Inkcups has introduced a new direct to shape printer, the Revolution, which is designed to print to cylindrical objects. It’s said to be able to print full colour graphics on up to 600 parts per hour.
Essentially this builds on the existing Helix model but with more automation to handle longer production runs. It has an inline conveyor that takes parts in, and which can be manually loaded by an operator or automatically loaded if you set up a separate robotic system. The parts are automatically mounted onto 12 vacuum mandrels, deionized, pretreated with corona or plasma, printed and unloaded onto an exit conveyor after cycling through the machine.
The Revolution takes a wide range of cylindrical objects and open-ended tapered vessels from 76 to 305mm tall and with a diameter of 63.5 to 111mm. As with the Helix, it can print a maximum image length of 220mm, which can be wrapped seamlessly 360 degrees around the part.
There are three print stations, which appears to be one each for printing white, CMYK and then varnish. It prints with a maximum resolution of 702 x 900 dpi. It uses Inkcups’ patented Helical technology, which was introduced with the Helix and interlaces the inkjet drops in a helical pattern, which should smooth out banding and cover up any missing nozzles.
There’s an automatic pre-treatment that features an integrated flame, corona, or plasma treatment system to ensure parts are pre-treated uniformly and consistently for better adhesion.
The inks are UV with LED curing. There’s a choice of inksets, including the DL series, which has been formulated for adhesion to glass and plastic. This can be improved with the MagiCoat pre-treatment solution to enable glassware items to handle up to 200 cycles though a domestic dishwasher, depending on temperature and detergent. There’s also a Prop. 65 compliant S1 Series for use with rigid substrates such as stainless steel and metal, and the XFlexx Series for flexible applications such as squeezable water bottles without cracking.
The Revolution can only print one artwork design at a time though the software will automatically change the artwork to the next job once one has completed.
Ben Adner, Inkcups Founder and CEO. “I feel it is everything we intended to achieve when we started the project over two years ago. We set out to develop an industrial printer for the sweet spot in the market – a machine that’s fast enough to produce real volume; flexible enough for quick change over; have the outstanding print quality our customers are accustomed to; and priced competitively. The price-to-performance ratio of the Revolution is strong – it is a production machine capable of long runs at one-third the cost of comparable machines on the market. We are also proud that our system is designed and built in the U.S. and serviced globally by our experienced team of service engineers.”
The Revolution is available now in North America and will be available in the UK by the end of 2020. Naturally Inkcups won’t comment on pricing, but knowing the price of other Inkcups printers I’d be surprised if there’s much change out of a quarter of a million pounds. You can find some more details at inkcups.com.