Digital Printing

At the On Demand conference this morning, Xerox announced the North American release of its new 800 and 1000 model presses, described as sitting just under the production capacity of a DocuColor iGen3/iGen4, and above the company’s DocuColor 7002/8002 systems.

The new Xerox 800 and 1000 machines can produce up to 80 and 100 pages per minute, respectively, while reaching a resolution of up to 2,400 x 2,400 dpi. The machines can handle stocks from 55 to 350 gsm, working with a maximum sheet size of up to 13 x 19.2 inches. Employing Xerox’ recently developed low-melt Emulsion Aggregation (EA) toner, the machines are also available with an optional clear dry ink station.

Xerox 800/1000 presses can include two 2,000 sheet trays, as well as an optional high-capacity feeder with two additional trays to increase capacity to 8,000 sheets. From a front-end perspective, the new machines can be integrated with Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server and EX Print Server (Fiery), and eventually with the Xerox CX Print Server (Creo).

Xerox has announced that it is introducing a new software package which will allow users to track as well as predict the effectiveness of a direct-mail campaign. ProfitQuick Direct Marketing ROI Planner is the latest addition to Xerox's ProfitAccelerator portfolio.

"I've seen a few ROI calculators, but never one this complete for customized campaigns, or one as easy to use," said Bob Pente, President of Wired Pente Inc., a Toronto-based marketing and advertising firm. "It takes the benefits that marketers have been touting for years and turns them into a quantifiable resource that makes it very easy to tell the story. It's a fantastic tool for marketers." 

Information such as the number of mail pieces, cost per piece, and revenue per item or service sold is put into an online calculator. In turn, print providers and marketers receive financial data that can drive new business or convert an existing customer's static campaign into a more targeted, personalized approach.

Xerox, at the same time, has also introduced two other tools to help its users. ezBusiness Planner allows printing companies to generate a 5-year plan based on customized production volumes and equipment on the floor and Xerox's Wide Format Essentials Kit is a tool to plan and run a profitable wide-format printing business.

Xeikon will demonstrate a new high-end digital label press at IPEX next month. The Xeikon 3500 press has a web width of up to 512mm wide and prints at 19.2 metres per minute, regardless of the amount of colours used.

"We believe the Xeikon 3500 will also have a significant impact on the breakeven point between digital label printing and conventional printing technologies," said Filip Weymans, Business Development Manager of Labels & Packaging at Xeikon. "This will enable the cost-effective production of volumes beyond the 4,000 linear meters using digital technology, and will speed up the transition from analog to digital label production."

The Xeikon 3500 is equipped with five colours as standard, process and one spot colour. Its LED-based imaging technology produces a true 1,200 dpi resolution, with variable dot density. Special security-focused toner can also be used for anti-counterfeiting applications. The Xeikon 3500 runs on Xeikon's new QA-I toner, which is approved for indirect and direct contact with dry food.

It can print on scalable widths and an unmatched range of substrates from all sorts of self-adhesive materials including paper, co-extruded films, Bopp and PET, regular paper, transparent and opaque foils, and paperboards with weights ranging from 40 to 350 gsm. Owners of Xeikon 3000 and 3330 machines will be offered an upgrade path for the 3500.

Océ has joined the likes of HP and Xerox in launching its own managed print services offering. The service provides companies with "optimized utilization of document output equipment, better control of document-related expenses and improved operating efficiency."

“Assessing, optimizing, managing and continuously improving a diverse fleet is a process that most organizations find challenging,” said Joseph R. Marciano, President and CEO of Océ Business Services. “Océ MPS offers an outsourced solution that can meet these goals and help companies leverage fleet management as an opportunity to reduce printing costs and improve efficiency.”

According to Océ, using Océ MPS can cut printing costs of an enterprise, costs which is typically represent about three percent of an company's revenues. Océ MPS provides organizations with a single, accountable source for their office document production. This includes copiers, printers, scanners, fax, and wide format printers, regardless of brand, service provider and ownership status.

