Guest post by Mary Roddy, Global Product Marketing Manager, Xerox
Increasingly today, when people decide to print, they want something they can’t get through digital media alone, something special. So Xerox has developed digital imaging technologies that seek to deliver the extraordinary, such as the two that received prestigious InterTech Technology Awards in 2016.
One was digital printing’s first Metallic Dry Inks that rival the metallic quality of traditional foil stamping, released for the optional fifth toner station on the Xerox® Color 800i/1000i Presses. The other was Ultra HD Resolution, which overcomes a long-time bugaboo of digital color printing, to produce challenging elements such as gradients, thin fonts and vector graphics without a hitch. It’s a signature feature of the Xerox® Versant® family of presses.
Print Six Colors in a Single Pass
Now Xerox has married these award-winning technologies on a single press, with not one, but two Specialty Dry Ink stations. The Xerox® IridesseTM Production Press is the first xerographic digital press outfitted to print six colors that include gold and silver metallics either individually or mixed, in a single pass. It also uses a new formulation of High Definition Emulsion Aggregate (HD EA) toner that achieves the smallest particle size yet for Xerox color toners, to deliver even finer image control for ensuring that tints, gradients, fine text, and lines print as intended.
Moreover, Iridesse is a versatile, well-rounded production press that delivers on every expectation for cost-effective short runs, personalization and quick turnaround time in today’s automated print environments. With print speeds as fast as 120 ppm, a range of inline finishing options and the capability to handle mixed media and stocks as heavy as 400 gsm, print providers can take on complex jobs with confidence.
It all adds up to a brilliant opportunity for developing new revenue sources while simplifying production. Let’s take a closer look.
The Digital Enhancement ‘Wow’ Factor
Digital printing enhancements, such as coatings, metallics, white inks, spot colors and gamut extenders, are some of print’s best opportunities today. Print volumes are projected to grow at a 27 percent annual compound growth rate through 2020 while delivering margins ranging as high as 50 to 400 percent1.
The appeal of specialty enhancements is the intriguing design options they present for delivering a stunning “wow” factor to most any application—attracting attention, amplifying content and captivating recipients—to boost a brand’s image. Print buyers cite brochures, business cards, direct mail, greeting cards, point-of-purchase signage and book covers as their top applications for in-line digital enhancements.
That’s where the new Xerox Iridesse Production Press comes in. It’s a brand new platform that takes digital enhancements to the next level. At its heart is Color FLX technology, the six-toner-station configuration that brings incredible flexibility to the process of creating jaw-dropping effects and a rainbow of iridescent colors—the source of and inspiration for Iridesse’s name. Three Specialty Dry Inks are available—HD EA Silver and Gold Metallic Dry Ink, and HD EA Clear Dry Ink—delivered from either of two toner stations, one laying down ink before CMYK, the other after.
With this expanded palette, operators can mix HD EA Silver and Gold Dry Inks together or combine them with CMYK tints to create wide ranging hues of sparkling, metallic tones. Adding HD EA Clear Dry Ink can contribute to vibrant spot colors, metallic gradients, photographic enhancements, high-impact floods and other effects that make visual elements “pop.” Multi-pass and dimensional capabilities can further enhance these embellishments with tactile textures.
And it all happens in-line, in a single pass, at rated speed, with tight registration accuracy and all the advantages digital printing brings for lower-cost production, faster turns and the capability to personalize. This means you can produce more of the high-value, premium-priced print products that drive business growth.
Advancing Breakthrough HD Image Quality
Of course, to achieve the intended “wow” effect, digital enhancements need high-quality imaging. Iridesse delivers with the market-leading Ultra High Definition (HD) Resolution. Ultra HD Resolution is alone in the marketplace in combining 2400 x 2400 dpi imaging resolution with up to 1200 x 1200 x 10-bit rendering resolution to deliver four times more addressable shades than competitive presses.
