Screen announces new SAI label press

Screen has been talking about a new inkjet label press at this week’s Label Expo, the Truepress Jet L350UV SAI, though it’s been hidden behind a screen, which seems like a really weird decision, unless it’s just a mock-up.

Screen’s L350UV SAI is the latest version of its UV inkjet label press with several versions offering a choice of speeds.

Screen says the new press has been developed to answer customer demands for lower installation costs and for better print quality though it mainly appears to be an update of the existing L350UV+ machine. Screen has moved a few elements around, so that its footprint is roughly 15 percent smaller while the ink station and power box have been integrated into the machine.

However, the print engine remains the same, using Kyocera printheads with 600 x 600dpi maximum resolution. However, as Martijn van den Broek, sales and product manager for Screen Europe, points out, these are greyscale heads with 3, 6 and 13 picolitre drop sizes, and this combination allows Screen to render images at 2400 dpi. It should be noted that the current Screen presses do actually produce quite good quality images. The Kyocera heads also have the advantage of having a 5ins print width so that Screen can achieve a 350mm web width by just stitching three heads together, so that there’s only two stitch points across the printbar, which helps to simplify the system.

There are four models in the SAI series, starting with the standard S variant, which runs at 60mpm. There’s also an LM version of this for food labelling with a low migration inkset.

Then there’s a cheaper E model, which runs at 50mpm and supposedly offers lower installation costs, as well as a higher end 80mpm Z version. In theory it should be possible to upgrade from an E to an S model though it’s too early to say if these versions can be upgraded to the Z spec as this uses a slightly different head, with a higher 30KHz frequency. This higher frequency allows it to lay down more droplets, achieving the higher speed without the cost of adding more heads. 

The basic machine has CMYK colours plus white and with three further slots for orange and blue plus one for functional inks, which can include things such as UV sensitive inks for security applications. Customers can start off with the basic configuration and add additional colours in the field when needed.

Screen says that the new series have also benefited from proprietary colour management technologies developed in collaboration with the German company CGS. 

Personally, I hope they didn’t waste too much time picking the name. The press release vaguely suggests that sai might be Japanese for ‘colour’ or ‘high’ though Google Translate reckoned that ‘again’ or ‘repeat’ might be a better fit, which seems fitting since Screen has mostly revamped the L350UV press. Screen also suggested that the letters might stand for ‘stable’, ‘accurate’ and ‘integrated’ though that sounds like a desperate reach for some kind of meaning that would make sense to English speakers, or maybe people less cynical than journalists. 

That said, Screen is obviously doing something right since it has installed some 150 inkjet label presses worldwide since around 2014, which is a fairly reasonable number. The new S-variants should be commercially available at the start of 2020 though it will be Drupa before the Z models appear. You can find some more information at screeneurope.com.


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