Commentary & Analysis
Free Graph Expo Report: Preview of Digital Printing
FOR OVER A DECADE pundits,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: September 27, 2002
FOR OVER A DECADE pundits, cynics, nitpickers, Luddites and assorted windbags have been saying--sometimes with ample justification--it would be a long time before digital color presses could compete with the big iron of traditional offset printing. Now that time has arrived. More so than in any print show in recent years, GraphExpo is the place where digital printing solutions may well overshadow offset, especially in color.
The all-important operating costs continue to drop, reliability and productivity are increasing, and print quality from the top machines rivals all but the best offset presses. And variable data printing, the unique selling proposition of digital engines, is becoming easier although there is still plenty of work to do (and a lot of business opportunities) in making it as simple as needs to be for broad acceptance and implementation.
Keep in mind that this does not mean the demise of traditional printing. In fact, the most success can be achieved by maintaining your current business and adding digital printing where it can be most effective. These technologies can and should coexist. Consider doing more business with each of your customers by adding cost effective short runs before and after the longer run. Capture new applications by using variable data for customized pieces that cannot be done on an offset press.
Remember, however, that when you buy a digital press you are not just buying a new piece of equipment but starting a new business. Digital printing requires a new approach to sales, marketing, estimating, customer service and management as well as knowledge of new applications and markets. As you visit booths, be sure to ask the vendors how they will help you get started in this new business venture. Get an idea of what they can do for your business. You may be surprised at the potential and the possibilities.
Canon USA Inc. (Booth #3272)
In 2001, Canon was listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America, and was ranked #41 on the Business Week list of the "Top 100 Brands." Its parent company Canon Inc, is a top patent-holder of technology, ranking third overall in the US in 2001. With global revenues of $26 billion, and ongoing product awards, Canon continues to be a manufacturer worth looking at. In May 2002, Canon's ImageRUNNER product line received new recognition for its quality, reliability and consistent performance from three well-known industry groups. At the show will be the imageRUNNER 85 and 105 both running with T/R Systems front ends:
The imageRUNNER 85 is an 85 page-per-minute, black-and-white production printer designed to handle the demands of large corporate departments, data centers, CRDs and print-on-demand environments. Expect high image quality, extensive document finishing capabilities and seamless integration into most networks. The engine supports a monthly print volume of up to 400,000 impressions.
The imageRUNNER 105 is Canon's most powerful digital copier/printer/scanner solution built on the Image Platform architecture. With its 105 page-per-minute speed and robust 600,000 impressions per month duty cycle, this device is welcome in the high-volume print-on-demand and centralized production environments. The imageRUNNER 105 ships standard as a standalone digital copier, but can be easily upgraded to deliver network printing and network scanning capabilities. The device offers a choice of finishing capabilities from basic collated output to multipage, saddle-stitched booklets.
Imagerunner Pro 150+
Canon will be announcing the Imagerunner Pro 150+, based on Heidelberg's new Digimaster after 9/30. Expect a device similar to the ImageRUNNER 110 but faster and more robust. Stay tuned
There will be a new holepunch unit on the imageRUNNER PRO150 and 110. The inline puncher has removable punch tools including 2-, 3- and 4-hole punch and GBC. Demos will be scheduled.
Image Prograph Wide Format
Introduced at the Seybold Conference, the imagePROGRAPH devices are a new line of large format printers. Since the biggest problem with inkjet technology has always been speed, Canon has expanded the usual 1/2" head to 1 inch plus. Add bi-directional printing and increase the nozzles, and you have this new family of high quality printers with speed. The imagePROGRAPH 7250 is a 24" device and the imagePROGRAPH 7200 is 36". Both will print in standard mode at 120 sq ft/hour, in high quality at 72 sq ft/hour and in draft mode at 322 sq ft/hour. The dpi for the first two modes is 600 x 1200.
