PRINTING United Expo Hot Products Spotlight: Kirk-Rudy FireJet 4C
(Editor's note: This review of the Kirk-Rudy FireJet 4C, which will debut at the upcoming PRINTING United Expo, is part of an ongoing series featuring longtime industry consultant David Zwang's rundown of his "Must See" products that will be on the show floor.)
If you don’t know who Kirk-Rudy is, or even if you do, you still need to go to the booth at PRINTING United 2023. They will be highlighting their FireJet 4C production inkjet press, which has found its niche in full-color envelope printing, in addition to other specially printed products. This is not just another envelope press; it is a unique, heavy duty, full-color inkjet printing system that is designed for production environments and handles a wide variety of applications, from bags, envelopes and sheets, to napkins, coasters and more, making it the most flexible and universal low-cost inkjet system on the market today.
Feeding envelopes through a printer is not necessarily an easy task, especially since there are so many sizes, configurations, and variations in thickness, even batch to batch. Imagine trying to print on a 4”x4” product envelope without jamming. The vacuum belt along with the guide wheel design makes that a much more controllable process. Unlike tabletop presses, there really is no scuffing, and that can be an issue with heavy coverage. The FireJet 4C can even be configured to open the flap, print on it, and close the flap again — in-line!
At throughput two to three times faster than tabletop presses, the performance of the machine is impressive, since it can do up to 15,000 four-color envelopes an hour. It’s less than half the cost of the other production inkjet envelope printers, and it’s less expensive to operate than an offset press since there are no plate costs or makeready. The quality of the print and the color matching, which is important to clients, is exceptional, and the FireJet can even print full bleed on a coin envelope! The first and the last envelope look exactly the same, thanks to the impressive, and upgradable, Memjet Duraflex printheads and inks. The color control relies on the Xitron DFE, which is produced by Hybrid Software, one of the leaders in print production DFEs and inkjet printer workflows.
While you are at the booth, take a look at their KR519 RFID Label & Encoding System. It features Impinj ItemEncode hardware, and UHF Gen II RFID chip pipeline encoding. It supports processing up to 400 ft./min. (123m/min.), featuring a Kirk-Rudy KR540HD high-speed label applicator. The integrated camera reads 1D, 2D barcodes, and OCR. It includes their KR KODE software interface.
For those who don’t know Kirk-Rudy, you can think of them as the keepers of an erector set with engineers that can build almost any production transport system you can dream of!