A case study of Kumazawa screen printing, inc., which has installed the JV330-160, was published in the sign industry magazine “Kanbankeiei” , Vol. 30 (December 2023 issue).
The following is the published article in its original form.
Image quality, productivity, and weather resistance are all achieved at an unprecedentedly high level.
- The versatile operation of the "JV330-160," made possible by its flagship model status. -
Kumasawa Screen Printing, established in 1961, has cultivated screen printing technology for over 60 years. In 2018, the company further strengthened its business by absorbing Japan Drive Seal, a group company specializing in inkjet output and handling projects such as car wrapping. This led to the establishment of the "Drive Seal Business Division."
On the other hand, Japan Drive Seal, established in 1970, primarily engaged in producing stickers for vehicles and tourist souvenirs. The company early on focused on full-color printing using machines and took an early initiative in the first half of 1990s by introducing water-based printers, followed by the prompt adoption of thermal transfer printers and solvent machines. In response to growing customer demand in 1998, they ventured into car wrapping, and their expertise in a wide range of wrapping applications became well-known in the industry. Currently, they handle large-scale projects such as convenience store signage and corporate CI/VI changes.
With an increasing number of projects demanding strong color reproduction and quick turnaround, large-format printers that balance high image quality and productivity have become indispensable. Against this backdrop, in September 2023, Kumazawa Screen Printing introduced the "JV330-160," a large-format printer equipped with Mimaki Engineering's eco-solvent ink, to enhance its output capabilities. Just two months after the introduction, the team felt the overwhelming speed that was not present in their existing machines, prompting them to consider the purchase of a second unit. We asked with Shuichi Wakaizumi, Director of the Drive Seal Business Division, and Tomohiro Yokoyama, Chief of the Digital Operator Section in the Art Graphic Department, about the deciding factors for the adoption and their practical experiences with the printer.
― Could you please provide the background for introducing the JV330-160 and what aspects were found appealing?
Wakaizumi: To be honest, what initially sparked our interest was the coincidence of the machine replacement timing. As we were looking for an alternative model aligned with the maintenance deadline of the OKI ColorPainter M-64s, the high functionality of the JV330 that I had previously seen at a trade show left a strong impression, making it a candidate. Our existing machine was known for excellent productivity, so we were seeking, at the very least, performance that matched or exceeded that level.
― In the end, was it the fact that the machine could not only meet but exceed those specifications that became the decisive factor in its adoption?
Yokoyama: That's right. Not only did it meet our expectations, but it exceeded them, surpassing the well-known M-64s and establishing itself as the fastest in the industry while maintaining high image quality. In particular, the "MWDT" function, which separates the discharge order for each print head, was quite astonishing. Thanks to this feature, we haven't experienced any banding issues since the introduction.
Wakaizumi: Actually, our relationship with Mimaki's machines dates back to 2002 when we first introduced the JV4 as a water-based printer. This is our fourth solvent-based model from Mimaki. To be honest, there were concerns about productivity in the past, and the absence of white ink in JV5 was a drawback that sometimes led us to consider other printers. Since we often work on interior and window graphics in the sign and decoration field, white ink, crucial for multi-layer printing, is a must for us. The JV330-160 has addressed all these concerns. The ink cost and usage are significantly lower compared to other models, making it a cost-effective choice. It's living up to the expectations I had when I first experienced it in the showroom.
In addition, the "SS21" ink, backed by years of proven performance, is naturally familiar, and we can use it with a sense of security. From our past experiences, we feel that its weather resistance is overwhelming compared to other brands. When outputting on the same media and applying same lamination, there is a noticeable difference in fading timing, approximately five times longer in actual experience. In other words, it becomes a crucial factor in gaining customer trust because it's a significant difference between whether the graphics deteriorate in a year or last for five years. It's a difference that cannot be underestimated.
― Could you please share your experience with the usability during actual operation of the JV330-160?
Yokoyama: It's been just two months since the installation, so there are still areas where we're experimenting, but overall, we've been able to operate it without any major confusion. The output speed is so fast that it makes me worry if it's drying properly, lol!
However, the post-heater's power is excellent, providing a sense of security in handling. The "SS21" ink's superior drying properties also prevent concerns about blocking, where media might stick together before drying, making it less prone to peeling issues.
― If there are any features that you found particularly pleasing or helpful while using it, please let me know.
Yokoyama: Our company deals with a variety of media, such as PVC films and transparent films, and we often switch them flexibly to handle various projects. The "Media Changer," which allows us to mount up to three rolls, has been incredibly handy.
Wakaizumi: In situations where we need to switch media frequently, such as for car wrapping, outdoor advertising, indoor decoration, or small-batch poster printing, the time loss has significantly decreased. Also, in cases where we need to do a large volume of printing quickly, we can pre-set the same media on all three rolls, reducing the burden during replacements.
Yokoyama: Additionally, what I found groundbreaking is the "V-Cut Function." It allows us to cut the media into a V-shape and perform tape sealing at just one point when winding it onto the paper tube. This feature enables precise determination of the media center, reducing human errors and misalignment while feeding. Previously, we relied on a three-point estimate, and the media frequently meandered, causing trouble. So, I really appreciate this improvement. It not only simplifies the process but also contributes to saving media more efficiently.
― Do you anticipate additional installations in the future?
Wakaizumi: While it's not confirmed yet, we are already considering the possibility of introducing a second unit and beyond. With such high productivity and the ability to achieve high image quality, we believe that almost all outdoor projects in the future can be handled by this machine alone. Considering weather resistance, it might not be an exaggeration to say that JV330 is the only choice to fully leverage the performance of SS21 ink. In the current landscape where large-format printer technology is maturing, we feel that this machine is versatile enough to confidently recommend not only to ourselves but also to other companies considering replacing their eco-solvent printers.
- NameKumazawa screen printing, inc.
- IndustryScreen Printing by Fully Automated Machine System / Value-added printing for publications, posters, etc. / Digital output, cutting process, roll slitting / Vehicle wrapping, store decoration, and outdoor sign production
- Address2-35-7 Akabanekita, Kita-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Drive Seal Business Division)
- Phone number+81-3-3905-1570 (Drive Seal Business Division)