Heidelberg (Booth #1000)
Heidelberg will explore your passion for printing and reveal the technologies that they hope will shape the way you do business in the future. Their presentation, "Connect the Passion" will be presented every hour on the half hour. The connections they want you to be passionate about are automated, digital workflows for print production, known in other industries as Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). They believe this is the secret for taking both you and your customers to a higher level of success.
Prinect Printready System
Announced at Seybold Conference in San Francisco, the Prinect Printready System will be shown for the first time at GraphExpo 2002. Prinect is a modular software system solution that makes it possible to network the entire print production process. Heidelberg has introduced it as the world's first print media and graphic arts software portfolio that allows printers to digitally network all the production workflows from prepress to press to postpress. Entirely JDF(Job Definition Format)-based, Prinect is modular and can be scaled to suit the printshop's needs. In the future, the Prinect Printready System will also be able to control the digital presses Speedmaster DI, Quickmaster DI and Nexpress.
Digimaster 9110 Networked Imaging System
Having gained recognition by receiving a 5 Star "Exceptional" Rating from BERTL (the Business Equipment Research & Test Laboratories) this year, the Digimaster 9110 will be shown with a Ti 40 in-line folder. At 110 pages-per-minute, it can be used for duplication, printing transactional documents and network publication printing of black-and-white documents. Finishing options include booklet making. The system's design is totally modular - add functionality incrementally as your print volume grows. Even in the basic configuration, the Digimaster 9110 Network Imaging System offers good value. The Digimaster 9150 i will also be shown with Roll System and in-line perfect binder
Heidelberg is announcing a new Digimaster on September 30th. Stay tuned.
Nexpress 2100 Digital Color Press
The NexPress 2100 looks sturdy, like a press, and Heidelberg claims it performs like an offset press: high up time, serviceability and consistent sheet-to-sheet and week-to-week quality. Users can produce economical short runs, Web-based marketing and up to 100% variable content. Printing at 2100 A4 (letter) 4/4 pages per hour, the high quality is produced with DryInk technology and you can mix up to three papers in a single printed piece. Moreover, the operator-enabled service is something that no other digital printing system has offered before. Diagnostics will tell the operator when to change Operator Replaceable Components (ORCs), which are the majority of components, and can be replaced by the operator in minutes, with no tools.
Print Media Academy
Heidelberg's training entity will features hourly talks by industry experts at the north end of their booth. Learn about "The how to of a successful startup," "variable data printing," making money at digital printing" and "20 great ideas on increasing productivity" among other topics.
Heidelberg Digital Imaging Association User Conference
The HDIA is a US-based, independent, nonprofit association of printing, publishing and graphic arts companies that use Heidelberg's digital technologies in production. Membership is open to printers, prepress shops, in-plant publishers and retailers, service bureaus, magazine and book publishers, multimedia agencies, design firms and anyone else using Heidelberg equipment. For more info go to www.hdia.com. The user conference, Directions 2002, will take place at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Oct 8-11. Register at www.directions2002.com.
NexPress 2100 Road Shows
The NexPress 2100 Road shows are going on around the country. A NexPress customer hosts the event and the focus is on the how to's of color and VDP. Presenting are an ad agency, LB Works, (a division of Leo Burnett), a successful printer who does 60% of his work in VDP and a software partner, Think 121, who discusses the challenges and opportunities of databases to print effective target marketing pieces. For more information, ask for Business Development at the booth.
Hewlett-Packard/Indigo Division ( Booth #1816)
The New HP is here. Two business days after legally closing its merger with Compaq Computer Corp, HP officially launched the new company with a focus on product offerings, brand plans, and recent customer wins signaling support for the merged company. With a combined revenue of approximately $81.7 billion for 2001, the new HP is comprised of four core business groups. The Imaging and Printing Group includes the HP Indigo products, and we can see them at the show as they are one year after the merger with Indigo.
