In announcements due today (27 February 2023) at the Hunkeler Innovationdays event, Canon has revealed the ProStream 3000 series of web inkjet presses and a significant software update for its VarioPrint iX sheet-fed inkjet line.

Built on the established ProStream platform, the new ProStream 3000 series is said to deliver consistent offset-equivalent print quality and brings a wider selection of substrates, including heavyweight papers, up to higher print speeds, enabling faster digital production of a broader range of commercial print jobs.

The extended media capability is claimed to makes it easier for print providers – including general commercial and online printers, book producers and photo product specialists – to migrate high-volume high-value work from offset and other ‘legacy’ technologies. According to Canon, ProStream now offers the full end-to-end productivity benefits of inkjet production across the majority of applications, from direct mail and books to postcards, posters and calendars.

Available in two versions – the 80m/min ProStream 3080 and the 133m/min ProStream 3133 – the new press series prints web widths up to 558mm and page ‘lengths’ up to 1524mm. In terms of sheet-fed format productivity, the new ProStream models  can print up to 11,300 4/4 B2sph or 1790 A4-size 4/4ppm, equating to 58 million A4 impressions per month, on a wide range of substrates and weights, including standard offset coated, uncoated and inkjet-optimised papers up to 300gsm, without slowing down significantly for heavier media.

To achieve this, the 3000 series incorporates an enhanced drying system, based on that used in the ProStream 1000 series, which uses air floatation, but adding a new asymmetric design which is said to dry all jobs evenly and in a controlled way without coming into contact with the paper. Image quality with ‘accurate, vibrant colour’ is delivered by native 1200dpi piezo drop-on-demand print heads used with Canon’s water-based polymer pigment inks. The extended media capability comes from Smart ColorGrip, a new version of Canon’s jetted primer. Now also available as an option for the ProStream 1000 series, this allows the amount of ColorGrip solution to be varied across the page to adjust for heavy or light ink coverage.

Jennifer Kolloczek, European Planning, Marketing & Innovation senior director, Production Print at Canon Europe, commented, ‘With the launch of the new ProStream 3000 series, we’re further expanding this successful platform, delivering the speed, efficiency and media versatility printers need to energise their growth. The enhanced productivity on a number of applications means that users can now confidently migrate even more offset and other print work to digital on-demand.’

The first ProStream 3000 will be installed at Pixartprinting Group in Italy, joining the company’s existing three ProStream 1800 presses, which have been used to bridge the ‘margin maximisation gap’ between the company’s existing offset and digital B2 toner presses.

On the sheet-fed inkjet side, Canon is launching a new software release R4.3, which it says ‘delivers an exceptional level of image quality, efficiency and productivity’ and extends the applications of the VarioPrint iX series to premium direct mail and high quality image-rich books. This is achieved through a new automatic image quality verification system, which scans every sheet to check the quality and dynamically adjusts system parameters as needed.

Other performance advances include an automatic customer media validation process for the easy set-up of new media, as well as improved detection of potential multi-sheet feeds in the paper input module. The update also brings a number of workflow benefits with the Canon PrismaSync controller such as SMB hot-folder support, subset support via JDF, media handling for two-sided media with different front/back treatment and improved encrypted disk support. The software update will be available in March 2023.