In this interview with FuturePrint TV, Richard Fisher explains how Fujifilm is bringing new value to its customers in inkjet ink development projects through its new Application Development Centre.
The UK-based facility is equipped with a suite of purpose built high performance inkjet print testing equipment. As Head of Application Development, Richard leads a team of experienced Application Specialists, experts in inkjet ink, print and application.
What is Application Development? – 00:31
“It’s a subject that gets overlooked by many people. Part of our role as the Application Development Team is to take the initial feasibility work R&D have done and put it through its paces, understand what the functionality is, what the image quality is, which R&D cannot do offline. We are lucky enough to have made significant investment here in the Application Development Centre in single pass hardware. As you can see from this example here, this is predominantly UV. We have other systems which are single pass water-based. And what it allows us to do is take that initial development that R&D have done and really put it through its paces. Does it perform as the specification that the customers have required? And what we’re trying to do is take that pain and some of the pinch points out of that development process for the customer. So, we can do that enormous amount of screening before giving them the ink for their particular system, or, in some cases, advising on the type of system that they could eventually look to design themselves. In discussions we’ve had in the past, inkjet is new to a lot of customers and brand owners. And they might not understand the capabilities or what it can do for their business.“
Good opportunity to see what inkjet can do – 01:59
“So, in those instances, it’s also a good opportunity for a customer to come and see what inkjet can do. Especially high-speed single pass to see if there is an opportunity, how can I move inkjet into my side of the business, or how can it compliment my existing analog processes?”
Different inkjet technologies – 02:25
“This is UV. So, it’s UV LED, or we can do mercury cure as well. We see inkjet and analog as a complementary process. We have a pre and a post flexo unit, so we can do over printing and under printing with other analog processes to try and really understand how they interact together. As I said earlier, we’ve got a four-color water-based system that again allows us to do those initial screenings to find out where the products work and where they might not be working quite so well. And that’s designed for water-based pigmented systems.”
Expanding color ranges for pigment textile inks – 03:02
“We are also lucky enough; we’re working closely with other partners where we’re developing pigmented textile inks. So, we’re looking to expand color ranges outside the standard CMYK set. We’re working with oranges, greens, and violets. In the long term, we’re looking at even jettable pre-coats or primers in that type of sector. So, we have a vast amount of capability here that we really want to share with potential customers and customers that are looking to adopt inkjet.”
Reducing potential risks – 03:34
“It does help reduce risk. I think there’s always an element of risk when you’re trying to go into a new technology. And I think having the development centre here allows customers to come in and experience it firsthand. And ask those challenging questions: why do you need to do this, why do you have to do it this way, what’s different to the current processes that we do today? I think helping that educational process is vital in that transition from analog to inkjet, or as complimentary to what they’re doing today. It also helps them understand. It’s a different mindset.”