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Commentary & Analysis

FREE Special: Guy Broadhurst, Director of Product Programs for Oce Printing Systems USA, Inc.

Conducted in part by Noel Ward October 30,

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 30, 2002

Conducted in part by Noel Ward October 30, 2002 -- Océ Printing Systems USA kicked off the show before the doors opened Monday morning with a press conference that crowded the company's booth as press and analysts listened to Carl Joachim and Guy Broadhurst describe the highlights and broad capabilities of the new VarioPrint and VarioStream families of print engines. The new engines are a significant step forward for Océ, and are replete with features and capabilities that address a broad range of cut sheet and continuous form printing requirements in the transactional and publishing markets. As noted previously on WTT, VARIO stands for Variable Input and Output of both datastreams and substrates. The roll-fed VarioStream is scalable from 191 to nearly 1,300 images per minute, and can print with MICR toner at 1060 images per minute, soon to be increased to almost 1,300. According to an independent study by IDC, Océ solutions offer the highest monthly capacities and lowest total cost of ownership in production printing. While those numbers are impressive, it is cut-sheet printing that accounts for some 85% of the U.S. digital production printing market. Extending Océ's reach into that market is the job of the new VarioPrint series, the VarioPrint 5115 and 5160, with other models to follow. Both will be offering MICR and highlight color capabilities. The new lines will see early customer engagement late in the first quarter of 2003 and will be generally available in June 2003. (Noel Ward, Editor@Large, WTT) Guy Broadhurst is Director of Product Programs for Oce Printing Systems USA. He took time to answer a few questions about their announcements. WTT: How much of these new machines is truly new and how much is based on existing technology? Guy Broadhurst: The two new Océ VarioStream and VarioPrint product families provide very new digital print capabilities for the market. The systems enhance the best of our existing technology and extend further to better address customer and market requirements in both continuous form and cut-sheet arenas. The capabilities offered by VarioPrint and VarioStream raise the bar for print engines in today’s convergent market and redefine how a very broad range of jobs can be produced using new feature sets, more speed and better quality imaging. There is new technology in almost every part of the new Océ VarioPrint and Océ VarioStream systems. Over 100 significant engineering changes have resulted in substantive improvements to 90% of the subsystems for the VarioStream line and over 80% in the Océ VarioPrint products. WTT: What do you mean when you say Vario means Variable Input and Output? Guy Broadhurst: It means a number of different things. When we reference Variable, we refer to both the input and output sides. First, we offer the ability to send 240/ 300 or even 600 dpi data streams to the printers as a standard feature. In addition, the new machines, using PRISMA software, can accept data in several different formats, including Xerox, IBM, PostScript, PDF, and HP-PCL. This kind of versatility is a vital characteristic for print engines today because convergence requires a single print engine to run many different kinds of jobs. Machines that don’t have this ability are much more limited in what they can do and can ultimately restrict the capabilities of a printing operation. Input is also about paper, and most machines today are limited to a fairly narrow range of paper stocks--a range that doesn’t represent all the documents a customer may require. Our Vario families accept a broader range of substrates than any other machine on the market today. The output side is a reflection of the input. If you are going to accept a range of dpi and data streams, then you must be able to run different consumable types which include 240/ 300 or 600 dpi options. Additionally the output can produce a much wider range of documents than a machine that is limited to just one or two types of input. We have designed both the VarioPrint and VarioStream systems to integrate with finishing, post-processing and mailing technologies to provide end-to-end solutions for all kinds of document production. This is why we have made all our new products UP3I compliant so they can integrate with new post-processing solutions as they are introduced. WTT: You talk a lot about scalability. What do you mean by this and where is the real value for the customer? Guy Broadhurst: Scalability is the foundation of how we designed a product line with a wide breadth of functionality and capability. It allows customers to purchase a product that meets their needs today and then grow and adapt that product as their needs change. Historically, print engines from most vendors have been limited to a relatively narrow range of "feeds and speeds." For example, most print engines run at just one resolution and print speed, have limited input trays, and lack truly flexible highlight color options. The new Océ VarioPrint and Océ VarioStream are scalable because they can be modified as needed to run at higher speeds, they accept our Quick Change Developer Stations for fast spot color and MICR toner changes, and can accommodate legacy data files that may print much more efficiently and economically at 240, 300 or 600 dpi. And those are just basic examples. Under our Adaptable Imaging Architecture our new machines can also change as new options and technology are introduced. This helps deliver the lowest TCO in the industry because you can retain a core machine--and do more with it--over a long period of time. WTT: You also note that these new machines are configurable. How is this different from what is offered by other vendors? Guy Broadhurst: The VarioPrint and VarioStream families are built on a modular technology platform and our AIA architecture. These design concepts ensure that a customer can configure a system for a specific need or application. With more than 20 different models and configurations to chose from there is no need to purchase features or capabilities that aren’t needed. This approach goes a step further, and that relates to scalability. As a customer’s need change, the machine he bought for a specific application can be re-configured to meet those changing needs. Maybe he needs to print faster, add color or provide a finishing capability. With the inherent configurability of VarioPrint or VarioStream, those features can be added without changing the core machine. This gives a customer investment protection of a flexible system that can change as his needs change. We think of this as providing a future-proof system with scalability. WTT: This all sounds great but printers frequently keep their digital printers for several years. How do the capabilities you describe help them over time? Guy Broadhurst: Our new technology is built on four pillars. (1) Providing a short time to profit and a low cost of operation. This comes from the inherent flexibility of the machines. The more a machine can do at the lowest TCO possible, the more profitable it will be for the customer. (2) Convergence-ready versatility enables customers to handle a broader range of jobs than they can on other machines. This opens the way to new opportunities and adds capabilities. (3) Ready-to-grow scalable architecture that can grow with a customer’s needs and as technology evolves in the future, reducing or eliminating the need for replacing entire machines. (4) These allow printers to work without worrying about their equipment becoming obsolete. Just as important, the rock-solid reliability Océ products are known for is built into the new machines and we expect to continue our tradition of 98% uptime in the VarioPrint and VarioStream family.



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