Japanese packaging printer Kinyosha Printing Co. Ltd has started production on its newly installed Uteco Sapphire Evo press, following a successful on-site acceptance test.

This high production digital inkjet press expands the company’s package printing capabilities, with a cost-effective and highly flexible digital printing option for high-speed, high-quality applications.

The press is installed at the Kinyosha plant in Ōguchi, a short distance from the Nagoya urban area. Kinyosha is to use its Sapphire Evo to print both paper and plastics substrates across different applications for leading brand clients. Kinyosha is also using Kodak’s personal care pigment inks, which are certified for skin contact on personal care products and comply with regulatory requirements for indirect food contact in the EU and the US.

Izumi Makino, president of Digital Package Print International (DP2 International), which is responsible for packaging digital marketing activities as one of the group of companies under Kinyosha, said, ‘It is exciting to be the first operating installation site in the world for this ground-breaking capability in the packaging market. The flexibility to digitally print on flexible substrates and papers with environmentally friendly inks will enable us to offer our brand customers new creative solutions.’

Sapphire Evo has been developed by Uteco in partnership with Kodak. Utilising Kodak Stream inkjet technology and environmentally friendly water-based pigment inks from Kodak, Sapphire Evo is said to deliver ‘excellent’ CMYK print quality on a variety of papers and plastic film materials such as PP, BOPP, PE and PET. The web press, which is equipped with Kodak Stream inkjet lineheads and driven by a Kodak high-speed digital front end, supports a maximum web width of 650mm and a print width of 622mm. With production speeds of over 150m/min, it is claimed to be faster than any other digital system for flexible substrates currently available. Sapphire Evo W follows from Uteco, and will be the first flexible packaging press to enter the market using Ultrastream continuous inkjet technology.

Randy Vandagriff, president, digital print group and vice president at Eastman Kodak Company, said, ‘The successful commissioning of the Sapphire Evo press at Kinyosha is fantastic proof that Kodak Stream inkjet technology meets both printers’ and brands’ requirements for a high-performance, high-quality, full-colour production digital solution for flexible substrates with very short make-ready times and minimal waste.’

Uteco Group president and CEO Aldo Peretti added, ‘Sapphire Evo combines our technological excellence in the development and manufacture of printing presses with Kodak’s innovative continuous inkjet technology. Packaging converters now have a digital solution at their fingertips which lets them expand their portfolios with totally new applications and simultaneously save time and money by migrating work from traditional printing processes to digital.’