Agfa has formally unveiled its SpeedSet 1060 inkjet digital press for folding cartons, with a two-day VIP event drawing converters, supply chain partners and industry analysts alike to see the machine in action first-hand.

SpeedSet 1060 is a high-speed, sheet-fed and water-based inkjet printer for the packaging market. The inkjet engine can be configured with up to seven colours/printbars, although the demo machine is currently only running CMYK. OGV are additional colour options. A digital priming unit and two digital varnish stations bring the number of possible on-press modules for jetting consumables up to 10, when fully configured. The press is fed by 200-litre barrels, although the possibility of integrating with an ink farm is being considered, depending on the specifics of those converters looking at adopting the press. With all consumables being water-based, they are stated as environmentally friendly and in compliance with food-safety regulations. SpeedSet 1060 can handle media from 0.2mm paper up to 2mm microflute, printing at a maximum speed of 11,000 B1 sheets an hour. Such a media range makes the press suitable for applications like retail- or shelf-ready food and beverage packaging. A proprietary ‘floating’ steel vacuum conveyor belt is used to ensure sheets are positioned correctly and held in place when travelling through the inkjet engine, before being handed off to the Natgraph hot air drying unit. Mabeg systems are used to feed the press and stack printed sheets. Agfa’s Asanti workflow software is used to run SpeedSet 1060, having been developed and honed in the sign and display market where Agfa has a strong and established heritage.

Matt Brooks, Matt Brooks, head of packaging at Agfa

Matt Brooks, head of packaging at Agfa, at the printing bay of SpeedSet 1060

‘SpeedSet 1060 is set to be a game-changer in the packaging printing market,’ stated Matt Brooks, head of packaging at Agfa. ‘This fully digital packaging printing press merges the robustness and print excellence of an offset press with the compelling attributes of inkjet printing. It offers offset-like print quality yet boasts shorter set-up times, reduced material waste and efficient variable data printing. On top of that, with its killer speed of 11,000 B1 sheets per hour, it is simply the fastest digital packaging press around.

‘[SpeedSet1060] will enable packaging converters to make their current operations more efficient. Print runs up to 5000 will be cheaper on the SpeedSet.’

The alpha machine is installed at the former Inca site in Cambridge and is to be used to showcase the press in the immediacy. At 25m in length, 5.5m at its widest and with an anticipated three-month build time, don’t expect to see SpeedSet 1060 demonstrated outside of this location anytime soon. Beta machines are currently under construction, with one to be installed in the UK/Europe and the other headed to North America. Agfa is finetuning SpeedSet 1060 in collaboration with such early adopters. Several well-known packaging converters were in attendance at the launch event, highlighting the level of interest in such a press.

Whilst SpeedSet 1060 has been on the drawing board for a number of years, the recent acquisition of Inca by Agfa helped bring the press to market.

As Agfa CEO Pascal Juéry explained, ‘[SpeedSet 1060] is the result of Inca’s integration into Agfa and has positioned us into an entirely different place in the digital printing world.’

He went on, ‘We are now recognised as one of the players that will help shape the market for digital printing; it’s not about doing ‘me too’, it’s about making markets and pushing digital in new territories, new markets, new geographies and new areas. This is the aim we have within Agfa.’

The acquisition of Inca has helped Agfa with the transformation of its business, which is centred around three growth engines. Digital print is one of these. Whilst Mr Juéry notes that Agfa started on its digital print journey more than a decade ago, ‘the Inca acquisition accelerated this and has seen the combination of best-in-class inkjet technology and equipment with best-in-class ink chemistry.

‘SpeedSet 1060 a perfect example of what we’re doing. We want to play a leading role in our targeted growth areas.’

Read the January/February (issue 1) 2024 edition of Digital Labels & Packaging for more on Agfa and its transition and the role SpeedSet 1060 will play in this; register here to receive the magazine