HP's theme for GraphExpo is "HP Impressions." The company is focusing on digital publishing solutions for three important markets--marketing/advertising agencies, the enterprise and print service providers. They recently launched a year-long road show to highlight HP Indigo digital presses and HP Designjet printers. The "Impressions" nationwide truck tour is designed to drive national awareness of their digital publishing solutions to their target groups. The program began Sept 9th in Kansas City, MO and continues through the summer 2003.
The HP booth will have two main areas-- one for commercial applications and the other for industrial (or specialty) technology. HP is bringing the advantages of on-demand, variable-data printing to the specialty printing market. This is what you will see:
HP Indigo Press w3200
The w3200 is a webfed commercial press designed for high volume commercial printing, direct marketing and publishing applications. It is only the fourth time the w3200 has been shown in the US. The digital offset press is 7-color and prints at rates of 8,000 8.5"x11"/A4 color images-per-hour (two-up). The highly reliable web-handling system enables a wide range of substrates including the lightest weight paper stocks common in the direct mail industry.
HP Indigo Press ws4000
Officially announced in September at LabelExpo Americas 2002, the ws4000 is a 7-color label press designed to cost-effectively produce short/medium runs of high-quality labels on demand at much higher speeds than previous models. According to HP, this is an industrial-strength machine, capable of delivering 24 x 7 production. It eliminates the time wasted on films, plates and set-up.
HP Indigo Press s2000
The s2000 is a 6-color digital press that produces everything from printed graphic attachments and overlays for membrane switches, panels, keypads and mouse pads, to plastic cards for IDs, driver's licenses and financial applications. Printing at 1,000 four-color 11" x 17"/A3 images-per-hour, substrate choices include PVC, polyester, polycarbonate among others. Printed substrates can be finished with lamination, thermo-forming, embossing and other post-printing industry standard processes.
HP Indigo Press 3000
Formerly the Indigo UltraStream 2000, the 3000 is an up-to-7 color digital press designed for the most demanding production environments. It delivers a superior substrate selection, reaching 4,000 four-color 8.5"x11"/A4 single sided pages-per-hour (two-up) or 16,000 single-color 8.5"x11" pages-per hour (two-up.) HP announced in July that the high-speed HP Indigo Press 3000 will play a major role in R.R.Donnelley's Inventory Management Solution (IMS), a new book-on -demand soft-cover production system designed to help book publishers improve cash flow through shorter printing runs.
HP Indigo Press 1000
The 1000 has high-resolution imaging and up to 6-color printing, including spot and fluorescent colors, and touted as highly affordable. There is virtually unlimited substrate selection and HP Indigo Yours Truly personalization software. Printing speeds reach 2,000 full color 8.5" x 11"/A4 images-per-hour (two-up) or 8,000 single-color 8.5" x 11"/A4images-per-hour (two-up).
HP Designjet 5500
This series of professional, large-format devices make it easy to create ready-to-sell, large-format documents quickly. The series supports multiple ink sets and a wide range of media with solutions that simplify workflow and allow unattended printer operation.
HP Remote Proofing Solution
Created for HP Designjet 10ps, 20ps and 50ps printers, the remote proofing solutions is designed to reduce the approval cycle from days to hours. It will allow the generation of remote proofing files that include not only content data, but also specific color profiles and print settings, and then print them accurately at any location.
Have some fun!
Get your picture on a magazine cover. To demonstrate the increased impact of targeting materials to different audience segments, while you're at the booth HP will take your digital picture. You can also get a chance to win an HP Digital Camera. If you're not attending Graph Expo 2002, you can still register for the 1:1 demo offer. Entrants do not need to be present to win. Just complete the online registration form and they send your personalized magazine in the mail in just 10 business days.
Indigo Customer Exchange (ICE) Annual Meeting
This meeting is open to all owners of HP Indigo color digital presses. For additional information contact Laura Keating at email@example.com.
