Tonejet unveils first production Cyclone direct-to-can printer

The Tonejet Cyclone.
The Tonejet Cyclone.

Tonejet, the only manufacturer of advanced electrostatic drop-on-demand digital print engines, has unveiled its Cyclone, the first industrial production direct-to-can digital printing machine. The Tonejet Cyclone, with its integrated Rockwell Automation iTRAK transport system, “brings together several patented innovations that result in a machine which is considerably more efficient than competing products,” said Marvin Foreman, Sales Manager at Tonejet. “Whether used as a stand-alone digital printer, or integrated into a can production line, the Cyclone not only significantly reduces production time, it also allows manufacturers to print very small runs of each can design. Manufacturers are able to cost-effectively decorate each can individually if desired, representing incredible opportunities for beverage brands.”

The Cyclone unites Tonejet’s unique digital print engine with Rockwell Automation’s state-of-the-art iTRAK intelligent transport system. Unlike traditional carousel systems (which are limited by the slowest and largest operation), the iTRAK object transport system, combined with Tonejet’s passive mandrel technology, allows different processes to each have their own operation times without impacting overall throughput – resulting in a much shorter total processing time. The Cyclone also features Tonejet’s unique nozzle-less printheads that operate using a patented electrostatic jetting process. Tonejet ink is made of charged pigment particles in a non-conducting carrier fluid that are jetted away from the printhead at high speed when a pulse voltage is applied. The formulation means that the majority of the carrier fluid is left behind, producing a very thin, yet high-density pigmented layer of ink on the can. The pigment concentration effect is exclusive to Tonejet, and means that the printheads and ink are both economical and functional, said the OEM adding that “the price of printing on to each can is up to 20 times lower than UV-cured inks.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.