Ricoh has introduced the Pro C720 to the Canadian market, a machine aimed at the light production arena. The machine prints at up to 72 pages per minute at sizes up to 13- by 19-inches. Ricoh says the speed of the C720 is independent of stock processed or whether or not it is colour or black and white.

Ricoh claims that the machine is built with critical components which a trained customer can replace themselves, reducing the downtime of waiting for a technician. The duty cycle of the C720 is 320,000 images a month.

The C720 uses a EFI Fiery print controller to process large files and control colour. Various finishing options are available, including a third-party puncher by GBC and a production-level booklet maker manufactured by Plockmatic.

Océ yesterday unveiled what it describes as “the world’s first single footprint multifunctional printer,” under the model name ColorWave 300. While the ColorWave 600 was introduced in mid-2009, this new machine, the 300, is unique in that it integrates technologies for printing, copying and scanning wide-format documents in both colour and black-and-white.

Designed primarily for the reproduction of technical documents, the ColorWave 300 is built with a 36-inch printing width and can reach 600 x 600 dpi. The machine can handle substrate weights of up to 175 g/m2.

Océ continues to explain that the ColorWave 300, which is based on thermal inkjet, is the first multifunctional wide-format printer with a truly integrated scanner.

The ColorWave 300 employs Océ’s Image Logic and Dynamic Switching technologies, working with most file formats – HP-Gl/2, PDF, DWF, JPEG. Users can also print and scan documents via a USB flash drive.

First launched in the United States in September 2009, Canon’s Canadian division is now introducing the imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series of multifunction printers to Canadian companies.

At the top end of the imageRUNNER ADVANCE Series, Canon’s C9075 PRO model has the ability to produce letter-sized output at up to 75 pages-per-minute (ppm) in black-and-white and 70 ppm in color, while the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C9065 PRO will operate at up to 65 ppm in both black-and-white and color.

The sheetfed machines operate with a page format of 13 x 19-1/4 inches, while handling paper weights of up to 110-pound cover (300 gsm).

GPA Specialty Substrate Solutions, which distributes printing stocks for offset- and toner-based presses, but with a clear focus on HP Indigo materials, has entered the Canadian market with a warehouse in Toronto. This represents the 18th North American distribution centre for the Chicago-based company, which was founded in 1940.

“Our new Toronto warehouse will allow GPA to provide local product and service to support the needs of our growing Canadian customer base,” said Mike McConville, Eastern Region General Manager for GPA.

GPA is an HP Indigo Preferred Partner and a Platinum Partner of Dscoop – an HP Indigo user group. The company focuses on the distribution of coated and uncoated papers, pressure-sensitive and specialty papers, synthetic films and substrates engineered for HP Indigo digital presses.

Konica Minolta Canada, next week at Graphics Canada, will showcase several of its toner-based presses, with particular emphasis placed on its recently launched Bizhub PRO 1200.  This black-and-white production system is rated, by the company, for a monthly duty cycle of 3-million sheets. The PRO 1200 runs at 120 pages per minute, with a high-capacity stacker of 14,000.

While at Graphics Canada, Konica Minolta also plans to highlight its Bizhub PRO 2500P system, as well as the Bizhub PRO C6501 and Bizhub PRO C65HC models.

On its booth, the company is demonstrating its internally developed Printgroove system, which includes software applications for Web-based job submission (using automated job ticketing and quoting tools), print queue management, online proofing, device status monitoring, finishing, shipping and billing.

Specific modules of the business software system include: Printgroove Serve, for browser-based job submission and tracking; Printgroove Guide, for job ticketing; Printgroove Queue, for job management; and Printgroove Ready; for prepress functions.

HP is diving further into the world of print-on-demand publishing of out-of-print books with the launch of a new service called BookPrep. According to the company, it is possible to "bring any book ever published back into print through an economical and sustainable service model."

BookPrep essentially takes scanned materials and automatically applies cleanup which otherwise would be a time-intensive task for operators. Usually this involves cropping, sharpening, colour correction and removal of artifacts or damage.

