An article authored by InfoTrends consultant Bob Leahey on WhatTheyThink.com (Hybrid Press Profile: FFEI Graphium Updated, 8/4/15) captures his key takeaways after attending a FUJIFILM “Tech Summit” for label converters that featured the Graphium Hybrid Press technology.

“…what’s the rationale for hybrid label printing? The simplest reason is that hybrid printing gives the converter more options to execute jobs — spot colors that inkjet can’t quite match can be printed in analog on a hybrid press, and where variable data is needed on a long run of color, a hybrid press prints part of the job with digital and part with flexo. Meanwhile, inline finishing, which is rare for most digital presses, is a common option for Graphium and other hybrid presses.” Bob Leahey, InfoTrends

Mr. Leahey goes on to describe how Graphium is designed with the benefits of Hybrid printing in mind, noting the hybrid presses features:

  • Variable data printing and inline finishing options, including rotary die cutting, lamination, and cold foiling
  • A new maximum speed in high-quality print mode of 147 fpm
  • The ability to print a broad range of standard flexo media, whether with inkjet or flexo, thanks to standard web cleaning and corona discharge treatment
  • The introduction of “over white” ink capability featuring FUJIFILM inks that can be printed on top of an inkjet or a flexo printed image, or on top of bare facestock
  • Can be paired with existing “under white” ink which adheres to flexo inks or bare facestocks

Leahey reports these last two points highlight a challenge for hybrid printing that FFEI claims to have conquered.

“FFEI and Fujifilm are not as well-known as some other digital press vendors, but the collective experience of the two companies certainly benefits Graphium.” Bob Leahey, InfoTrends

Leahey adds that Graphium engineers have reported addressing three other challenges for hybrid printing:

  • The user can stop mid-run to check printing, then restart without loss of registration, setup, or media waste
  • Graphium has new workflow features to manage hybrid jobs (i.e., where plates and dies must be managed along with the digital process color file)
  • Fujifilm inks show consistentcy from batch to batch, allowing a job to be printed with fresh ink to match the colors of a job printed six months earlier
  • FUJIFILM North America distributes the Graphium Hybrid Digital Press in for U.K.-based FFEI.