There are a lot of moving parts involved in bringing a new inkjet press to market – even if you have done it before. In the most simplistic terms, it involves identifying the market segment to pursue, selecting or developing all of the component parts and tuning all of those parts, fluids and software to work efficiently together. As we noted in a recent interview with Xaar, tuning all the pieces that make inks and heads work together can be a long and frustrating process.
In 2018, when Monotech’s Systems made the decision to venture into inkjet labeling they were breaking new and fertile ground for the company. According to Jimit Mittal, President of JETSCI® Global at Monotech Systems, “The labels and packaging segment had the highest growth among all printing segments during last few years and it is expected to grow at a steady rate for many years to come. Demand for digital printing was growing as well, so we decided to develop the printer with all necessary options to cater to this market in a cost effective and productive way.” Market data supports Mittal’s optimism, the printed label market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% over the next five years, even after the market disruptions from Covid-19.
Monotech, based in Chennai, India, already had a strong reputation as a manufacturer and supplier of solutions for the printing and packaging market including pre-press, digital printing, digital enhancement, wide format printing, and printing software – but inkjet label printing was a new venture. Montech had been in the inkjet manufacturing business for over 15 years mainly for large format, multi pass printers. Their lines of presses had previously focused on monochrome and multicolor before developing their first full color system with the Jetsci Colornovo.
According to Mittal, “The thought of developing a full color system itself was a unique challenge with limited resources at that time, but we started overcoming those challenges in step and phase manner.” Challenges faced by Monotech included achieving a perfect web control system at 50m/min with 100% registration accuracy, discovering the best curing, finishing, and converting methods, along with applying the best color management options.
A globe-spanning integration effort, the press uses Kyocera piezo drop-on-demand 600×600 dpi printheads from Japan and modular control systems from Grafisk Maskinfabrik of Denmark to create a 330mm print width system. The presses are manufactured and assembled by Monotech in India. The press is configured as CMYK with optional White UV inks.
The challenges faced during the development of the system led Monotech to seek outside help, and I’m happy to say that they looked to Inkjet Insight. According to Mittal, “I knew Inkjet Insight for quite some time and was reading one of Mary Schilling’s articles and then I decided to get in touch. With her knowledge and advanced skills, I was sure she would be a high value add for our development of a full color label printing system.” Bringing in outside help brought a new level of confidence to Monotech’s venture, according to Mittal, “She helped us achieve accurate colors and quality through a step-by-step process and provided us with many resources and the knowledge base to help us make improvements even after her visit.”
Innovation does not happen overnight. Being successful in bringing a new inkjet press to market requires expertise that isn’t always present in an existing company. Bringing in outside resources can help fill the gaps on teams to ensure that everything from development to print can run smoothly. According to Mittal, Mary’s guidance allowed them to learn, “The right process of achieving our targets of best color, quality, productivity and outputs. She filled all the gaps which we were missing during our development and trials.”
Bringing in outside resources at the beginning of a project can help minimize mistakes and help the development timeline run faster and smoother. Inkjet consultants can help maximize efficiency so targets can be achieved on time and at their best capability. According to Mittal, “I highly recommend having a consultant at the initial stages of development and really it will cut down lot of investment in time and money by bringing timely results. We were a little late in time to market because we got Mary helping with this work at later stage of development. We wish we would have contacted her earlier because we could have saved 3 to 6 months of time easily.”
Inkjet consultants can help projects run smoothly, but choosing the right partners is important as well. A full color label press requires choosing or developing a web control system, proper print head DPD options and resolution, electronics and compatible fluids, curing technology, RIP and color management integration, finishing and converting processes. According to Mittal, “we are very lucky to have partnered with best of the industry leading suppliers and partners and we could pass the bridge easily with help and best support of all of them. Special mention to Mary who completed our last but most important part in development.”
The first Jetsci Colornovo-Digital Label (UV Inkjet) Production Press was installed at Wonderpac India in January of 2019 just after its formal launch at Label Expo India in November of 2018. The 5 color (CMYK/W) press is available in multiple configurations and comes with customized inline/offline finishing and converting options. Monotech has already installed 17 presses in India and overseas with more in the pipeline of production. Covid-19 had a small impact on their growth, but they are expecting to get back on their successful growth track very soon. Based on the standards and practices developed with Inkjet Insight, they were able to launch Kolorsmart and Colornovo variants with up to 6 color options based on the same technology Mary helped develop. Monotech’s latest innovation comes in the form of the Jetsci ColorAqua, their first roll-to-roll inkjet label press.
As the pressure intensifies to bring inkjet products to market more quickly, the market is ripe for inkjet consultants and integrators to support OEMs and brands seeking bespoke solutions. Often it can be difficult to find support when it is needed so we invite all technical inkjet consultants and integrators to contact us about adding a free listing for their support services on our (soon to be expanded) Workflow and Software Finder. Please contact us for a listing.