“People around the world still value reading books in print,” said Andrew Bolwell, Director, New Business Initiatives, HP. “HP BookPrep technology allows publishers to extend the life cycle of their books, removes the cost and waste burdens of maintaining inventory, and uses a full spectrum of technologies to deliver convenient access to consumers.”

BookPrep also serves as a web service for people to read scanned books online or order a printed copy.

HP's move to digitize out-of-print books and reproduce them on demand mirrors that of Google, which partnered with New York-based On Demand Books earlier this year. HP has partnered with the University of Michigan and it will make more than 500,000 rare and hard-to-find books available for reprinting. Google's database of scanned materials reached 10 million titles on October 9, but only a small portion is available for printing. HP is encouraging publishers to submit their back catalogues to be digitized and made available for reprinting "to make the concept of 'out of print' a thing of the past."


Oce JetStream

Océ is dedicating much of its PRINT 09 booth to photo-books, culminating in the daily production of a finished, full-colour book, called Where is My Birthday Cake?, which is based on a “photographic web log” created by photographer Jason Lee. The company will print photo books on JetStream technology, with hardcover books being bound offline. Océ also plans to demonstrate dust-jacket printing.

JetStream is a full-colour, inkjet-based press available in single- or dual-engine configurations. The speed range of the press line runs from the JetStream 750, with its ability to reach 328 fpm, to the JetStream 3000, which is able to reach a maximum speed of 656 feet per minute. To analyze the ROI of various JetStream models, Océ at PRINT 09 plans to debut its TrueCost software, engineered for “print providers to calculate pixel-precise pricing, cost accounting and chargeback.”

Print 09Océ also plans to apply Direct Smile software in the production of UV-coated, personalized calendars on its CS665 Pro press. First introduced in 2008, the CS665 Pro (available with an EFI controller) runs at 665 pages per minute while handling media of up to 13 x 19 inches. The machine is designed for substrates weighing up to 300 gsm.

Xerox iGen4At PRINT 09, Xerox plans to highlight its Xerox iGen4 220, which, described as a perfecting press, is around the inline integration of two iGen4 110 engines. Scheduled for a mid-2010 commercial release, the machine has the ability to print 220 impressions per minute, while Xerox claims it can handle a monthly print volume of up to 7-million impressions. The iGen4 220, designed from the tandem architecture of the Nuvera 288, accepts a media format of up to 14.33 x 22.5 inches.

Much of the company’s booth will centre around the iGen4 system that was unveiled at drupa 2008. Xerox also plans to show its 700 model press.

Xerox will debut version 8.0 of its FreeFlow Process Manager software (US$20,000), which includes more than 20 pre-configured prepress functions like resizing and cropping. For example, the company claims, that a business card file can be imposed, rotated, cropped and sent to the press “with no human touch involved.”

More enhancements to Xerox’ encompassing FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection include: FreeFlow Express to Print, described as a light-production preparation tool (with design templates) for the company’s 4112/4127 model machines; VIPP Pro Publisher; and VI Interpreter 8.0.

Print 09Xerox will also have a press presence on several partnering booths like Fujifilm, Duplo and C.P. Bourg. On its booth, C.P. Bourg plans to integrate a BSF Sheet Feeder with a Xerox Nuvera 288 EA system. This inline setup will also include C.P Bourg’s BCM Bleed Crease Module and its BDF Document Finisher – stitch, fold, and trim.

HP Indigo 7000HP plans to run some of its most-recent Indigo press models at PRINT 09, including the W7200, 7000 and 5500 models. With the first North American installation in August 2009, the new HP Indigo W7200 (built around a dual-engine design) has the ability to reach speeds of 240 letter-size, 4-colour images per minute or 960 letter-size monochrome images per minute.

The roll-fed press is rated to produce up to 7.5-million letter-size colour images, or 30-million monochrome letter-size images, per month. The W7200 has an image size of 317 x 980 millimetres, while handling substrate weights ranging from 40 gms to 350 gms.

