On a recent trip to Northern Italy I was reminded about how the area has possibly the most activity anywhere in the world with regards to inkjet development and integration. Particularly in Lombardy, the region is rich in innovation across a wide range of application sets and not just textile. It’s easy to talk and think just textile in Italy, but the reality is there are possibly even more exciting things happening in other decorative surfaces which we are bound to see at InPrint in Milan in November this year.
Whilst visiting Bergamo, I caught up with the team from JetSet who exhibited at InPrint 2015 and launched ‘Gate’. They were telling me enthusiastically about what makes the system special and unique.
Since its inception, JetSet Industrial has been building machines and solutions for OEMs. The company has a clear commitment to collaboration and is well known for its high level of experimentation and for developing application possibilities for industrial inkjet ink. They do this by partnering with the best technology providers and end users to create technologies that are right for the job.
With this in mind, ‘Gate’ aligns with this vision. It looks like a stand-alone machine that any customer can literally buy, plug in and play. But the idea of Gate is more to really give customers a clear idea of the potential of what can be done with JetSet’s engineering capability utilising the power of industrial inkjet. The value for the customer is tailoring the technology to their specific needs to fit in with their specific manufacturing requirements.
So I asked Sergio and Davide: Why has JetSet produced what seems to be its own machine when the business model seems to be about creating customised technology for OEMS’?
“Gate might appear to be a standard machine on the outside but it really is not. Gate is a digital printing platform with a different approach as it gives customers the possibility to develop a customised solution and integrate industrial inkjet into their production lines by using an open system that deploys all the necessary elements for industrial high quality output.” Explains Davide.
Sergio Ferrari, CEO of the company continues; “To be clear, Gate is not a traditional machine in the sense that we usually give to this term. Gate is a digital platform, conceptually new, based on modular components that can be made according to the real and specific needs of the customer. The emphasis is about providing a solution using a proven model (Gate) as a basis. It can demonstrate the potential and then it we can get to work with the customer on creating, developing and integrating their version designed to fit into their particular production line.”
So it is a kind of modular approach but uses any of the options available depending on the requirements?
Sergio continues, “Yes, this is a key point we believe distinguishes Gate from a standardised approach. We are not in the business of making standardised products for industrial use. We don’t think this is an approach that is right for industrial production lines. When you create an industrial inkjet machine, the group of technologies maybe the same, but we need to collaborate closely with the particular manufacturer to ensure that the Gate system we develop fits into the manufacturing line whatever this may be. You can’t create a standard product them simply leave the customer to do the rest. The customer understands their industry better than we do, and we understand inkjet better than they do. We combine this knowledge to create the best possible technology for the job.”
So standard inkjet machines are not as good?
“We do not think so. I am not being disrespectful – standard machine technology can be very good indeed however if it is not adapted or integrated properly it will never fully fit within the particular requirements that it has been bought for. In fact, feedback we have had from a business owner who complained that he had never found a supplier who can give him the satisfaction of developing and integrating a digital print machine to work within their particular manufacturing environment. For us this is logical. If you have a need, you need to invest in something that best meets that need. That is what we do with Gate which is designed to help manufacturers achieve across a wide range of applications and industries. Our principle is based upon our ‘digital platform’.
Why is this called ‘digital platform’?
Davide continues, “As illustrated in the circular chart here above, JetSet first evaluates the type of production that the client has to make. Following the print media – cardboard, wood, ceramics, or fabric – and the level of productivity and quality required – and if he requires test or industrial production and evaluating other variables – the platform is designed and grows around a core that is the ‘concept’.
Starting from the core, Gate can be built as a ‘scanning’ or ‘single pass’ system. Once you established the main use of the inkjet machine, JetSet proceeds to the composition of the elements, choosing between fixed top with suction, belt or roll-to-roll. Then we make the decision whether the machine will be stand alone or integrated in a production line.”
So the next step must be to integrate the system?
“Yes exactly. Firstly you will appoint the type of print-head which will be selected depending on the type of printing: these are currently Xaar, Dimatix or Kyocera. Then we choose the inks and the colour profile: four-color, six-colour or four process colours with adding coating or one or two whites also for 3D effect, and so on.
But what is stopping other companies merely taking the same approach?
Sergio answers, “Well this answer is simple. The digital platform Gate is patented even though it is an open concept because there are other components that make Gate a unique concept, such as the adjustable bar, the distribution system of the nozzles to ensure a uniform printing without solution of continuity (the typical ‘line’ or ‘banding’) and the new adjustment of the heads as a function of the print media and inks. To really show to people the potential of this approach, we have developed a Gate narrow web for printing onto objects.
“For this we use the same platform. Once we have built it once does not mean it becomes ‘frozen’ and formatted into a standardised configuration. It can be modified later to suit different media and inks. For example, for a complete change of the inking system, which applies the concept dual ink supply, it only takes 30 minutes and this enables the printer to switch from one product to another.”
JetSet define themselves as an ‘integrator’ in order to facilitate the switch over of all industrial printing systems. In addition to paper, cardboard for a more personalized stationery also in print media, this digital platform integrates seamlessly in the printing of ceramics, wood, glass, or gadget objects. Ultimately, we think we can say that having a single platform Gate, with the appropriate components, it is like having in one platform, two, if not three, machines.” Concludes Sergio Ferrari.
It is clear that Gate is a very clever concept that provides a mix of proven technology and customised delivery using the best and most appropriate components for the job. Something to watch as JetSet continues to grow and develop.
For more information check out http://jetsetindustrial.com/