Durst chooses Ricoh printheads

Durst has signed a €50 million deal to work with printheads from Ricoh. Durst already uses Ricoh Gen 5 printheads in its Alpha textile printing systems as well as the Durst P5 series of large format printers.

The Durst Crystal R&D centre at the Lienz factory in Austria.

Nonetheless, it’s highly unusual for Durst to put out an announcement regarding its use of a particular type of printhead. Durst has an extensive state-of-the-art R&D centre where it tests and tinkers with printheads itself. In the past, Durst has bought in actuators and other components from suppliers such as Fujifilm Dimatix and then assembled its own arrays. 

Indeed, Ricoh’s press release specifically mentions its work on Durst’s P5 wide format printer. Yet, when the P5 series was first launched Peter Weingartner, then Durst’s chief technology officer, told me that the company had worked closely with Fujifilm to develop a new MEMs-based printhead, using some parts such as the nozzle plate from the newest (at that time) version of the Samba printhead. For the SPC 130 corrugated press, Durst added its own recirculation system to the Dimatix Q-class printheads.

So it appears that Durst has now also developed a similarly close working relationship with Ricoh and that Ricoh is willing to further develop its heads to fit Durst’s exacting standards. This leaves open the question as to which company owns the intellectual property and how free Ricoh will be to use this for heads that it supplies to other vendors. It’s worth noting that for the SPC 130, Durst retained the IP for the recirculation system it developed with Fujifilm.

Dr Christian Compera, Global General Manager of Ricoh’s Industrial Print business, Ricoh, says: “The partnership will allow us to develop our printheads in a more focused way with real-world requirements. Often there can be a high level of protectiveness surrounding printhead intellectual property, materials and printhead production technologies as well as ink formulations. By bringing together the Ricoh and Durst development teams, we share the goal of continuously improving the entire printing system, which ultimately benefits customers.”

Durst continues to use Dimatix heads in its Tau RSC label press and VariJet printers with Dr Stefan Kappaun, executive vice president for inks and fluids for Durst, telling me: “Durst is screening the available printhead technologies on an ongoing basis. The choice of printhead is finally determined by the fit-to-application and the technical performance.”

So it appears that this arrangement with Ricoh simply gives Durst more choice when it comes to selecting a head for a given printer and makes the company less dependent on a single printhead supplier. 

Christoph Gamper, CEO and co-owner of the Durst Group, concluded: “This deal reaffirms and continues a collaborative approach with Ricoh. Extending our partnership with Ricoh enables us to achieve a faster time-to-market for new printing systems, as we work together on the perfect interaction of printheads inks and substrates. Not only does this allow us to achieve maximum print quality and performance but also to guarantee reliability for extended printer life. It gives our customers a clear basis for their investment decisions, without the risk factor of the printhead.”

You can find further information on the printers from durst-group.com and the printheads from industry.ricoh.com.


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