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High-speed, high-quality UV inkjet printing technology

Providing high-grade printing comparable to offset printing using robust machines

Inkjet technology for commercial printing

Earth-friendly digital press capable of handling various commercial printing jobs

In 2016, Konica Minolta released the AccurioJet KM-1, a digital press for commercial printing. This press is capable of printing images on a wide variety of paper types, from woodfree paper and coated paper to some film base materials, by developing new UV inks (ultraviolet-curable inks) and peripheral technologies designed to deliver outstanding image quality, and can handle the diverse requirements of printing company customers. It is also environmentally friendly, producing almost no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and reducing waste thanks to being digital, printing only the required number of paper copies when necessary and thereby minimizing CO2 emissions.

The AccurioJet KM-1 is a next-generation eco-friendly press that can replace offset presses.

Examples of various paper can be printed with Accuriojet KM-1

Technology Overview

Conventional inkjet presses mainly use water-based inks. However, the types and thickness of paper they can handle are limited because water-based inks tend to distort the printing paper and cause wrinkles, like when a sheet of paper becomes wet. To achieve high-quality printing on various types of paper used for offset printing, Konica Minolta has developed new UV inks for the AccurioJet KM-1, which show a sol-gel transition at a specific temperature, and an original process technology for precisely controlling ink temperature and paper temperature, which is indispensable for recording inks.

The AccurioJet KM-1 is also equipped with a high-definition half tone technology, which realizes image quality equivalent to that of offset presses, as well as inline sensing and feedback control technologies required to stably produce high-grade printed matter for professional use.

The AccurioJet KM-1 next-generation digital press embodies these technologies.

UV ink technology for high image quality and high productivity.

Newly developed sol-gel phase transition type UV ink

Left: Printed image on coated paper with conventional UV ink Right: Printed image on coated paper with newly developed phase transition type UV ink

Inkjet printing depicts images and letters with clusters of small dots. The liquids that inkjet printheads can eject are low-viscosity liquids like water. To realize high-speed printing, the AccurioJet KM-1 ejects the inks of respective colors over one another on paper in just 0.01 to 1 second. Beautiful dots cannot be formed because the inks overlap one another faster than they are absorbed into the paper, and the droplets of these low-viscosity inks easily become mixed on the paper. On the other hand, offset printing can print beautiful images because offset inks are highly viscous and do not mix with one another on the paper. To solve the trade-off between the need for low viscosity until ejection from the inkjet printheads and the need for high viscosity on the paper, Konica Minolta has developed sol-gel transition UV-curable inks, which maintain a low-viscosity sol state at high temperature and become gelled as the temperature drops. We have thus succeeded in producing beautiful images by controlling the mutual mixing of the ink liquids thanks to a special formulation that enables the inks to gel instantaneously.

Inkjet process technology for stable high image quality output

A high-accuracy temperature control technology has been developed.

Diagram of head carriages with temperature control units

To produce high-quality images using the sol-gel transition UV-curable inks, Konica Minolta has newly developed an ink path technology, which uniformly dissolves the inks in the ink path until ejection from the inkjet printheads and maintains the dissolved state at high temperature to ensure stable ejection. In addition, to provide the gloss of the placed images with a natural finish, an original inkjet process technology precisely controls the temperatures of various types and thickness of paper.

High-definition half tone technology

Graininess-free, smooth half tone is reproduced.

Images produced by conventional half tone technologies are grainy because the inks coalesce on the paper and form large apparent clusters when dots impact next to one another. Our newly developed high-definition half tone technology produces smooth images with less graininess by controlling dots so that they are placed as isolated as possible, thereby reducing the clustering of dots which causes graininess. With this technology, Konica Minolta can meet the market need for high-quality images of portrait and bodies in photobooks, photos, catalogs, etc.

Image sensing technology

Stable supply of high-quality images with an in-line scanner.

In-line image scanner

To realize high-grade images with a high resolution of 1200 dpi, the AccurioJet KM-1 is equipped with a technology that captures printed images through the installed scanner, dynamically analyzes them, and gives feedback to the images. Thus, the difference in the ink ejection characteristic between the nozzles of the inkjet printhead can be instantaneously corrected, producing high-grade images.

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