Technology Used in Digital Production Printing Systems
The imagePRESS digital production printing system is Canon's first color on-demand printer for professional use.
The imagePRESS achieves outstanding high-definition printout that approaches offset quality, and delivers high productivity and excellent durability and reliability for small-volume print jobs.
The Electrophotographic Printing Process
Laser printers / laser multifunction printers (MFPs), office multifunction devices (MFDs), and digital production printing systems all employ the same printing principle.
The photosensitive drum surface is negatively charged with a static charge.
Laser beams scan the photosensitive drum to form an image. Areas exposed to the laser beams lose their electrical charge.
Toner is brought in close proximity to the drum and affixes to non-charged areas.
The photosensitive drum is brought into contact with the paper* and a positive charge is applied from behind, transferring the toner onto the paper.
Heat and pressure are applied to fix the toner to the paper.
- * Most color models use a transfer system in which the toner first transfers from the photosensitive drum to an intermediate transfer belt, then from the belt to the paper.
Dual Fixing System
Dual Path Achieves Uniform Print Speed for All Media
Canon's imagePRESS handles thick and coated paper through a two-path system employing two fixing units. The paper initially passes through the first fixing unit, which utilizes a fixing roller and a pressure belt, and then through the second fixing unit, which uses fixing and pressure rollers, to realize high-luster printout. Paper that does not require dual fixing, such as thin or recycled paper, passes through the first fixing unit only.
By automatically adjusting the paper path according to the type of paper,*1 the imagePRESS produces uniform surface luster and maintains a consistent print speed of 70 sheets per minute (A4, landscape) for media types of varying thicknesses.
- *1 Type of paper
A wide variety of paper is used in commercial printing, including coated paper and art paper in addition to general-use premium-grade paper, medium-quality paper, and recycled paper. The varying thicknesses of these, along with multiple processing techniques, make for a diverse range of paper types.
Accurate Image Positioning During Duplex Printing
To ensure proper post-press processes, such as paper cutting and book binding, the imagePRESS must realize high-precision image positioning on the paper. Canon uses three Auto-Registration functions for increased image-positioning accuracy.
First, Active Registration uses skew-feed rollers to push fed paper against the side reference plate to ensure proper alignment with the image printing direction.
Next, on the intermediate transfer belt, the Registration Patch sensor detects a patch printed at the leading edge of the transfer image. By controlling the transport timing of the paper, this function ensures accurate print positioning between the leading and trailing edges of the paper.
During duplex printing, the paper shrinks slightly due to the heat that is applied to fix the image to the front surface. To prevent paper shrinkage from affecting the printing position, Canon uses 2nd Image Size Reduction to create a slightly smaller image on the back surface so that the printed image size is identical on both the front and back surfaces of the paper.
Fast and Stable Paper Feed with Less Double Feeding
The Canon imagePRESS is capable of printing on assorted types and brands of paper of varying thicknesses. The systems are supported by Air Feeding technologies, which prevent double-feeding and realize stable paper feed.
Air Feeding supplies air from multiple sources to separate sheets and ensure accurate feed. For example, feeding air blows from the direction of the paper feed from a four-fan unit to separate and feed the sheets.
Side air blows from side fans to reliably separate curled or coated paper sticking to other sheets. Air warmed by a heater in the four-fan unit prevents coated paper from sticking together in hot and humid environments. The paper feed belt is also equipped with air suction to achieve fast and stable feeding.
Excellent Color Reproduction that Approaches Offset Quality
Canon's V (Vivid-color) Toner is specially designed for use with the imagePRESS digital production printing system. V-toner has micro-dispersed wax and pigment components within the toner particles, and improves the heat melting performance in the fusing process. This enables V-Toner to provide optimized gloss that harmonizes with a variety of media to achieve uniform gloss output.
Following yellow, magenta, cyan and black, the recently developed "V-Toner Clear" is a transparent toner that controls the level of gloss on the surface of paper. By utilizing this V-Toner Clear, imagePRESS C1+ is able to produce prints that replicate 3D-like textures and matte effects. The use of the transparent toner also enables the printing of watermarks that can be used for identification when unauthorized copies are made, contributing to the improvement of security for information contained in printed material.