MGI unlimited colors

MGI unlimited colors
One of the stories of drupa was the rise of digital foiling solutions, ProPrint casts its eyes over the contenders.

What does the MGI do?
Unlimited Colors is an inline digital hot foiling system introduced for the French manufacturer MGI’s Meteor DP series of dry toner digital presses. It comprises the new iFoil T foiling unit that can be fitted to new presses, or retrofitted.
The Unlimited Colors name refers to the fact that hot foil is not just available in metallic and holographic materials, but a wide range of spot colours and effects. The press can overprint onto the foil as a second pass, and create digital holographic effects.
Here we are considering the complete package of the Meteor DP 8700XL press with the inline foil unit ready-fitted. This five-year-old mid-production press is based on a Konica Minolta dry toner four-colour duplex print engine, modified for thicker and longer media including plastics.
The XL+ has an offset-style pile feeder that can take very long sheets up to 1,200mm long. Unlimited Colours is also available on the DP8700S+650, which doesn’t have the pile feeder and is popular for envelope printing. It will also be optional with the forthcoming Meteor DP 1000XL, which uses the latest Konica Minolta engines.
MGI is supplied in Australia by Konica Minolta, which owns the company.
In future the foiling unit will also  come as a standalone unit with a feeder and stacker.

When was it launched?
Unlimited Colours was announced at drupa 2016 as an option for Meteor presses. The iFoil T unit is adapted from the iFoil system used with MGI’s JetVarnish 3D clear UV spot varnish inkjets.

How does it work?
The iFoil T takes ribbons of standard hot foil from any supplier. It then incorporates a foil roll feeder and waste takeup, with a heated application roller.
First the press prints a black-only image where foil is required. As the sheet passes through the foiler, the heated roller and the foil ribbon are pressed against it. The black toner absorbs heat, activating adhesive on the foil, which transfers to the image. Paper or plastic media reflects heat so the adhesive is not activated.
The application roller is ‘indexed,’ so it can be raised and lowered as the sheet passes underneath. Different widths of foil ribbon can be used, while two different ribbons can fit across the width. Like any digital press every copy can be different.
It might be possible to print a four-colour image with black-only areas that would pick up the foil. In most cases it would be simpler to run two passes: black-only for the foil, and then manually reloading for a full-colour pass, which gives the possibility of overprinting the foil. MGI’s new
AIS SmartScanner camera-based registration compensates the ripped image for any size changes on the second pass.

How does it differ from previous models?
Meteor presses are modified to fit the foiling unit between the press output slot and the delivery stacker. The EFI Fiery front end software is also modified to control the foiler and registration of second passes.

How fast/productive is it?
The foiling unit runs up to 50 A4spm. This is a nominal speed as it depends on the indexing and length of foil per copy. The press is slowed to match it, but full speed can be used for the second
print-only pass.

What is the USP?
It appears to be the first digital foiling unit to run inline with a press and use the same rip and press controls.

How easy is it to use?
The foiling unit is controlled from the Meteor front end, so using it is pretty straightforward. A specially named spot colour is created in a design program, overlaid over the main image. This is detected by the Meteor DFE and used to print the black pass, and to trigger the indexing roller in the foil unit.

How much does it cost?
Unusually, there’s no click cost so you just pay for consumables plus a support package. In UK pricing a DP8700XL with Unlimited Colors, will cost about $180,000 more than the standard press. Upgrades to existing installations will cost a bit more to cover adaption. because the press will need to be adapted.

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