MGI hopes to start Evolution revolution at Drupa

MGI Digital Technology is targeting evolving companies with a scalable digital enhancement press, “artificial intelligence” registration system and printed electronics as it aims for a €100m (£79m) turnover following closer ties with Konica Minolta.


The MGI stand at Drupa 2012

MGI said its Jetvarnish 3D Evolution is the world’s first digital sheetfed enhancement press to be scalable from a B2 to B1.

The eight-colour inkjet, due to be launched at Drupa, builds on the company’s existing Jetvarnish 3D digital enhancement press, first shown at Drupa in 2008, but will allow owners to buy a B2 machine and then upgrade to B1 in situ when business allows. MGI has notched up more than 400 installations of its B2 presses so far.

The B1-format option can produce digitally embellished images, text, data and brand designs using spot varnish, 3D raised varnish and digitally embossed foil in one pass.

It features three available substrate size options: 520x1,200mm, 640x1,200mm and 750x1,200mm. The Jetvarnish 3D Evolution 75 achieves more than 4,000sph B2, with the B1 running at 3,000sph, MGI said.

MGI vice-president Victor Abergel said: “We call it the Evolution because the customer can start with the B2 and can upgrade the machine to the B1 just by adding some options. The chassis uses B1 but the inkjet heads and the foiling process is sized for B2.”

Abergel estimates the B1 will reach between 20% and 30% of the B2 market. The standard B2 Jetvarnish 3D range starts at €433,000 (£340,000) but cannot be upgraded. The Evolution starts at at €600,000 for B2 and €800,000 for B1.

MGI will show the new printers at Drupa with its new AIS SmartScanner sheet registration system", alongside automated inkjet head cleaning, pallet stacking and feeding systems.

“The artificially intelligent scanner will be installed on all our technology. It has been in development for three years. There is zero makeready, zero waste and a perfect registration, We’re talking about 20% time saving,” Abergel said.

“Our scanner makes 5 trillion calculations adapting the file to the printed sheet, to ensure we’re dropping the UV or the foil on the sheets with zero manipulations from the operator. The operator just needs to push the button. The calculation is for each sheet and will be made inline with a powerful standard on all the machines.

"We consider it a disruptive technology.”

Abergel said the packaging industry was becoming increasingly important.

“We are listening carefully to our portfolio of customers. they are ready to invest in the finishing process, in the packaging the most important is the finishing process. That’s why we decided to develop the B1 process.”

The French company’s stand at Drupa will also show printed electronics via Ceradrop, which is owned by the MGI Group, which will show a new B2 packaging application merging MGI digital printing and finishing technologies with Ceradrop smart packaging using RFID printed antennas.

“Our first AlphaJet was shown as a prototype at Drupa 2012. It’s a 5,700sqm/hr B2 eight-colour inkjet press with capability to print electronics with nano silver ink. On the front you will be able to print eight-colour and on back will be the antenna to communicate with customers’ devices. This is really disruptive technology,” Abergel said.

MGI is also working with other partners, such as Agfa, on smart packaging options.

The product launches come as MGI enters a new stage in its link-up with Konica Minolta, as it aims to reach a €100m turnover by 2020. Konica Minolta increased its stake to more than 40% of shares as of 1 April. It will also distribute of all of MGI Digital Technology's products through its international network.

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