IBM Printing Systems (Booth #3471)
It was 25 years ago that IBM introduced the IBM 3800 Printing System, the industry's first high-speed laser printer, and changed the look of every household's phone bills and bank statements. These printers revolutionized the way thousands of companies would print, especially those in finance, utilities and insurance. The 3800 saved money through productivity improvements and easier-to-read statements. Celebrating its 25 years of technology innovation in production printing, IBM will ship its first Infoprint 4100--their new generation of high-speed printers.
The IBM booth will be set up in 3 zones--"Powerful Hardware," "Powerful Software" and "Powerful Solutions."
The Infoprint 4100 family of continuous webfed devices has extra-wide print web (19.5 inch paper width) and 600 dpi quality. This high image and text quality has traditionally been available only from cutsheet solutions. The 4100 runs at speeds of 175 feet or up to 1,400 impressions per minute (three-up 6x9 inch or A5), with gutter and trim. The 4100 family, with premium and high quality models, incorporates an array of IBM-exclusive, cost-saving and operator-efficient features to enhance productivity. In May, 2002, IBM introduced new enhancements that further increase productivity and flexibility. Later this year, Customer Changeable Developer (CCD) will be made available to allow users to produce highlight color on their existing IBM Infoprint.
The 4100 will be accompanied by the Stralfors LX Unwinder and Cutter/Trimmer/Stacker Pre/Post Processing, with MBO Folding. IBM reports that the 4100 is ideally suited for direct mail, short runs of books, technical manuals, and the next generation of statements. Live applications from the show floor will include 3-up books with folded signatures (that will be bound in the Mueller Martini booth), and stacked book blocks.
The Infoprint 2105 is designed for IBM environments, as well as the data center or in-plant reprographic center. With a speed of 105 ipm, the Infoprint 2105 provides walkup productivity in office environments, yet can meet higher production demands.600 x 600 dpi resolution and digital scanning at up to 72 ipm.
This software automates printer control so you can manage multiple printers simultaneously. Using AFP technology, it accepts input from variable datastreams and provides output in both print and electronic forms. Provides centralized digital printer and job management.
Infoprint workflow is a software and services solution for managing the entire print process--from file submission and RIPping through printing, finishing and shipping. Gives you more efficient and proactive job and inventory control.
The Power of Digital Printing
Join IBM and CAP Ventures for a presentation on The Power of Digital Printing on Monday, Oct 7, 2002, from 7:30 am to 9:00 am CT at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Regency Ballroom C. Jim Hamilton, Associate Director of CAP Ventures, and Bruce Otte, Manager Worldwide Production Print solutions Strategy & Marketing, IBM will provide an overview of digital print, spotlighting the IBM Infoprint 4100. The presentation will feature the results of a recent CAP study on how to determine if production-oriented digital printing technologies are a good fit for your operation. Hamilton and Otte will be available for questions following the presentation. You can register at www.printers.ibm.com. If you are unable to attend Graph Expo this year, you are invited to attend a live CAPV and IBM webcast presentation on Monday, October 7, 2002 11 am-12pm ET or 10am-11am CT. Relax in the privacy of your own home/office. Register the same as above.
Océ Printing Systems USA (Booth 1848)
Océ is perhaps not the most widely known name on the graphic arts and commercial printing world, but it is a household name in transactional printing and digital book publishing. At GraphExpo, this leader in digital document production, management and delivery technology, is demonstrating the strength of its commitment to the commercial printing, graphic arts and print-for-pay marketplace. In Booth 1848 Océ will be
- announcing a new alliance with a major vendor that enables Océ to offer more post-processing (finishing) capabilities, addressing the growing need for high-speed, end-to-end print production, binding and booklet-making solutions.
- showing a complete portfolio of document production solutions developed for the digital, print-for-pay arena including state-of-the-art publishing solutions for commercial and converging print environments.
- demonstrating high-speed, high-quality book and booklet production with the DemandStream 8090cx digital printing system. Océ will show an application featuring a new perfect binding system which accepts either single- or dual-stream input along with full-integrity tracking and cover-matching. One of the documents produced will be a personalized employee benefits package that will be printed, slit, cut and stacked and transported to the new booklet maker for merging with a full-color personalized cover and saddle-stitched.
