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High-speed inkjet press – Is the new generation killing offset printing?

The new generation of high-speed inkjet presses was introduced at this year’s Hunkeler Days. Not only are they faster and of higher quality, but they are also suitable for more applications. With the new technologies almost all standard papers can be printed without pre-treatment. This opens up a wide range of new products for this printing process.

High-speed inkjet printing – Where it has already proved a success

More than five years ago, the first high-speed inkjet full-colour printing systems were installed in Switzerland. Hence Switzerland was one of the pioneers of this technology throughout Europe. Many of the teething problems have now been solved and doubts have faded away. These systems have particularly become firmly established in the transaction printing (invoicing, bank and insurance documents). But also several mailing producers have meanwhile successfully used these systems for the production of personalized and individualized mailing elements.

Until today, however, the users are still struggling with the massive limitation that only a very limited number of uncoated papers can be processed. Coated papers are taboo for the existing systems.

New also for coated papers

At this year’s Hunkeler Days, Europe’s leading digital printing fair, various suppliers presented innovative solutions in order to heavily increase the wide range of printing substrates. The new machines have the common goal that you can print all possible kind of papers, i.e. also coated paper.

Various engineers have solved this challenge in two different approaches. One group applies a primer selectively on the paper surface shortly before the ink is transferred. The primer ensures that the ink adheres properly to the paper, but without penetrating too much into the paper. Since the primer is applied only in the printed areas, the haptic of the printed product does not change noticeably. This is mostly the case with today’s solutions.

The other group solves the high compatibility with various printing substrates through new ink qualities. We have seen from both solution providers excellent print results, which come very close to offset printing. In general, it is also emphasized that these new colours might cover even a larger colour space than offset printing. 

However, these new technologies must first prove themselves in practice. At the Hunkeler Days, various service providers, amongst them various Swiss companies, announced that they have already ordered such systems. Unfortunately, by mid-August, there was no press of the latest generation in operation in Switzerland. That's why we had to move abroad to test these machines in practice. The results were impressing, and we were absolutely satisfied with the quality achieved. 

Individualisation increases your success

In comparison with the traditional offset printing, with subsequent personalisation in black letters, the colour digital printers combine the two working steps into one. Each printed copy is created individually. In this way, all content, texts and pictures can be assembled individually. Experiences prove that such personalized mailings generate a much higher response.

Is inkjet printing killing offset?

Despite the impressive results, we do not believe that inkjet printing is killing offset. Volumes of up to 10,000 copies, however, will soon come under pressure and may also be partly replaced. This will particularly happen for products requiring an additional individualisation in colour. Here, the break-even point might quickly go up to 100,000 copies.

If you are interested in knowing how you can get the most out of these new technologies, do not hesitate to contact us: Tel. 044 855 22 22 or via email leo.arnold[at] We will be happy to advice you!

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