Jetron – Direct-To-Shape

With the help of Meteor Inkjet, Jetron has developed its very first cylindrical printing system for direct-to-shape applications and now has a customised solution that has enhanced throughput and enabled the business to grow.

Key Facts

  • Jetron’s D2Shape CT Series direct-to-shape digital printing systems print directly onto cylindrical objects made of plastic, metal and paper without colour and quantity limitations.
  • The D2Shape CT series offers IoT and Industry 4.0 integration: it can be fully integrated with production data collection systems (such as ERP, MIS) and central databases.
  • Print speed is 2500 pcs/hour and material dimensions are 20 – 80 mm diameter and
    54 – 254 mm length.

The Challenge

When Jetron Digital Printing Systems was established in 2019 its mission was simple: to produce and develop affordable yet high-quality industrial inkjet solutions.

Doga Ipek, general manager at Jetron explains: “In eastern Europe especially, industrial inkjet printing systems tend to be expensive. We wanted to make industrial inkjet printing more accessible to our customers and give them an opportunity to enter into the market affordably.”

Jetron was already on its way to success, being a young, dynamic and innovative team, with a can-do attitude and a passion to get things done as quickly, cost effectively and easily as possible. It now needed strong, reliable partners who shared this ethos.

“In order to reach our mission,” Doga continues, “it was essential that all the components and technologies that we integrate into our systems are optimum, i.e. high quality, reliable and also cost-effective. We have always had this philosophy, even in the days when we were a prepress business, and it’s the same for all industrial inkjet applications.”

Recognising the growing direct-to-shape market, Jetron decided to begin by developing a cylindrical inkjet press. Doga set about researching potential suppliers with a reputation for quality and chose Meteor Inkjet to supply the printhead drive electronics and associated software.

“Apart from its track record for quality, one of the reasons we chose Meteor was they were so easy to work with. There were no commercial or technical barriers, which is just what we needed. Doing business with Meteor is easy. Martin Duda, who is a technical consultant at Meteor also played a key role in choosing to work with the company. We are a small, agile team that wants to get things done quickly, and Martin was always accessible and responded quickly to any queries. That’s very important to us.”

The Solution

With the help of Meteor Inkjet, Jetron developed its first cylindrical printing system for direct-to-shape applications, the D2Shape CT40. The system offers two print stations, each one printing two colours at the same time in order to print in CMYK. In addition, there are stations for UV ink curing, for which UV lights instantly dry the tubes, varnishing, inspection and packing etc. There are ten stations in total.

Doga continues: “Our biggest challenge was creating the software we needed to run the printer. There was no off-the-shelf product that would print the correct motion i.e. printing onto tubes; we needed to trick the drive electronics to print the way we wanted to print. We therefore implemented Meteor’s PrintEngine SDK which offered more functionality. Support was crucial at that stage because we had to integrate it and understand the SDK and leverage all its features. We had great support from Meteor to help us with this.”

The Print Engine SDK can be used for prototype all the way through to production. It is a modular solution, making it easy for a developer to build a system with complex features. Once developed, any system using the PrintEngine SDK can be easily modified or updated to accommodate changes such as different head type, number of heads etc. It also offers a number of features including nozzle-out compensation, multiple subsystems, mixed-mode operation, and fast image rotation.

The team at Jetron built their own user interface. “Our customers are not printers, they are container manufacturers, for example tubes, cans and buckets, so we want to make printing easy for them,” says Doga. The D2Shape CT40’s simple-to-use digital front end manages the whole workflow, from job submission to printing, motion, and ink etc.

The Result

Jetron now has its first cylindrical printing system in place: the CT series offers no limit to printing colours or quantity and can print 2,500 tubes per hour. There is no wastage; when you change the artwork, printing is instant.

Offering integration with IoT and Industry 4.0, the CT series can be fully integrated with production data collection systems (such as ERP, MIS) and central databases.

The company is already planning to sell its systems into eastern Europe where high-end machines are available but expensive. Doga adds: “We plan to remove the cost barrier and offer an affordable solution that can be upgraded with new features when the customer is ready. The next stage for us is to add more functionality to the SDK and integrate it with prepress functions.”

Doga concludes: “Meteor helped us move from a concept to a working system, and in an optimum way, with high-quality components, good support and with competitive pricing.”

About Jetron Digital Printing Systems

Jetron is a system integration company, established with an ambition to design and manufacture industrial digital printing systems to make the latest printing technologies more accessible for its customers. Focus applications are direct-to-shape decoration, packaging and label printing. By using inkjet technology, mechanical design, mechatronics, chemistry, software development, and colour management knowledge, Jetron develops the optimum solutions for its customers.

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