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Inca Unveils Onset Flatbed

Delivers a top speed of 5382 sq ft/hr.




In late April, Inca Digital hosted the debut of its high-production Onset flatbed at its Cambridge, England headquarters. The CMYK UV-curable printer can accommodate 10.5 x 5-ft sheets and deliver a top speed of 500 sq m/hr (5382 sq ft/hr) or 100+ full-bed sheets an hour. Note that this print speed includes automated loading and unloading of the media; in actuality, Inca reports, the machine prints closer to 700 sq m/hr (7534 sq ft/hr), but media handling is a speed-limiting factor. The machine prints a full-sized sheet in five passes, which takes about 40-45 seconds.

“The Onset includes some of the core technologies we have developed to produce the Columbia Turbo and Spyder presses,' says Bill Baxter, managing director at Inca Digital. “Onset’s design also draws on our experience in developing the high-speed, single-pass FastJet press, specifically developed for the corrugated market.”

The Onset is targeted primarily at P-O-P printers currently using screen-printing technology; Inca claims that this machine is an ideal replacement for screen printing on jobs with short run lengths up to about 8000 sq ft (or a run of 250 4 x 8-ft sheets). The company also hopes the system will bring attention from offset P-O-P printers who want an option for shorter-run printing. Other applications include exhibition graphics, backlit displays, outdoor signage, and lenticular printing.

“The Inca Onset is a machine that is so fast that it not only delivers a highly competitive solution for screen printers but provides a highly competitive alternative to offset presses, offering a flexible and cost effective alternative for up to 400 finished sheets,” says Jerry Avis, international strategy and business development director for Fujifilm Sericol (Fujifilm Sericol will distribute the machine).

The machine comes standard with Wasatch SoftRIP v. 6.0 and produces graphics up to 600-dpi resolution. Compatible with a large range of substrates, the Onset also allows edge-to-edge printing on substrates as thick as 10 mm (with a micro-height adjustment control for maximum print quality) and as heavy as 10 kg (22 lb) at full speed-providing the ability to proof a job on the material on which it will finally be produced.


Its dual mercury-lamp curing system uses the lowest energy level per media type. Customers also have the option of producing a satin or gloss finish-with gloss providing the most depth of color. The type of finish, however, affects throughput speed. Top speeds per finish include: satin standard, 5382 sq ft/hr; satin quality, 4521 sq ft/hr; gloss standard, 4521 sq ft/hr; gloss quality, 3767 sq ft/hr.

The Onset's total printhead array is so large (approximately 5 ft wide) that the head moves only a few inches in either direction during printing. Like the Columbia Turbo with its shuttling print bed, the Onset's print head moves perpendicular to the table motion.

The array consists of 24 modules (6/color), each containing 24 Spectra printheads (producing a 28-pl drop), for a total of 576 heads, which plug-in to the Inca print bars. That translates into 73,728 individual nozzles. The nozzles are meant to be redundant so that any problems from nozzle misfirings or clogs are alleviated with the additional nozzles.

The printer uses a new variant of Fujifilm Sericol’s Uvijet UV inks that are designed for rapid curing and offer a 2-yr indoor/outdoor lifespan. Using Sericol's Micro-V dispersion technology, the Uvijet UV digital inks are formulated with automotive-grade pigments that deliver high density to create vibrant, durable, lightfast colors; and the inks are less likely to chip when graphics are guillotined, routed, or folded, reports the company. These inks provide superior adhesion to many different materials, including paper and board, wood, flexible and rigid plastics, and metal.

Because of its fully automated loading/unloading system, Inca reports, the Onset can be operated by one operator with a minimal 20 min set-up time at the start of each day. The automatic load/unload system is standard, although there is a quick turnover to manual mode if required for fast proofing or production of single prints. In addition, Inca reports that the Onset offers double-sided printing with perfect registration and has fixed dual-registration points.

Price: With present exchange rates, the complete system will cost approximately $3 million. It requires nearly 3,000 sq ft of floor space.


Beta testing for the Onset begins in Great Britain in late spring. Inca expects to begin taking commercial orders for the system by the end of the summer; the Onset will begin shipping in August.





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