Throughout the evolution of grand-format digital inkjet technology, we’ve seen quantum leaps in image quality and productivity.
Today’s inkjet printers produce high-definition images at production level speeds. We see it in today’s POP printers, in the high-end market with super high speeds presses, and with single-pass inkjet technology that is revolutionizing the analog to digital transition in the corrugated and package printing space.

Faster turnarounds…
As the demand for faster job turns increases (many end customers often requiring production turnaround in just 24 hours), print providers rank printer speeds as a top consideration in their buying decision.

Require faster technology.
As inkjet printing technology gets progressively faster, the need for a more efficient and automated workflow increases – from faster job acquisition and file processing to more efficiently feeding media and offloading finished graphics to faster finishing by eliminating the need to jog sheets when they go from press to cutter.

Here are 5 key reasons automated media handling is becoming increasingly important when considering production-level inkjet technology:

  1. Necessary for fully utilizing the production speeds of the printer and maximizing your printer investment
  2. Ensures your production is consistent and repeatable from job to job, day to day, etc.
  3. Helps with the consistency of stacks of printed output on skids for faster packing and shipping
  4. Delivers significant labor savings:
    1. Eliminates the need for one person to load and another to unload media to keep up with production
    2. Labor costs go down by 75% because one person can now run two presses (4 people down to 1)
  5. Optimizes printer operator’s time to focus on more critical tasks versus loading and unloading media

Automation options defined.
There are many options for automated media handling, from assisted production to fully automated media handling and everything in between. Here’s how most major printer manufacturers define those options:

    • Automated unloading is when the material is placed onto the printer by hand, and the automation removes the printed media to a stack on a pallet.
    • With 3/4 automation, the media is placed on the table by an operator who indicates that the loading is complete and then advances it through the print cycle. The automation removes the printed piece on the back end to a stack on a pallet.
  • Full automation – the pallet to pallet concept – allows you to place stacked media on a pallet into a feeder. The feeder loads it onto a table, then moves it over a transition table into the printer. The printed graphics move across the output side transition table and into a fully automated media stacker.

Get even faster with these technologies.
In addition to the automated media handling options, there are a number of technologies available that can be used to achieve your desired results.  Check out this video from Zund, featuring the Zünd G3 cutting system with an industrial robot for loading and unloading boards. And there is some new fully automated technology coming onto the scene that allows you to move, separate, transport and stack media all in-line.

Be sure to ask about the automated media handling options available when you are evaluating your next production-level inkjet printing system.

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