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Day One from IPEX with Andy Tribute: HP, Fujifilm, Heidelberg, and Xerox

Published on May 19, 2010

A busy day of announcements, including the new HP T200 inkjet, a new solid ink Xerox inkjet, and debate about digital versus offset. Plus a little note about volcanic ash over Britain. Andy Tribute's got it all covered.

IPEX 2010 Day One with Andy Tribute

Hi.  This is Andy Tribute for WhatTheyThink.com.  Greetings and welcome to IPEX.  It's now the opening day of the show and we've already had first conference on the day before the opening when Fuji Film and Heidelberg presented what they were showing.  And as we go into the show, we already see, on day one, the first of the daily editions of the IpexDaily, just like Frank Romano, I can do it as well with showing you what we're picking up.

The interesting thing on this main item , "HP takes wraps off baby inkjet web press."  We'll hear more about this today but this is basically the T200 press, the baby version of the T300 aimed at the entry-level continuous feed market, slower speed.  It has a highest speed in monochrome and it has slower speed in color, 20 inches wide approximately, and price not known but should stir the market up significantly.  However, it's not the only new inkjet press.  Here we see Xerox announces inkjet future will be built around solid ink tech.  They are introducing their new press, no release date as yet, built around the solid ink technology we are used to in the phase of printers.

Interestingly this comes in at a much higher performance than I was expecting; I knew this was coming, but basically 150 meters a minutes.  That's as fast as anything out there at the moment.  Just over 20 inch width of web and aimed at the transpromo direct mail markets.  Now it's going to be interesting to see what the quality on this is like and we'll find this out when they show it and take the veils off it.  But if it's like solid ink, it's not going to be as good as perhaps the quality we're seeing on some other devices, but the key thing it will print on any old rubbishy paper without problems of show through, etc.  So this could be a really interesting product.  I'm fascinated to see what the price is going to be.

So, those are the products we're hearing about at the start but what's happened today in the press conferences?  Well first of all, we had the Fuji Film press conference where the Jet Press 720.  A product we've all been waiting for; we saw it previewed at previous exhibitions, particularly Drupa and now this is the launch of the product.  I feel sorry for Fuji Film; they had a bad day.  You sometimes get these bad days when despite all the practices and the tests and everything else, it goes wrong and today unfortunately as they did the demonstration, hoping the press would be running at the same time as the presentation, didn't happen.  We found out that the server had gone down.  They did get it up towards the end, after Q&A session.  So we'd asked the questions before we seen the output and yes it ran at the end, produced what looked like good quality output and we had very nice quality output on our samples.  However, I was a bit disappointed with the presentation because I felt that if they're going to show a digital press at least show it's digital instead of just doing the same page one after another.  Why didn't they change the pages as they went through?  I know this isn't aimed at the variable data market but it doesn't mean to say we can't change data; it's a digital press.

But we'll wait and see.  I did also find that the fact when Fuji presented what they felt was the business model saying this is fitting in a space above the toner inkjets and below offset at our target market of perhaps between 200 copies and 1,500 copies, that the general attitude of the press is they did not necessarily see this is a major market opportunity and felt somewhat disappointed.  May I be wrong in my assessment?  But it wasn't the great whoop of optimism about this and it may well be that you just don't see that market opportunity there.

Now I've written an article recently, which was published in WhatTheyThink, well I'm not too sure what the market for this press is and other B2 digital presses.  We'll wait and see.

Then we had the Heidelberg press event and in this Heidelberg spent a lot of the time talking about lean manufacturing and showed us what they meant by lean manufacturing.  We also had a presentation from Mr. Schreier, the chairman of and CEO of Heidelberg, and Bernhard Schreier talked about what's happening in the market place.

Now I'm speaking to Benhard Schreier tomorrow and I hope to do a radio interview of him.  So that should come in a future presentation during IPEX.  But in terms of lean manufacturing, the presentation on that was mainly done by George Clark, the UK managing director of Heidelberg, and he poured scorn on some of the presentations he's hearing from the digital people where they're making very force comparisons against offset when they're comparing more than digital machines against old offset machines.  And he pointed out that actually if they looked seriously at what was happening today with the latest offset they would find that it's incredibly competitive with short run links in terms of the Speedmaster 52 Any Color.  They said now instead of the 250 copies of waste material then the digital people say the average is about eight to ten copies of eight to ten waste sheets.

So it's fundamentally different with a very short make-ready.  And to show how efficient the modern offset press was, the demonstration they showed was a 10-color Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105; a real power machine.  Running three different jobs and printing 600 copies of each in 10 minutes, that's including changing the plates, changing the stark, changing the layout; all done in 10 minutes, for three complete jobs with 600 copies of each printed.

Now you do that in a digital press and I'll be amazed.  It was real impressive demonstration that Heidelberg and offset are quite capable of doing lots and lots of very short jobs in a very short period of time.  Offset is not dead by any means.

So they've set the scene: offset against digital.  Where's inkjet going to fit against offset?  Where's toner going to fit?  And it's interesting also that Fugi Film talked about the new Xerox Color Press 1000 sharing the quality was exceptional and I asked, "Now how did the quality compare on the Jet Press 720 and the Xerox 1000."  And they weren't prepared to give a comment at the time, probably because I hadn't really compared the two.  But it's interesting that where does that product and when you're looking at where digital is going.  So a lot of what we're going to see at IPEX is digital where it is how does it compare against offset and then you see products like the new inkjet presses, like the T200 from HP coming into that space and seeing how the T300 is having significant success in the market, particularly in the book printing market.  One looks to see the T200, where that's going to fit from HP and see what markets that's going to go for and how that's going to impact on offset.

The Xerox machine it's going to be very difficult to see just where that fits and until we look at it and see the quality and what market they're aiming it at, apart from transpromo and direct mail.  But it's off to go a good start.  We really start getting into seeing all the new presses on the floor and all the new products and everything else and meeting the key movers and shakers in the industry.

So I will be presenting further videos on a regular basis throughout the next week and I hope you find them interesting.  But we have one little problem.  One little problem is called the ash cloud.  Once again transport into the UK has been hindered by a return of the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland.  Hopefully it's going to clear tomorrow, Tuesday, we'll wait and see and but at the moment I've heard of a number of Americans who had to cancel their trips because they had problems with travel and with what was the impending British Airway strike that was hindering things; luckily that strikes been called off for the moment.  So hopefully those people who were thinking of canceling coming from the States will now get on a plane and come, because it's certainly worth coming.  This is going to be a great show.

Thanks very much indeed and this is Andy Tribute from WhatTheyThink.com.

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