Fujifilm to work with Barberan

Fujifilm has announced that after two years of discussions it is now working together with Barberán to develop a single pass inkjet press aimed at the sign and display market.

This Jetmaster 1750 from Barberan is a single pass inkjet press for the corrugated market.

Barberán, which is based in Spain and dates back to 1929, has developed the Jetmaster series of inkjet presses in the last ten years. These cover several markets, including decoration of wood, metal and glass panels as we well as packaging and signage. Theses presses are available in different widths up to 1950mm and run at speeds up to 120mpm. Consequently Barberán has proven expertise in designing substrate transport systems and manufacturing large industrial presses and already caters for the high volume end of the sign and display market. 

Neither company has offered much detail on the new press they are planning other than to say that it will be a 1.6m wide machine capable of running at up to 6000 sqm/hr. In my view, the existing Jetmaster 1750 could be a good starting point for this purpose.

Eladio Lerga, Technical Director of Barberán commented: “We’re really excited to be bringing our technology to a whole new market. Fujifilm’s breadth of experience in print for sign and display will be crucial to this – as well as its expertise in inkjet ink chemistry and inkjet systems. Working together we can maintain our print speeds and quality, and adapt our systems to accommodate a much wider range of substrates and to meet the very different market requirements of this sector.”

Barberán mainly seems to have used Seiko printheads and its worth noting that there’s no mention of Fujifilm’s Dimatix printheads in this announcement or of the print resolution that the two companies are aiming for. 

Fujifilm’s contribution to this project will be to develop a bespoke ink and primer suitable for printing on a range of substrates, including plastic and particleboard at its plant in Broadstairs, UK, which used to be Sericol. 

David Burton, Business and Commercial Director at Fujifilm WFIJ, explained: “We choose our partners carefully and Barberán is no exception. We’ve been in close talks with them for more than two years because they have a huge amount of expertise in industrial print manufacturing and we saw an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship. They already have a single pass product that is proven in the corrugated sector, and we have the expertise to help them adapt it for the very different requirements of the sign and display market.”

He pointed out that Fujifilm also has a much bigger sales and distribution network, noting: “It’s a market presence that spans commercial print and packaging, as well as sign and display which, of all the graphics sectors, has digitised most rapidly in the last two decades. We’ve played a key role in that transformation and, with this project, we can take that process a step further – supporting digitisation for some of the highest volume sign and display production businesses in the world. We will be able to provide a path to digital transformation for businesses printing such massive volumes that (for now) offset processes often still make more economic sense. That breadth of experience, and our unrivalled expertise in ink development, combined with Barberán’s skill in heavy engineering, also makes us the perfect partnership to provide a business development opportunity for high-end flat sheet sign and display printers”

It’s worth noting that Fujifilm previously addressed the high volume end of this market through its relationship with Inca Digital, and that the Inca X-series Onset flatbeds also aimed to challenge the offset market. And although this relationship appeared to sour after Screen took over Inca, it still seems to me that Fujifilm missed an opportunity to acquire Inca before it was sold to Agfa. As it is, the Fujifilm/ Barberan press will probably be competing directly against the Inca SpeedSet press that is currently in development and which Agfa is hoping to bring to market next year. 

This new press from Fujifilm and Barberán should be available in late 2023. You can find more details on Fujifilm’s ink technology here and on the corrugated presses from barberan.com.

…with a little help from my friends

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