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Star product: Inca Onset X

By Barney Cox, Monday 25 January 2016

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High-end flatbeds for high-volume applications.


What does the machine do?

Inca’s Onset X is a new series of modular high-end flatbed inkjet printers aimed at the industrial end of the wide-format market, particularly point-of-sale. 

How does it work? 

The Onset X is much the same as all Inca’s UV inkjet flatbeds; the big bed swooshes under a tower of printheads to build up the image in a small number of passes.

How does it differ from previous models?

The X1 replaces the Onset 40, the X2 the Onset 50 and the X3 represents a new category. The bed is slightly bigger, it’s 3.2m instead of 3.14m, which enables it to accommodate three 64x42in (1.6x1.07m) sheets on the bed at a time. 

“That was a big problem, 6cm can make a lot of difference,” says Inca director of marketing Heather Kendle. “It takes 14 colour bars, up from eight, which enables us to offer a triple CMYK version that’s faster than the original Onset. 

Printheads remain the same but the way they are marketed has changed. Gone are the old Q (9pl droplet), R (14pl) and S (27pl) designations in favour of a 14pl head as standard, which made up 90% of sales. 

The others can still be specified, although there may be less need to, as Inca has introduced flexible droplet sizes on the one head. New options in addition to the 14pl drop are a crisper quality 11pl drop (with a 10% reduction in speed) and a 10% faster 17pl drop (with a small drop in quality). It’s not greyscale – you choose a droplet size for a job. 

“Greyscale is slower,” argues Kendle. “This way we deliver quality without sacrificing productivity. It’s not a technological limitation – we’ve done the development but we’ve never sold a machine with it.”

With up to 14 ink channels it is possible to run more than CMYK, even the triple CMYK X3 has got two spares. Optional colours include light cyan and magenta for smoother gradations, and orange and white. Orange offers gamut extension, and additional colours such as green and violet may be introduced depending on demand, which Kendle says may be interesting for corrugated users. 

How productive is it? 

Rated speed of the fastest X3 is 900m2/hr but the firm is demonstrating a faster mode with the proviso that the quality is compromised, which Kendle says may be appealing for “value-led brands”.

A “productivity pack” adds a 25-zone vacuum bed to reduce the need to mask. 

“We analysed users’ work mix to define the zones and reckon 90% won’t need masking,” she says. “Previously you could lose up to 10 minutes per hour to masking This makes it easier to put rush jobs on in the middle of a longer run.”

What market is it aimed at?

The X3 is aimed at high-volume producers, including corrugated printers. “It’s suitable for runs into the many hundreds,” says Kendle. “Offset printers are looking to invest as the ability to scale up is attractive.” 

What about the workflow?

A new GUI improves productivity and efficiency. Based on the substrate, size and thickness the machine will set the zones, adjust the head height and set the UV lamp power. Machines will come with pre-sets and work is ongoing to build a media database. It also has permission-based log-in, so you can limit the level of control based on operator experience. A production manager can have full access to view and edit the queue.

What is the USP?

“No other machine offers the versatility and the upgradeability,” says Fujifilm marketing manager for corrugated display & packaging Steve Wood. “It’s flexible, and can grow with the business. “Every customer’s requirement is different. This X platform means you don’t have to fix your investment and can add more colours or speed.”

How easy is it to use?

With the speed, especially of the X3, the firm needed to beef up the materials handling. Options include three-quarter through to full automation and a dedicated corrugated handling kit. According to Kendle “95% of customers opt for materials handling”.

What training and support is on offer?

Inca installs the hardware and train the operators on site. To train up multiple shifts or get running more quickly they can be trained at Inca’s Cambridge HQ.

How much does it cost?

Prices start at £350,000 for a CMYK X1 rising to over £1m for a fully loaded X3.

How many are installed?

There are over 250 Onsets worldwide with sales exceeding 50 per year.  


Bed size 3.22m x 1.6m 

Speed X1: 560m2/hr; X2:  725m2/hr; X3: 900m2/hr

Price £350,000-£1m+

Contact Fujifilm 01234 572000


Durst Rho 1000

The Rho 1000 series includes the 1012, 1312, 1030 and 1330 and is available in manual, three-quarter automation, full automation and roll-to-roll configurations. In addition to CMYK it also offers orange and green or orange and violet colours.

Bed size  2.5m wide

Speed  400-1,250m2/hr 

Price  £650,000-£1.2m

Contact  Durst 01372 388540

EFI Vutek HS 125 

The HS 125 is the latest member of Vutek’s flagship HS range, offering a speed boost and the addition of UltraFX , its in-line clear coat that reduces the appearance of unwanted visual artefacts. 

Bed size  3.2m wide

Speed  418m2/hr

Price  £1m-£1.5m 

Contact  EFI 01246 298000

HP Scitex Industrial Presses

Unlike Inca HP does offer greyscale printing with its HDR technology delivering droplets down to 3pl. The range includes the general purpose 11000 and two specialist corrugated machines the 15500 and the 17000. 

Bed size 1.6x3.2m

Speed 11000: 650m2/hr; 15500: 650m2/hr; 17000: 1,000m2/hr

Price 11000: £1m; 15500: £1.2m; 17000: £1.5m

Contact 020 766 018 36


“The sharpness of text was the best we trialled. After years telling Fuji we couldn’t consider it unless we could print 3-up 62x42in sheets, this has been done, which gives over 500sph. We run the Onset X 24hours a day across three shifts and it is very stable.”         

Mark Turner Director, SMP Group

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