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Under the Hood

Domino N730i

Domino has had a lot of success with its Generation 6 inkjet technology and has now produced the next generation, the N730i label printer. Brian Sims finds out more

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The N730i is the next generation to Domino's Generation 6 inkjet technology

Step into the Next Generation

Domino has had a lot of commercial success with its Generation 6 platform inkjet label printers such as the N610i with over 1,000 installations worldwide. It made complete sense when the manufacturer wished to move to the next generation, asking what made the N610i so popular.

Domino had a lot of response to its questions and used this information to provide the first notes on the white sheet of paper that was the design scope for the Generation 7 platform. The responses came down to three main requests: users wanted consistent quality, ease of use, and maximum flexibility.

So, what did Domino do? Firstly, the company did not turn its back on the previous model but built on this for the generation hop not only in name. A number of parts of the N610i were carried forward into the N730i such as web alignment, double-sided web cleaning, Corona web treatment, splice detection, and tension control.

A number of parts of the N610i were carried forward into the N730i such as web alignment, double-sided web cleaning, Corona web treatment, splice detection, and tension control

All these elements are needed for high-quality web printing and there is little need to redesign elements which have proven to be reliable. These elements went under the microscope to ensure they were capable of the increased demands of the new printer, but anyone who has run a Generation 6 platform printer would be pleased to see familiar functions on the N730i.

Double DPI

Of the biggest changes people will see is the move to Brother BITSTAR printheads which take the resolution up to 1,200 x 1,200 dpi. The swap to the Brother product is a wise choice as it comes with a bundle of technology that would tick the box of ‘consistent quality’ requested in the research of Domino users.

The printhead itself comes with patented triple-layer polycrystalline micro piezo technology, this minimises cross talk inside the head and this in turn delivers precise nozzle control for optimum drop placement accuracy. The droplet size is as small as 2.1pl and nominal drop sizes of 2.8pl and 3.3pl which can then deliver extremely fine print reproduction with smooth gradients and shaper edges.

To ensure the printheads are kept in top condition, Domino has in the N730i what it calls inkjet intelligent technology or i-Tech.

I-Tech CleanCap2 is an automated head-cleaning tool which reduces operator intervention to a minimum. I-Tech NozzleAdjust extends the in-use life expectancy by monitoring each of the 1,680 nozzles and when it detects a blocked element, it diverts the ink to another meaning the image is unaffected by this blockage. I-Tech SetAlign is a new innovative automated system that can set and control the density of the ink deployed and aligns the printheads in production.

Inkjet inks can prove troublesome whilst in the printer itself, an issue Domino overcomes with the i-Tech ActiFlow2 ink circulation system. This prevents micro air bubbles and pigment sedimentation from forming, whilst also maintaining a consistent ink temperature all of which ensures the most stable of ink to be used by the  BITSTAR printheads.

The combination of all these clever pieces of technology can ensure any purchaser of an N730i that the production will not only be of the highest quality, but the printer will produce this quality at 70m/min, metre after metre.

The heads themselves are arranged in a large arch unit which has been cleverly designed to be pulled out on rails for easy access. There are a total of eight printheads allowing for seven colours to be printed in a number of combinations.

The N730i has a total of eight printheads allowing for seven colours to be printed in a number of combinations

There is the obvious process set of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black and these are complemented by orange and violet in the bank of six printheads responsible for colour. The ink itself is formulated by Domino and is UV-cured and called UV91.

UV91 ink is ideal for a number of applications such as industrial, household, pharmaceutical, automotive, and security to list a few. The N730i printing with the UV91 ink can make up to 92% of the Pantone colour range without spot colours being needed.

The remaining two units are dedicated to laying down white in two hits which Domino claims will give 76% opacity.

Flexibility and Sturdiness

The second of the key points pulled from N610i users was the need for robust equipment that had flexibility. Domino has listened again and the N730i is clearly of solid construction with side frames of thick industrial scale and material which give the feeling the N730i will provide many years of service.

The flexibility comes from the ability to retrofit either or both additional units before or after the printhead. Prior to the print station, you can split and add a flexo priming station to apply a primer to more difficult-to-print substrates. After the print station, again you can split the printer and add a second flexo station should you consider varnishing, spot colour, or flood white for shrink sleeve applications.

Ease of Use

The third of the three key customer requests was that of ease of operation which Domino has resolved by the use of the SunLight Graphical User Interface (GUI). The key to SunLight GUI is its ease of use; Domino has made the touchscreen very intuitive and you actually feel as if you are interacting with the panel and machine.

When asked what made Domino’s previous label printers so popular, users said: consistent quality, ease of use, and maximum flexibility

The printer has single button operation which frees up the operator to carry out the routine printing functions safe in the knowledge you do not need to constantly run back to the panel to engage the features of the printer.  Domino claims you can have the printer up and running in under a minute, a claim you can easily see being achievable.

The final part of the productivity puzzle is ensuring minimum fuss when getting data in and out of the printer.

The Domino N730i is fully JDF/JMF compatible meaning the high level of automation provided by these platforms is integrated into the printer. The printer is configured with ESKO DFE v3.0 for colour matches and RIPs the required PDF file.

It can be very easy when a company looks to make a generation hop to turn its back on what made it successful in the first place. You cannot level this at Domino as the manufacturer took a long hard look at the Gen 6 equipment, talked to the users and came into the market with a product that looks back to its history but also has a clear vision of the future.


  • Printhead technology:
  • BITSTAR™ Piezo Drop on-demand inkjet
  • Resolution: 1,200 x 1,200 dpi
  • Colours: C,M,Y,K,Or, Vi, W
  • Web width: 170mm to 340mm
  • Reel diameter: 1000mm
  • Production speed: 70m/min  

Brian Sims Principal Consultant, Metis Print Consultancy, www.metis-uk.eu

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