09 March 2018 xDigital Printing Technologies

Ricoh aims to build on success in mid production sector of digital printing

The new Pro C7200 is intended to keep Ricoh at the head of the class with refinements throughout and greater value add options.

Ricoh has replaced its successful mid production Pro C7100 colour printer with the Pro C7200. The new machine is faster, running at 85ppm rather than 80ppm or 95ppm (90ppm), can run at this speed on media to 360gsm and includes improvements to colour control, registration and consistency.

“It is a completely new machine,” says Eef de Ridder, “that we will start shipping this month. It looks the same from outside, but is completely changed on the inside.

“Colour stability on the Pro C7100 was very good, but we have been able to increase that even further with auto calibration and inline sensors to ensure registration is precise.”

Two machines have been undergoing beta trails in Germany, one under Ricoh's brand, the other under Heidelberg's colours. What Heidelberg will name the machine is not known. The current machine is the Versafire CV.

The Pro C7200 is available in four- or five-colour colour versions, the latter more popular among commercial printers with the fifth toner station used for additional colours, clear varnish or now an invisible red toner that is activated by infrared light. White has been the most popular option on the Pro C7100. On the new press it can be applied in the first toner unit as well as the last, saving a pass through the press when printing on dark or clear materials.

The new colours join neon yellow and neon pink for creative effects and the invisible ink, while aimed at simple security applications, can be deployed to create a suite of different effects. Many of these will be tested at the Customer Experience Centre in Telford once the first production machine is delivered.

Long sheet handling is improved to be able to cope with a simplex banner to 1,260mm long or to duplex a 700mm long sheet. “We are extremely excited about this new entry to the range," says de Ridder. "The Pro C7100 is three years old and customers have been expecting a new model coming from Ricoh because this is a fast changing market.”

The Pro C7100 has been a success both for Ricoh and for Heidelberg with more than 3,000 installed across Europe. Ricoh hopes to emulate that success.

The big step forward is in terms of colour consistency and consistent image quality. There is a new toner recipe for this press, new positions for the on board sensors and the ability to change the position of the image on the fly should the paper shift during the printing and fusing process on the first side of the sheet.

Sensors, used for auto calibration are moved to different positions inside the machine to improve measurement and analysis. The ES2000 spectrophotometer unit is used to measure the sheet outside the press and to calibrate new papers for highly colour critical work. Calibration as before should be carried out daily.

As well as papers and boards to 360gsm, envelopes and the same range of synthetic materials, the new press is able to print on digital NCR papers.

The launch of the new cut sheet press comes as Ricoh Europe announces that a new ink has been developed for the VC60000 continuous feed inkjet press. This is a Ricoh development, says de Ridder, though is similar in concept to the ink that development partner Screen uses on the TruepressJet 520HD. Xerox’s HF ink for the Trivor will also print on offset litho papers without the need to a priming fluid.

There has been industry resistance to the concept of applying a primer as well as four inks to enable standard papers to be printed. “The industry wants to print without a primer and this gives that possibility,” says de Ridder, “as the inks are rolled out over the next year.”

There is no launch date yet for these inks. Meanwhile the Pro C7200 will make its public debut at a show in Lisbon next month followed by a series of events in separate countries. Back in the development labs in Japan, Ricoh's engineers will be working on the Pro C9200 as the next logical introduction to bring a similar level of improvements over the existing Pro C9100. However, if de Ridder knows anything about such a project, he is not saying.