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Kathy Tobin on the value of specialty printing system modules for offset printing presses

Published on October 9, 2012

HP's General Manager of Specialty Printing Systems Kathy Tobin talks to Cary Sherburne about the specialty printing systems segment and what she sees for the future of specialty printing modules on offset equipment.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at What They Think and I'm here with Kathy Tobin, who is the General Manager of Specialty Printing Systems at HP. And what does that mean?

Kathy Tobin: So specialty printing services systems at Hewlett Packard is where we take the HP thermal inkjet technology and we've created print modules, high speed print modules for offset presses and we're making them available for offset presses and finishing equipment.

Cary Sherburne: And so they would just get installed on the press or the finishing to add variable data and full color.

Kathy Tobin: Yes and we have both monochrome and full color. They help to extend that life of the press and as a stepping stone for some people who have offset presses that want to move into digital.

Cary Sherburne: And so for example maybe you can give me a couple of customer examples where they've found this to be helpful to their business in increasing revenues, extending the life of their presses, those kinds of things.

Kathy Tobin: Yeah, there are two scenarios, to extend the life of their existing offset equipment and move into digital and so an example of that is Freedom Graphics. They have a digital press, but they also have a lot of offset equipment that they want to extend and still make use of and there is still need for that, but they also understand the value of digital and they want to add that and so it's an opportunity for them to do that. And then another one that was already digital and understood the value of digital, but they were using monochrome and they wanted to move to color is Vertis [ph] Communications and so they've moved to color and it's been an interesting opportunity and successful transition for both of them.

Cary Sherburne: And in terms of Vertis they're actually putting on the finishing equipment, right?

Kathy Tobin: Yeah, they—yes, it's a very complex system that they've developed and so it's—but it's very interesting.

Cary Sherburne: So what do you see sort of looking forward maybe longer term with this type of technology, especially when we see B2, sheet fed, inkjet and toner liquid ink devices coming into the market in huge numbers? I mean there is a lot of activity there and also on the web side with inkjet and liquid ink. What do you see as the long term future? Is there a future for that? Do you think that's going to continue for some time?

Kathy Tobin: Well there are still so many offset presses out there and there is a huge install base out there and so these print modules because they're running at high speed, they're running at 800 feet per minute. They're color. They're monochrome and as you can imagine we'll be pushing the speeds further. They will help to extend the life of that equipment and help move the printing companies to-

Cary Sherburne: And their customers.

Kathy Tobin: And their customers, right—to understand the value of digital to create that value from their customers that they understand it and their own staff and build that print environment.

Cary Sherburne: And the domain expertise that they need.

Kathy Tobin: Yeah.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, that's great. Well it's kind of you know. It sounds kind of I don't know, okay I'm going to put an inkjet head on my press. It doesn't sound that exciting, but really it is exciting.

Kathy Tobin: It is very exciting and the people that have seen it we've had so many people come up who want it on their press and at that speed of 800 feet per minute it's now in the sweet spot that it can go on so many different areas and then as people develop those pages and understand the value and are able to capture the value of digital then they can move up to a digital press because they have to economic value.

Cary Sherburne: Or add it to the mix.

Kathy Tobin: Yes, right.

Cary Sherburne: That's great, really. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Kathy Tobin: Thank you. Thank you Cary.

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