Technology News from Exstream, EFI, Kodak, Mohawk, SeeFile, Oce, Konica Minolta, and Xerox
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: May 2, 2007
- Technology News from Exstream, EFI, Kodak, Mohawk, SeeFile, Oce, Konica Minolta, and Xerox By Patrick Henry, Executive Editor, WhatTheyThink May 2, 2007 -- Output devices and workflow solutions were the centers of attention at press briefings held by a number of vendors at On Demand. The various announcements made it clear that the evolution of technologies for digital document production is far from over as the manufacturers continue to raise the bars for speed, image and color quality, cost-effective output, and end-to-end production control. Platforms for all environments from office workgroups to high-volume commercial operations are converging in terms of technical sophistication to the point where the only thing that truly distinguishes them from each other may be footprint. Big, mid-sized, or small, these feature-packed printers are alike in striving to be the best solutions in the application areas for which they were designed. It’s a competition that the customer ultimately wins—and the prizes were on view in nearly every booth at On Demand. Oce announced the latest addition to its black and color-capable Océ VarioStream 9000 series: the Océ VarioStream 9240, a four-color press with single-pass duplexing that delivers 172 letter-size full-color pages per minute (ppm). Described by Océ as one of the fastest full-color toner-based digital presses on the market, the VarioStream 9240 prints in B&W, one or two spot colors, or full CMYK modes. Configured as a four-color press, the system can print monochrome documents at 852 ppm and two and three-color documents at 353 and 231 ppm, respectively. Océ also introduced the new High-speed Océ VarioStream 9000, capable of printing black-only pages at 1,350 ppm—60 percent faster than the existing version. The device also will print 2/2 and 3/3 output at their current rated speeds. The GraphicArtsplus mode is also available at regular speeds for increased graphic quality. Océ says that customers including service bureaus, print service providers and in-house plants will benefit from the system’s Océ Job Appropriate Color strategy to achieve the best balance of color and speed. Océ PRISMA workflow software for the new platform offers capabilities in prepress, document design, interoperability, job management, and other areas. Output devices and workflow solutions were the centers of attention at press briefings held by a number of vendors at On Demand. The various announcements made it clear that the evolution of technologies for digital document production is far from over For corporate print departments and commercial printers, Océ premiered its latest production-color printers: Océ Color System 620 (CS620) and Océ Color System 650 Pro (CS650 Pro). These small-footprint devices are said to provide 65-ppm printing and copying at one of the industry's lowest levels of total cost of ownership. Finishing options include booklet making, large capacity stacking, stapling, and folding. The CS620 and CS650 Pro also feature oil-free fusing and high-density polymerized toner for prints that can written on or laminated. Also making its debut at the show was the BLM500 book maker. Designed to be attached to an Océ cut-sheet printer, the BLM500 combines stitching, folding, spine forming and long-edge trimming to produce square-spined books up to 200 pages or 10 mm thick. Konica Minolta unveiled Printgroove, a modular, automated workflow solution that it is positioning as a much less expensive alternative to large-scale legacy production systems and competitive print management software. Printgroove is available in three complementary modules: Printgroove Serve, for automated, Web-based digital job submission, proofing, and tracking; Printgroove Guide, a shop-floor production management system that can handle traffic volume, manage job ticketing, tracking and billing, and monitor devices in real time; and Printgroove Queue, a solution that links and centrally controls multiple Konica Minolta bizhub devices for optimized performance. The company also highlighted the recently launched bizhub C550, a 45-ppm color/55-ppm B&W document printer for high-end office workgroups. Another recent launch, the bizhub PRO C6500 Digital Printing System, is said to offer “spectacular” color printing with speed, reliability and cost efficiency in to light- to mid-volume production applications. Responding to growing concerns about document security, Konica Minolta, announced that it is among the first manufacturers to achieve Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 3 and ISO 15408 (Common Criteria Certification) status for its bizhub and bizhub Pro color and monochrome multifunction printers (MFPs). ISO 15408 establishes a language for specifying and evaluating security functionality for networked devices. Konica Minolta notes that while some manufacturers have ISO 15408 certification for specific security components and functions, its implementation covers the entire MFP system to provide end-to-end security. Protective features include automatic Hard Drive Overwrite; hard drive encryption; the industry's first Biometric Authentication function; and other capabilities for virus protection, user access restriction, and secure file transmission and printing. The major show news from Kodak was the expansion of the NexPress family from three platforms to five with the introduction of the NexPress M700 and NexPress S3000 digital production color presses. Kodak positions the M700 as a mid-level digital press for customers seeking to grow monthly page volume with short run color, Web-to-print, and variable-data printing applications. The four-color press runs at 70 ppm at a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. The S3000 delivers 3,000 cut sheets per hour. The existing NexPress 2100, 2100 Plus, and 2500 digital color production color presses make up the rest of the NexPress line. Kodak also unveiled the Nexstation V front end and Nexstation system software v9.0, a new operating control system designed to increase uptime and improve productivity of NexPress presses. A productivity enhancer for the 2500 and S3000 platforms, a roll feeder from Lasermax Roll Systems, also was introduced. Kodak says that its booth was the only exhibit at AIIM/On Demand presenting solutions for attendees at both segments of the event. Highlights include Web-to-print solutions for electronic ordering and tracking; connectivity to digital printing systems; and templates for creating customized variable data print applications. Kodak also will demonstrate its complementary inkjet and electrophotographic technologies; a variety of scanning solutions; end-to-end production management with its Unified Workflow and Prinergy systems; and the