Ricoh has announced a new single pass inkjet press, the Pro VC70000, which is essentially an updated version of the existing VC60000 but with the ability to print to a wider range of papers including uncoated and offset coated as well as inkjet treated or inkjet coated papers.
The main improvements are a new inkset with a much wider gamut and a redesigned drying unit based around the existing drum design. Tim Taylor, head of Ricoh’s continuous feed production printing, explains: “We have added lots of little heated rollers that go around the outside of the drum.” He adds: “The paper goes in and out of different rollers so that it’s constantly being straightened out, which keeps the sheets flat.” The result is that the press can print to lightweight offset stocks, taking 40 to 250gsm media. It may be possible to print to heavier papers but this depends on the flexibility of that paper, as well as its thickness.
The new press has the same basic specifications as the VC60000, and uses the same Ricoh printheads. It can print at up to 150mpm at 600 dpi and the press is capable of producing 1200 dpi images though as with most inkjet printers you’ll have to balance the speed against the resolution and the ink coverage. However, Taylor points out that because of the improved gamut in the ink it should be possible to use less ink to get images of the same quality as today, which together with the improved dryer means the printer can be run faster. Alternatively, users can take advantage of the wider gamut to produce more vibrant images without having to lay down any more ink than the current press uses for a given speed.
As with the VC60000, this press has been designed by Ricoh but is being built under contract by Screen. It’s not yet clear if Screen will offer its own version of this press though Screen can already print to offset coated papers with its Truepress Jet520HD thanks to its SC inks. Taylor says that the new Ricoh ink is “absolutely not the same ink as the Screen SC.”
Ricoh has also taken the opportunity to improve other areas around the press, such as adding a cooling unit – basically chill rollers – to the exit cabinet on each engine. Taylor says that this is to counter the heat in the paper caused by drying before that paper enters the second engine.
The press is currently being beta tested at a US printer. The first European machine is set to be installed in October for field trials to test for suitability with European media stocks with commercial sales expected to start at the end of the year. The price is likely to be around 10 percent higher than the VC60000 to reflect the improved capability.