Bridge the gap between digital and litho with Duplo’s range of B2 finishing equipment

11 Mar 2024
  • Altron Document Solutions
  • Duplo
  • innovation
  • Print finishing equipment
  • Technology

Print has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last half-century, enabling print providers to do so much more than was possible a decade or two ago. The main impetus for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) has been to provide printing equipment that will improve efficiency and reduce costs, while making it possible for print operations to expand their product offerings.

The B2 format is an important and common offset press size for commercial printers, which is why digital presses are increasingly being brought to market in this format, bringing profitability and flexibility into businesses. This is proving to be an attractive opportunity for traditional printers because they already have established production and finishing processes that cater to the B2 sheet size.

Until recent years, the maximum sheet size for most digital presses was usually limited to the smaller SRA3 format for two-up applications, restricting the usefulness of the platform or making it necessary to rework the imposition of jobs in order to fit them onto the smaller sheet size.

With the rise of B2 digital presses, the vast majority of work a commercial printer is producing on offset equipment can now be easily moved. Simply put, bigger is ultimately better when it comes to increasing cost-effective short runs, quick turnaround times, personalisation and on-demand printing solutions.

One of the roadblocks that has discouraged print providers from adopting digital print technologies, has been the lack of corresponding B2 finishing options for these new presses – the rationale being that using the B2 press format to achieve more items and thus reduce the cost per sheet also creates the risk of bottlenecks as a result of not having B2 finishing equipment on the floor. In simpler terms: taking one step forward can easily turn into a backward step that leads to increased costs in another area of the business.

This, however, has changed with Duplo introducing highly automated digital finishing solutions in the much needed B2 format. This offering enables operations to look at their complete workflow holistically and create a seamless process from print to finishing, thus bringing upgrades to efficiency and productivity across the entire operation.

Duplo’s finishing solutions come in form of the B2 PFi Blade B2+ Digital Cutting Table, the DC-20K B2 Cutter Creaser System and the DuSense DDC-8000 for spot UV.

Duplo PFi Blade B2+ Digital Cutting Table

Duplo’s PFi Blade B2+ Digital Cutting Table is a digital shape cutter/die-cutter that can cut any shape you can think of. Utilising digital cutting technology, this cutting table can produce short run packaging, custom shaped cards and labels. The PFi blade will cut, kiss cut and score a range of substrates including paper, laminates, adhesives and synthetic stocks up to 6mm thick, including double wall corrugated board.

It has a tooling head that does creasing, perfing and cutting all in one process. This enables print service providers to offer online, on demand box and other kinds of packaging on up to 6.2mm thick substrate.

Utilising the PFi Blade Connect software, the triple tooling head follows the lines sketched on the cutting file to finish applications into any shape desired. Media is held in place on the flatbed through a suction zone below the conveyor belt as the tooling head moves throughout the sheet. Each sheet is vacuum fed, with the air knife aiding in the separation, as it is transported onto the cutting table. The feed tray elevates as sheets are fed and it can be reloaded without interrupting the operation.

Duplo DC-20K B2 Cutter Creaser System

Duplo’s DC-20K Cutter Creaser System is a slitter/cutter/creaser that can also do perfing on straight lines. This system is fully automated, thus enabling print operations to save time, improve efficiency and save costs, by removing the bottleneck to production and physical effort required when relying on a guillotine to finish printed sheets. One simply loads the job on the machine and once finished, have completed sets of business cards, menus or perforated pamphlets etc. from the B2 sheet.

From smaller than a business card up to 720mm long, any variation in print is handled by a camera in the B2 cutter that automatically adjusts for any skew. This is complemented by a second camera to ensure the tools are correctly aligned with the print.

The DC-20K works with Fiery© Front End systems, which enables companies to set up and gang up in such a way that they can imposition various jobs on a B2 sheet in a manner that will minimise waste, maximise efficiency and eliminate errors.

Duplo DuSense DDC-8000

When it comes to B2 spot UV, the Duplo DuSense DDC-8000, takes embellishment to a whole new level, both in terms of the paper formats it can handle as well as the range of superb high quality raised effects it delivers.

It creates embellished prints with spot UV at different thicknesses ranging from 10 to 80 microns and also incorporates digital foiling. It creates a sensory experience by adding a gloss three-dimensional sensory coating to printed images on B2 sheets. The DuSense can work off both litho and digital presses on coated stock as well as uncoated stock that has first been laminated.

Its ability to make prints stand out and give them a tactile quality makes the DuSense the ideal choice for high-end work especially in the packaging arena, where products need to be noticeable and appealing on the shelf. Markets in Europe have demonstrated that where print embellishments are included, such prints usually outsell unembellished prints by 5:1 because of the effect that it has on the print-buyer.

An array of the latest 600dpi inkjet printheads produce high definition images from PDF and TIFF format files, using grayscale images to create textured printing of variable density in just one pass. The technology utilised in this machine enables a combination of heavy solids and fine detail in the same image, as well as smooth curves and detailing in fine lines down to 5 point fonts.

The Duplo DuSense combines advanced features that allow short to medium print run lengths without compromising on quality or creativity. Twin camera and the Duplo IRM (Image Register Mark) ensure alignment precision within 0.2mm accuracy along the entire sheet length. With an automatic setup and adjustment for every sheet, extending from the XY image shift to stretch, skew (rotation) and twist (distortion) that are particularly common after laminating.

One of digital’s strongest benefits is the ability to print a run of hundreds or hundreds of jobs of one, with no difference to speed or productivity either way. With the addition of digital finishing to match the press size and speed, jobs can get even more individual.

Adding B2 digital presses and finishing equipment can be a fantastic investment for a print provider looking to evolve and grow in new directions. Especially in the unprecedented times we live in, the added flexibility and lower costs can make all the difference. B2 digital presses are gaining in popularity as applications can be easily shifted from offset to digital. With B2 digital finishing added to the mix, the possibilities are endless.

The key factor in doing this is in the method, but that method is inevitably pointless if the tools aren’t up to scratch. Altron Document Solutions brings these tools to market through incorporating Duplo’s print finishing equipment in its offering. Duplo is a globally recognised and very well respected brand in the world of finishing, and an ideal fit in the digital and the litho landscape. With this range of solutions, Altron is assisting print providers on the finishing side of their businesses, enabling them to innovate and be more creative with print, while increasing efficiency and profitability.

It could be suggested that the B2 format is taking digital printing to the next phase of its continued evolution, allowing for greater sustainability and longevity, with the newfound technologies and constant innovations that make this so.