- demonstrating the CPS 700 color production system producing full-color covers for the personalized employee benefits booklet along with a host of other commercial color print applications.
- showing how PRISMA workflow management software can help customers manage commercial print workflows more effectively throughout the entire document production process.
- showing how proofing can be convenient and cost-effective with Océ TrueProof and how documents can be scanned, processed, edited, and updated using DocSetter software.
The Océ booth is definitely worth some time out of your day if you are looking for industrial strength, high-speed black and white printing options, innovative color printing or comprehensive workflow solutions.
Scitex Digital Printing (Booth 832)
Under the theme of "Printing Freedom That Runs the Gamut," Scitex Digital Printing will be demonstrating the breadth of digital printing capability with products designed to accommodate virtually any job requirement of commercial printers, transactional document printers, mailing professionals, and fulfillment houses. Attendees will find the theme an appropriate one as they experience a variety of jobs being printed on a variety of substrates. Recognized as the industry leader in ultra-high-speed, 100% variable data printing, Scitex Digital Printing is placing a special emphasis on the flexibility, modularity and affordability of its full product line.
The exhibit of all-new products includes
- two in the Dijit Series, Passport 4300 with drop-on-demand inkjet technology and Liberty™ 7122 with permanent ink capability
- two in the page-wide product family, VersaMark Vantage, an affordable entry into process color digital printing, and the new 9-inch print head that runs at 1000 fpm.
And don’t miss the special preview of Scitex Digital Printing’s Next Generation Color technology, showing the potential of digital printing quality. Finally, look for software demonstrations including the completely redesigned, Windows-based MailScape XP software and the newest release of Composer software.
Xeikon (Booth 1059)
Xeikon America will introduce the new IntelliStream 3.5 front-end. IntelliStream 3.5 features support for the variable data standards PPML 2.0 and PPML/VDX, which will make it easier for designers and printers to create, proof and produce variable data jobs. The Xeikon presses on the booth will produce jobs that have proven to be successful applications for our customers.
The DCP 320 D will print a personalized 1:1 marketing campaign and Xeikon's packaging press, the DCP 500 SP, will produce golf ball boxes, pocket folders and point-of-purchase signs on 14 pt. paperboard.
Xerox (Booth 1016)
The Document Company will be showcasing its digital print solutions in the third largest booth at GraphExpo. Three of the new DocuColor iGen3 digital production color presses are the main attractions, along with a trio of the new DocuColor 6060 presses. The booth will have four main areas, each demonstrating solutions for every type of print environment:
– The Digital Print Shop, showing a variety of workflow solutions and bread and butter applications that printers do daily but are not always efficient on existing equipment.
– 1:1 Marketing, demonstrating different approaches to delivering customized and personalized documents.
– Business Development, focusing on ways to build digital printing business, with a special emphasis on color. One of the key features is an 8-minute presentation on maximizing profitability.
– On Demand Publishing, where digital publishing solutions show the new economics of producing a broad range of books, manuals and other publications.
In addition, check out the technology center for an in-depth, open-door look inside the DocuColor iGen3 and interact with a panel of experts on workflows, RIPs, papers, imaging science and variable information. Also look for some innovative new finishing solutions and a range of papers, substrates and supplies optimized for digital printing and enabling a variety of applications. And bring your skepticism when you look at the prints from the iGen3: Xerox says this box is ready for prime time and you can decide for yourself whether it produces prints you could sell at a profit.
While you’re cruising the 16,000 square feet of Xerox’s stand, be sure to check out the new chemical toner machines, the DocuColor 1624 and 2240. And since this is Xerox, which all but invented cut-sheet laser xerography, go see some of the changes in the DocuTech line, a new booklet maker, and a new monochrome device that will likely rattle some cages at Canon and Ricoh.