HP is also highlighting its new SmartStream Director software. Released in June 2009, SmartStream Director integrates a variety of Press-sense applications and technology as well as HP tools. It features a VDP package built around HP SmartStream Designer. Initially developed to support Indigo presses, SmartStream Director will be expanded in the future to support other technologies.

At PRINT 09, HP also plans to highlight its recent SmartPlanner 3.0 release, which includes job estimation – that considers printing, finishing and supply-chain parameters – and business planning tools for HP Indigo users. The free software calculates job costing for both toner- and ink-based presses. It also includes a new feature that allows users to import jobs from an MIS to profile monthly production activity.

Print 09HP is also focusing on the development of its online HP PSP Locator, which is scheduled for release in 2010. According to the company, this tool allows “digital print customers to locate HP PSPs in their area for their print fulfillment needs.” 
The company also plans to showcase various large-format inkjet machines, including the Designjet Z3200, Z6100, Designjet L65500 (with latex Ink compatabilty) and the Scitex FB6100 UV.
Kodak SE3600
At PRINT 09, Eastman Kodak plans to highlight its new toner-based NexPress SE3600 press, which is a new version of its S 3600 model first launched at drupa 2008. The SE-designated machine includes the Kodak Intelligent Calibration System, which involves using a “scanner to capture and analyze colour output and feed critical data back to the system for closed-loop colour calibration.” The S and SE models both run at 3,600 A3+ sheets per hour, translated as 120 pages per minute.

The company also plans to highlight its S10 Imprinting System, formerly referred to under the Stream printhead banner. The S10 itself is now being sold under the brand name of Prosper. This continuous inkjet engine system operates at 305 metres per minute with a resolution of 600 dpi.

Within its workflow portfolio, Kodak plans to focus on its recently released Insite Campaign Manager application, which sits behind marketing campaigns with tools for landing sites, personalized URLs, email blasts, and analytics. At PRINT 09, the company is also unveiling its new Prinergy Digital Workflow software, as well as upgrades to Kodak Web to Print Solutions, Colorflow, Prepress Portal System, Insite Creative Workflow System, and Darwin.

Kodak is also highlighting its new Versamark 700 Print Manager front-end, which currently supports the VL2000 inkjet-based machine. Future versions of this controller will be applied to the full Versamark line (six models) and ultimately the Prosper press.

Print 09In the CTP arena, Kodak is showcasing its new Automatic Pallet Loader for its Magnus 800 platesetter family. The company claims this system can load a pallet of up to 600 plates without operator intervention.

The new Pro 900AFP from InfoPrint Solutions, which remains a join venture between Ricoh and the former printing arm of IBM, is engineered for service bureaus, direct mailers and data centres that are transitioning from mono to colour in a light production and mid-market environment. Ricoh launched its Pro C900 machine in late 2008, while the new InfoPrint Pro C900AFP leverages the AFP print controller language that was largely developed through the IBM entity. AFP is a document format originally designed to support form printing on laser printers.

According to the company, customers currently using applications developed using FS45 colour support as well as those implementing new applications that leverage the Color Management Object Content Architecture (CMOCA) can use the InfoPrint Pro C900AFP to print their output. Additionally, by using the InfoPrint 5000 emulation profile, high-volume customers using this continuous form colour printer can utilize the InfoPrint Pro C900AFP for short runs, application development and reprints.

“We are committed to driving our technology innovations across all our product lines, enabling existing customers to benefit from more than 50 years at the forefront of the business,” said Rick Carver, WW Product Manager, Production Cutsheet Solutions at InfoPrint.

“As one of the founding members of the AFP Consortium we were heavily involved in the development of the AFP CMOCA Architecture, and in doing so, driving accurate and consistent colour in variable data printing.  Now we can pass on the benefits of these production-level innovations to a new market segment or to existing high volume customers looking to expand capabilities at the mid range.”

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