Oce Arizona Series Printers Ideal for Producing Membrane Switch Overlays

Digital process offers design freedom, reduces costs and enables faster delivery

Sep 26, 2012, 11:00 ET from Oce North America

TRUMBULL, Conn., Sept. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Oce, a Canon Group Company and an international leader in digital document management and printing for professionals, announced today that Oce Arizona® Series UV flatbed printers can be part of a digital or hybid production system to create Membrane Switch Overlays (MSOs). Oce will be showing MSOs produced on an Oce Arizona Series printer in its booth #435 at the Specialty Graphic and Imaging Association (SGIA) annual exhibition in Las Vegas, October 18-20, 2012.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101018/CG84120LOGO)

A membrane switch is a low profile flexible electrical device for turning a circuit on and off. Typically made up of several layers, the top layer – or overlay – is the graphic interface between the user and the machine. Used in a variety of products – from fuel pumps to microwave ovens – MSOs are everywhere. Current market projections indicate that the global printed electronics market, of which membrane switch printing is a component, is expected to grow to approximately $24 billion by 20151. There are approximately 150 companies in the U.S. that cite membrane switches as their primary product. In 2011, the outsourced portion of MSO printing was estimated at $700 million for the North American market2.

When developing MSOs, electronics manufacturers are now looking for printing equipment that can provide more colors and gradients with the option to use images, logos and pictures. In addition to the new complexities in design is an industry demand for short runs, rapid prototyping, and just-in-time turnarounds making fully digital printing a must.

Oce Arizona UV flatbed printers are ideally suited for the digital production of MSOs. Every Oce Arizona Series printer model gives designers control and freedom while reducing start-up costs and shortening delivery times.

Digital printing enables design freedom

In the digital world, millions of colors are available to print. Digital print service providers – and electronics manufacturers that produce MSOs in-house – can offer their customers a competitive advantage by enabling them to use any combination of colors beyond the limits of the five or six found in screenprinting, including gradients and images, to create complex and appealing designs. With an Oce Arizona printer, users can print directly onto film exactly what their customers want.

Reduce turnaround time and start-up costs

Run lengths of jobs are getting shorter and customers are demanding faster delivery times. Printing directly to film with an Oce Arizona printer means there are no screens and inks to prepare, as well as no press set-up time, eliminating these steps and associated costs. This helps maximize profit and opens up new opportunities to accept short-run jobs that cannot be produced economically using traditional screenprinting.

A recent test conducted by Oce in Europe using identical samples was run using a screenprint-only process vs. an Oce Arizona printing in a hybrid production process. The results showed that the Oce Arizona hybrid process reduced the production time by up to 30 percent and reduced material costs by up to 16 percent3.

Fully digital or hybrid process

With an Oce Arizona printer, print service providers and in-house production facilities have the flexibility to produce MSOs using either fully digital or hybrid processes, to best suit the needs of their customers.

Fully digital:  In this process, all MSO layers are printed using an Oce Arizona printer. The flatbed table architecture assures accurate repeatability for precise placement on compact overlays. With a fully digital production method users can instantly produce genuine prototypes that can help them win business.

Hybrid process:  For demanding MSO applications, a hybrid production process – a combination of digital and traditional screenprinting – is advised. In this process, an Oce Arizona printer is used to produce the colored layers and the MSO films are finished on the screen press by applying the flood layer(s).

Excellent print quality

Every Oce Arizona printer includes the groundbreaking Oce VariaDot® technology. By dispensing ink droplets that vary in size, this technology produces sharper lines and text and smoother colors, gradients and images than those printed on six-color, fixed dot printers or on traditional screen presses.

The true flatbed architecture of Oce Arizona printers gives it the ability to hold media stationery, enabling it to print multiple layers with highly accurate registration. This cannot be achieved using printers that move the overlay film while printing. The extremely high quality and exacting registration enables the production of overlays – as well as prototypes – quickly and easily, giving MSO printers a competitive edge by enabling faster turnaround at a lower cost.

Reduce chemical waste

Unlike traditional screenprinting, digital printing significantly reduces the need for chemicals used  to develop films, to produce screens and to screenprint the overlays. In addition, these printers reduce energy usage, chemical emissions and ink waste.

About the Oce Arizona Series of UV flatbed printers

Oce Arizona Series printers – including the Oce Arizona 318 GL, Oce Arizona 360 GT, Oce Arizona 360 XT, Oce Arizona 550 GT and Oce Arizona 550 XT models – are quite simply a technology disruption:  UV curable flatbed and roll-to-roll inkjet printers that deliver exceptional image quality to take display graphics to the next level. Customers can use them to add new services by printing photo-quality images on virtually any media imaginable and taking on work that was never before possible with other printing systems, thereby giving users numerous opportunities to increase display graphics revenues.

Oce Display Graphics Systems

Oce Display Graphics Systems is a leading provider of professional, wide format solutions for indoor and outdoor color display graphics applications. Oce solutions are specifically designed to enhance the revenue and profit opportunities for service providers by combining hardware with workflow software and the expertise to help companies expand into digital large format color. From extremely high-quality UV flatbed printers to roll-based printers and advanced finishing systems, Oce offers a total solution including hardware, software, imaging supplies, finishing systems, applications expertise, hardware support and financing. Customers benefit in working with a full-service partner they can count on to help their businesses grow.

About Oce

Oce is one of the leading providers of document management and printing for professionals. The Oce offering includes office printing and copying systems, high speed digital production printers and wide format printing systems for both technical documentation and color display graphics. Oce is also a foremost supplier of document management outsourcing. Many of the Fortune Global 500 companies and leading commercial printers are Oce customers. The company was founded in 1877. With headquarters in Venlo, The Netherlands, Oce is active in over 100 countries and employs more than 20,000 people worldwide. Oce North America is headquartered in Trumbull, CT, with additional business units in Chicago, IL and Boca Raton, FL.  For more information, visit www.oce.com.

Oce and Canon: Stronger together

In 2010 Oce joined the Canon Group of companies with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, to create the global leader in the printing industry. Canon develops, manufactures and markets a growing line-up of copying machines, printers, cameras, optical and other products that meet a diverse range of customer needs. The Canon Group comprises over 198,000 employees worldwide. Global net sales in 2011 totalled USD 45.6 billion. Visit the Canon Inc. website at www.canon.com.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $45.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2011* and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2012. In 2012, for the ninth consecutive year, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability. Committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, Canon U.S.A. provides 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

1 http://whattheythink.com/news/50228-2011-sgia-symposium-keynoter-explores-evolution-printed-electronics/

2 Based on conversations with industry experts.

3 Test conducted in Europe in 2012.

Production run of 300 MSO pieces using screenprinting vs. the hybrid process:

  • Turnaround:  Screen = 36.8 hours vs. Hybrid = 18.3 hours
  • Costs (excluding overlay film cost):  Screen = €1,900 vs. Hybrid = €1,250

* Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

SOURCE Oce North America