KPG launches inkjet division

KPG Europe has a long history in the label and package printing market. For over 30 years the company has been in partnership with ToyoKoki in Japan, which designed and built Ko-Pack presses for the label industry.

Although the Ko-Pack name has gone, KPG continues to work with ToyoKoki, building specialist presses for complex packaging applications including casings, tube laminates, films and booklet labels/coupons.

KPG Europe is now set to move into digital printing with the launch of an independent business division, Inkjet Solutions, offering customized inkjet print modules for retrofitting to narrow/mid web printing presses or offline converting and inspection machines.

KPG’s expertise in web handling also allows the company to build complete standalone digital print converting platforms, from simple roll-to-roll solutions to complex modular finishing systems including UV flexo varnish and die-cutting.

Inkjet Solutions has adopted Kyocera heads for both its monochrome and CMYK units, printing at speeds up to 50m/min at full (600 X 600dpi) resolution. The monochrome unit is available in print widths up to 432mm and includes full variable data printing as standard. Typical applications would be for barcoding, QR codes, date and batch numbering.

The CMYK inkjet module comes in print widths up to 324mm and an optional white is also available. A pre-coating unit allows printing on a wider range of PS substrates.

‘We are used to building robust industrial systems,’ says John Richardson, technical services director at KPG and managing director of Inkjet Solutions. ‘Our customers are worried that scratches on a nozzle plate or using the wrong inks could invalidate the warranty, so we are looking at selling systems designed to be as reliable as our presses.’


‘Initially we are concentrating on niche markets, starting with monochrome and allowing the CMYK market to develop still further,’ says Richardson.

For monochrome inkjet, typical niche applications include marking liner rolls, which allows the converter or the laminate manufacturer to brand their label rolls. ‘Using the new Kyocera heads we would recommend printing at 150 m/min at 300 dpi for this application.’

Unique coding of pharmaceutical labels is another key application, and others include functional labeling, ticketing, tracking and distribution data, as well as security coding. ‘Our current aim is to serve markets where the quality is acceptable and we are not banging heads with HP,’ says Richardson.

A choice of inkjet heads is available to suit different applications. ‘We chose Kyocera because the KPG side wanted the line speed, but we are not tied to Kyocera where another head would be more suitable,’ says Richardson. ‘For example, barcode printing is our most requested application, and here a full web width Kyocera is over specified.’ Similarly a wide range of converting bases can be considered, from highly specified units with various modules to simplified roll-to-roll bases.

Material Choice

Inkjet Solutions has tested a lot of materials, particularly to define where corona treating is needed. ‘The bottom line is that for CMYK printing you need to be like HP and either coat your own materials or buy dedicated coated material. The materials suppliers have not widely addressed this issue yet. Cast coated inkjet-ready stocks are not widely available, those that are tend to be at a premium price – without further development it is not possible for inkjet technology to achieve the same color density and quality as conventional printing.’

As long as substrates are uncoated and porous there is no problem. ‘Materials with a rough surface, such as parchments, which are popular for wine labels, are ideal for inkjet printing, whereas conventional print processes struggle to achieve quality results. We have tested uncoated material, followed by a varnish and achieved image quality and color density comparable to conventional print,’ says Richardson.

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