Darwin VI authoring tool for the QuarkXPress 7 and Adobe InDesign CS3 page layout applications. Darwin VI converts documents created in these applications into variable information documents in which all elements—text, graphics, colors, layout, charts, background, and even entire pages—can be dynamic. SeeFile Software announced that the newest version of its Web-based creative collaboration tool, which allows drag-and drop uploads and Web proofing, is now compatible with Enfocus Software’s server workflow products, PitStop Server 4 and Automate 1. SeeFile allows individuals or creative groups to harness the power of the Web in real time so that clients and collaborators can upload and process PDFs and other graphics files through an intuitive Web-based interface. SeeFile says that unlike hosted providers, its solution permits large media files to be saved to the local hard disk of a workflow server. The software then automatically creates the thumbnails and watermarked previews and displays them in a simple Web browser interface. These files and folders can be remotely accessed via standard browsers like Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer. SeeFile 3.0 also introduces a range of advanced functions like side-by-side image comparisons, on-screen annotations, and color-coded collections for each user. SeeFile says that by combining the product’s transparent Web interface with Enfocus’s automation tools, users can reap many of the productivity benefits of high-end systems such as Creo’s Synapse and Xinet’s WebNative. SeeFile 3.0, which can be run on any OSX Macintosh, is a free release for owners of earlier versions of the software with an annual upgrade contract. Mohawk Fine Papers Inc. used On Demand partly as a platform for its voluntary efforts in sustainability and response to climate change. At their press briefing, the company announced that as of March 1 of this year, it has increased its purchase of recoverable energy certificates for wind-generated electricity from 45,000,000 kWh to 60,000,000 kWh annually. Mohawk—the first U.S. producer to use wind power for papermaking—says that this “green” energy represents 60% of all of the electricity it uses for manufacturing, converting, and distribution. Mohawk also announced its participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program, an industry-government partnership aimed at developing comprehensive strategies for addressing climate change. By participating in Climate Leaders, Mohawk has pledged to inventory its corporate-wide greenhouse gas emissions and to report progress in reducing emissions to the EPA. Product news from Mohawk included the expansion of its portfolio of digital papers for HP Indigo, Xerox iGen3, and Kodak NexPress platforms. The Mohawk Color Copy now includes a new 110 cover in Mohawk Color Copy 98; added weights in Mohawk Color Copy Gloss; higher 92-brightness in Mohawk Color Copy Ultra Gloss; and new sheet sizes for the iGen3. New Mohawk Via Digital papers provide satin, felt, and linen finishes for high-quality digital output. The relaunched Beckett Expression line, featuring Mohawk’s proprietary i-Tone surface treatment, is available in basis weights from 80 text to 100 cover for both conventional and digital printing. Beckett Expression papers, says Mohawk, are “carbon neutral”: produced using energy offsets that counteract increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Exstream Software Inc. announced the launch of its two newest products, Dialogue 6.0 and Dialogue Live. Dialogue is a platform for building and deploying batch, real-time, and interactive document applications across the enterprise, with open-architecture connectivity to the enterprise's data sources, systems, and Web infrastructure. Dialogue 6.0 is a major new release with over 250 enhancements and eight new modules—several of which are for increased support of PDF, both on the design and production side. Fully integrated with 6.0 for high-volume and on-demand document production, Dialogue Live is Exstream’s new solution for intelligent, interactive documents. Exstream says that Dialogue Live provides a common infrastructure for managing the editing of all types of interactive documents across the enterprise. It also automates integration of field-edited documents with centralized corporate systems and document production. Companies are said to benefit by eliminating point solutions and manual fulfillment processes in the field, resulting in more productive employees, significantly reduced costs, less strain on IT resources, fewer calls to customer service, and happier customers. According to Exstream, Dialogue Live is ideal for companies in all industries that want to provide customer-facing employees with the flexibility and autonomy they need to complete interactive point-of-need personalized documents for clients, while ensuring accuracy and costs are controlled through centralized production and fulfillment. EFI announced the availability of its most advanced Fiery print server to drive Xerox’s DocuColor 260 digital color printer/copier. The server features WYSIWYG job composition and imposition tools; open, flexible VDP workflow and architecture; and expert tools for graphic arts professionals. The server also offers advanced queue management capabilities that eliminate bottlenecks and minimize downtime for enhanced productivity and improved profitability. A “bustled controller” feature designed for the DocuColor 260 is said to provide exceedingly high levels of productivity, flexibility, security and ease of use. These capabilities include driving more printed pages; easily printing Word/Excel/PowerPoint documents through an e-mail client without a printer driver; and strengthened security. EFI says that through open-platform compliance with industry standards such as JDF, PDF, and PPML, the Fiery EX260 seamlessly integrates into customers’ overall print shop operations. This enables the server to function as a gateway to third-party technologies, Xerox FreeFlow solutions, and EFI products such as Colorproof XF for proofing and EFI Print MIS solutions. At the show, EFI showcased the newest versions of its Splash Mac OS X-based workflow software option for the Fiery embedded server driving Xerox color multifunction systems; EFI MicroPress, a color/B&W raster-based workflow solution; Digital StoreFront, EFI’s Web-to-print e-commerce platform for print service providers; SendMe, EFI's flagship product for digital color document capture, edit and distribution; and the EFI Color Profiler Suite profiling solution. Please offer your feedback to Patrick. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrick Henry is the director of Liberty or Death Communications (www.libordeath.com), a consultancy specializing in research, education, promotional, and editorial support services for the printing and publishing industries.