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Canon announces fast, high-throughput inkjet printer

February 15, 2011: Canon has announced its entry into the wholesale photo printing equipment business with the unveiling in Tokyo of the seven-colour DreamLabo 5000 commercial inkjet printer, which will go on sale in Japan in September 2011.

Locally, Canon says it is ‘exploring opportunities for this product in our market’

Canon has been a major player in the fields of inkjet professional photo printers, large-format printers and digital multifunction printers, but until now has not offered a commercial inkjet printer for high speed photo production.

It will be competing against HP with the Indigo system, Kodak with Nexpress and Fuji Xerox with its iGen digital printers, but differs in being based on inkjet technology.

The Dreamlabo 5000 features a newly developed high-density print head enabling the printing of output up to 305mm (approx 12 inches) wide. Incorporating Canon’s FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) the system ‘realises colour representation that comprehensively surpasses that of conventional silver halide photography, delivering high productivity for the printing of high-quality photos and detailed text to support a variety of high-value-added output, from photo merchandise to high-quality POD (Print on Demand).’

The DreamLabo’s newly-developed wide printhead delivers high-speed One-Pass Printing, requiring only a single pass of the printing paper while the print head remains in a fixed position. Automatic double sided printing is a standard feature.

Canon will supply a dedicated paper for the Dreamlabo offering smooth gradation and vivid colours.

It will produce a 20-page A4-size photo album in 72 seconds, according to Canon. A report on the Japanese website Nikkei News further says that it can print 44 seven-colour photos (3 ½ x 5-inches) per minute, which equates to over 2600 per hour. Canon also sees applications in high-quality pamphlets and other commercial printing jobs.

The system allows paper and ink cartridge replacement during printing, thus supporting the extended operation times required for production printers.

The DreamLabo 5000 and optional paper deck will go on sale in Japan in September 2011, priced at 50 million yen (around $600,000).

Under a five-year plan beginning in 2011, Canon has set its sights on entering new fields, according to Nikkei News, and the DreamLabo 5000 is said to be the first fruit of this effort.

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