Kao Collins shows off Xbar print module

The ink company Kao Collins has shown off a new print module and controller at last week’s Print 18 show in Chicago, USA, which is mainly aimed at high volume single pass labelling and industrial applications.

Kao Collins has developed this Xbar print module built around Fujifilm Samba printheads

The Kao Collins Xbar uses Fujifilm Samba printheads, running at speeds up to 300mpm with 1200 x 600 dpi resolution. Kao Collins says that it can print to a range of substrates from “porous bond to high-gloss coated stock” and “can be configured to print on other substrates like foils” which suggests that it’s aimed at labelling and packaging applications. It’s a monochrome device, available in a choice of two configurations: a single 238mm wide array; or a 119mm wide dual array.

However, it’s worth noting that Kao Collins also supplies a lot of inks for industrial printing. Last year the company set up the Kao Advanced Printing Solutions division to develop inkjet inks for applications such as “food safe water-based inks formulated to print on non-porous films, and inks for printing home décor”. There’s a choice of aqueous, both dye and pigment based, as well as water-based pigment polymer, UV and EB curable inks.

There’s also an Xbar controller to go with it, which can be configured to drive different printhead technologies. Kao Collins already supplies similar controllers that allow customers to replace multiple controllers for different systems with a single controller, mainly to make it more cost effective for those customers to move from older systems to newer technologies. Indeed, both the Xbar and its controller have been positioned specifically as an alternative to Kodak Versamark modules.

This is an interesting development as it is the first time the company has sold its own print hardware (apart from the controller) and does mean that it is now competing directly against some of its ink customers. It appears that the Xbar is mainly designed to help Kao Collins sell more ink into the speciality and industrial market sectors, exactly as Fujifilm is also trying to do with its own Samba printbar.

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