Canon launches VarioPrint i300 inkjet printer

Canon has announced a new cut sheet inkjet press, the Océ VarioPrint i300, which was previously announced in the US as a prototype called the Niagara. It takes B3 sheets, from 60 to 300gsm, printing 3,800 duplex B3 sheets, or around 8,500 duplex A4 sheets, per hour. It can print to uncoated, coated and inkjet treated paper, largely thanks to a new aqueous pigment ink.

It’s been developed in Venlo by the same team responsible for the ColorStream. The imaging system is based on that used in the existing ColorStream range, which use Kyocera printheads printing at 600 x 600 dpi but with variable sized droplets to produce an apparent resolution of 1200 dpi. This would imply that Canon could at some point offer the new inks for the existing ColorStream models.

Initially the i300 will be a four colour device, but Canon is planning to have up to six channels, for options which could include MICR and varnishing as well as spot colours.

It’s capable of duplex printing from a single engine, though there’s only one set of printheads. Those pages that are due to be duplexed pass through the heads, are then reversed and fed back into the paper path to be printed on the other side.

There’s no question that a cut sheet printer is flexible to work with but it adds considerably more complexity to the printer design. For a start, it’s harder to move the paper through the machine, especially if it also has to be reversed. But the tension of the web also helps to keep the paper in exactly the right place, essential for achieving higher image quality.

It will be driven by a Prisma controller which should offer integrated control over both the press and inline finishing kit. It’s compatible with the same finishing capabilities as the VarioPrint 6000 series. The first has already been installed at T-Systems in Germany, which specializes in direct mail. Book printing is also likely to be a target market.


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