its first single-pass ink-jet machine. 

Industrial screen-printing

Sakurai is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of industrial screen-printing equipment and, at InPrint 2016, the company will be providing insight and innovations for this sector. A leader in automated screen process for manufacturing, it will be demonstrating the power, flexibility and variety of industrial applications achievable with its technology and showing its MS80SD + CCD (camera registration system).

Screen-printing specialist ESC supplies machines for producing industrial items. Utilising a huge technical centre which is designed for testing, this offers customers the possibility of practical print tests. In this way, the suitability of the different print processes can be checked right from the very beginning of a product’s design. As well as its print technology, ESC has more than 65 years of experience in industrial printing concentrated on innovative, individually designed print solutions.

Nazdar manufactures the most comprehensive selection of UV, UV-LED, water-based and solvent-based digital ink-jet, screen-printing, and narrow web inks and coatings, all obtainable from a single source. These inks are used within automotive, direct-to-shape packaging, smart technology and many other applications.

Milan based Sirpi will exhibit again at InPrint and has been a manufacturer of ink and varnish for more than 50 years. The company supplies many industries such as furniture, automotive, packaging, label and general graphics. It has a wide range of inks ready to use, often designing and manufacturing inks specific to customer requirements. Sirpi has expert knowledge and manufactures water-based, solvent-based, UV-curable and UV-LED products.

Functional printing

A new exhibitor is French based Ceradrop which is a division of MGI Group. This company designs and markets materials deposition digital printers exclusively for the printed electronics industry and for smart 3D printing. Utilising a modular-based scalable concept, CeraPrinter series models present new opportunities for feasibility studies and the launch of new products into the printed electronics market. 

Alchemie Technology will show its Jetronica technology, which is an industrial head insofar as it has been designed for industrial use. The company says that most heads are fundamentally designed for graphic printing so the emphasis is on precise image reproduction. Jetronica comes at it from an entirely different angle and is designed for digital deposition of a variety of functional fluids.

While there is a significant amount of interest in direct-to-shape ink-jet technology for packaging, the development work undertaken by Mankiewicz with CyconJet is opening up new possibilities for different manufacturing lines. With a background in paint manufacturing,

Mankiewicz developed CyconJet which is a UV ink-jet system specifically developed for applications in the industrial sector. The company believes it is a different proposition to print onto paper and foils than it is directly onto curved shapes and metal based products. 

A new exhibitor for 2016 is ink-jet leader and InPrint Knowledge Partner, EFI. With its headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, the company is a major supplier of a constantly developing range of high-end production ink-jet printers and inks, print MIS/ERP workflow technologies and globally recognised EFI Fiery digital print workflow technology systems. 
Specialised operations within EFI include EFI Cretaprint in Spain, producing ink-jet printers claimed to be the most advanced digital ceramic tile decorating systems, and Italian-based EFI Reggiani, manufacturer of printing machines and pre-post treatment equipment principally for the textile sector. Expansion continues as earlier this year EFI acquired Rialco Ltd in the UK, one of Europe's leading suppliers of dye powders and colour products for digital print and industrial manufacturing industries.

Thieme is an international leader in high quality screen-printing and digital printing systems, from classic graphic printing to specialised functional coatings and the integration of printing processes in complex manufacturing procedures. The Thieme-Digital printing system is a variable machine concept which can also be tailored to individual customer requirements whether screen-printing or digital printing.

Sponsors and Ambassadors

Ricoh is a founder sponsor and Ambassador at InPrint 2016 and has been an innovator in the field of ink-jet technology for more than 30 years. The company is now marketing its fifth generation of ink-jet heads which is being used in 3D modelling, textiles and an array of industrial applications. In addition to this Ricoh will also show its industrial technology portfolio.

Jet-Set is a founder sponsor and Ambassador at InPrint 2016. A leading European developer and integrator of industrial ink-jet solutions in a wide range of industries, in 2015 it launched its innovative Gate technology platform which provides OEMs with the opportunity to quickly adapt technology production for a particular application within a specific industry utilising single-pass, roll-to-roll scanning or conveyor belt technology with industrial ink-jet.

Another founder sponsor and Ambassador at InPrint 2016 is Mimaki with its reputation as a leader in the manufacture of wide-format printing machines. The product portfolio ranges from solvent-based machines to textile printers and, for industrial, a range of advanced UV-curable printers. Mimaki will show its latest applications for membrane switches, packaging prototypes, machine parts and many more.

Agfa Graphics is also a founder sponsor and Ambassador at InPrint 2016 with the strapline ‘Your partner to integrate print into manufacturing’. The company demonstrates how ink-jet technology in its industrial manufacturing lines assists the function, decoration or manufacturing of devices. Agfa will show its UV ink-jet ink formulations that can be tuned to specific applications, as well as profound knowledge of the integration of all the elements in an industrial ink-jet printing process.

Heidelberg is yet another founder sponsor and Ambassador at InPrint 2016 and, in Milan, it will launch its revolutionary Omnifire 1000. This technology utilises ink-jet but it prints directly onto a solid 3D object, so the company describes this as 4D printing. Deploying sophisticated software that scans a surface then triggers electronics to jet perfectly onto an uneven 3D surface, this opens up new opportunities for print production onto surfaces and objects. Heidelberg’s Omnifire 250 technology is already being used within the sports markets with the individualised printing of footballs. It also has an application within the automotive and aviation sectors for the printing of components and panels and for packaging and for other container shapes.

Another founder sponsor and Ambassador for InPrint 2016 is INX Digital, part of Sakata, and always at the forefront of expanding its involvement in the printing and information industries, as well as taking an active approach to creating new business. Through its global network of companies it is a key player in manufacturing and developing ink solutions for newspapers, packaging, graphic arts and industrial printing onto evolving application areas including direct-to-shape printing.

Sensient Imaging Technologies is also a founder sponsor and Ambassador for InPrint 2016 with its wide range of inks and solutions for industrial digital printing, plus the capability to develop or integrate any of the components of the ink-jet process. Sensient now markets highest performance inks for all applications of digital textile printing, these being reactive, inks for polyamide, sublimation, pigment and direct printing onto polyester. In addition it produces a large range of inks for decorative materials, high pressure laminates, solutions for wall and floor coverings and water-based inks for non-absorbing substrates.

Last but not least, Xaar is a founder sponsor and Ambassador for InPrint 2016 and a world leader in the development of ink-jet technology and manufacture of piezo-electric drop-on-demand industrial ink-jet print-heads. This technology is used within a wide array of digital print applications including direct-to-shape, packaging and outer case coding, labels, wide-format graphics and ceramic tile decoration and other developing industrial applications. Xaar also develops and sells ink systems and electronics and offers a fluid optimisation service to accelerate ink-jet system development and adoption. 
InPrint 2016 conference programme

In Milan this year there will again be a full programme of free educational sessions. The high–quality conference series will run in two areas of the exhibition, these being the Main Conference room and the Showcase Theatre, focusing on trends and key areas of development in decorative, functional and package printing.

More than 60 presentations from top speakers and industry experts are available to all visitors, as well as lively discussions and debates all day every day, ensuring that the event delivers a ‘content rich’ experience for all. 

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