But Iridesse goes a step further with a new low-gloss, small-particle (5 microns) HD EA toner formulation for each CMYK color. This new toner technology enables even transfer of up to six layers of toners while delivering greater image quality for vector graphics, finer lines and text, and smoother gradients without visible stepping. It achieves this high quality using less toner and no fuser oil, delivering prints that can be written on or coated post printing.
The new formulation also improves the sparkle of metallic prints, with flat metallic flakes embedded into the toner particles, boosting the dry ink’s Flop index, a measure of metallic reflectance.
Industry-Leading Production Automation
Clearly Iridesse expands your capabilities, but it also simplifies your production. It does this with industry-leading automation that takes costly human touch out of production processes.
It starts with press setup and color maintenance. Key calibration, profiling and alignment tasks are all automated via the system’s Full Width Array with Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS), which uses an in-line scanner with RGB sensors to ensure quick, accurate color reproduction. To further boost productivity, some of these automatic adjustments can be batched together and scheduled with a single click at the start of a shift or before essential jobs using the new EZ Press Check function.
During printing, color quality is maintained by closed-loop process controls that continuously monitor color patches. Any needed quality adjustments are made immediately and automatically.
A number of paper handling technologies also boost press performance. Mixed Media Xceleration (MMX) technology optimizes handling of high-value mixed stock and mixed embellishment jobs. A cooling module and a de-curling unit with a real-time curl correction option prepare printed sheets for productive in-line finishing.
Inline finishing options enable automated production including:
- Professional “crease folding” of inserts, menus, leaflets, cards and other pieces with the new Xerox Crease and Two-sided Trimmer
- Stapled sets of booklets and manuals with the Production Ready Booklet Maker Finisher
- Square-fold spines for higher value brochures and booklets with the Xerox SquareFold Trimmer Module.
Creating High-Value Printing Applications
Seeing is believing. These videos demonstrate several representative applications that give a sense of the dramatic way light catches on Iridesse clear and metallic inks. (Of course, they are much more dramatic in person!)
The rainbow of metallic colors in these postcards were created by mixing a Silver Dry Ink underlay with CMYK spot tints and gradients, and an overlay of Clear Dry Ink on text and for additional embellishments. The sheet was run in one pass on heavyweight 12”x18” stock, at 60 ppm.
To create the warm metallic colors on this wedding invitation, gold is the underlay as a spot color and mixed with CMYK. Silver provides a spot overlay.
The tire track specialty effect on this package was created with an underlay flood of Silver and an overlay of Clear Dry Ink, creating a “dull varnish” effect that results in the tire track specialty effect image.
This imposed 12”x18” sheet of six-color business card uses a Silver underlay plus CMYK tints to create a range of metallic colors, and an overlay of Clear line-work to add contrast and visual interest. On the backside, an underlay flood of Silver received an overlay of Clear to create the circle pattern.
What digital front ends are available for Iridesse?
Iridesse’s digital front end is the Xerox® EX-P 6 Print Server Powered by Fiery®, which was developed specifically to enhance production workflow efficiency for high-value embellishments and specialty applications. The next-generation DFE leverages Xerox print expertise with the capabilities of the market-leading Electronics for Imaging (EFI) Fiery DFE to deliver full digital productivity and flexibility.
What configurations are available for the Iridesse?
For information on configurations—including feeding and inline finishing configurations—please visit the new Product Explorer page.
Can I add texture to my print?
Yes, Xerox Multi-Pass allows users to add multiple layers of CMYK and Specialty Dry Inks (silver, gold and clear) to an application. This is done at the print server and without the need to manipulate the job source files. Xerox offers information on this process in the Xerox Iridesse Production Press resource tool “CMYK + Design and File Preparation Guidelines.”
Have more questions? We have answers.
Where can you get more information about Iridesse?
For detailed specifications, click here.
For a video overview of the Iridesse Press, click here.
For a closer look at the “wow” factor, click here.
1. Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing,” 2016