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Presstek's Joe Demharter discusses technology for printers

Published on October 19, 2012

Presstek VP of Sales Joe Demharter discusses the demands of print service providers and the evolving technology of digital printing.

Cary Sherburne: I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Joe Demharter, who is Vice President of Sales for Presstek, welcome.

Joe Demharter: It’s great to be here. Thank you for the invitation.

Cary Sherburne: Great to have you. So I wanted to just chat with you a little bit about what’s been going on lately at Presstek. I mean, obviously you guys brought to market first the whole concept of chemistry-free offset printing, which is really important for mother earth. And over the years have continued to evolve that and develop it in both the plate side and the press side. And then, of course the 75DI most recently brings you into a different field because of sheet size and other reasons. Maybe you could just talk a little bit about where you’re seeing that going, and what you’re hearing from customers out there, because you’re obviously in sales.

Joe Demharter: I think it’s important to look at a little bit of the legacy history of Presstek and where we’ve come from. And when you look at the core technology, imaging on press, that’s been the fundamental basis of Presstek’s success in the industry. Our technologies have basically evolved from technologies that were built to satisfy the smaller printing company, the in-plant, which was the base of customers that Presstek had historically done business in. As we’ve grown with our technology capability, built more imaging power into our lasers, worked on larger format size presses, we gravitated from a 34 format to a 52, now we’re up to our 75 format.

Cary Sherburne: Which is a completely different design, right?

Joe Demharter: Yes, it’s a tower based press, so we have the ability to go up to ten different towers. We can perfect with the press. We run at very high speeds, 16,000 sheets per hour. Our imaging time is incredibly fast. We can go from digital file to printed sheet in six minutes, so we believe in the standpoint of our ability to satisfy the ever growing short run market. We provide the best solution in that area for static, short run, offset printing.

Cary Sherburne: And so new really is the variable data capability, the perfecting, and maybe you could talk a little bit about Virtuoso.

Joe Demharter: I think as we look at where the industry is going, clearly variable data is a subject that is on every printer’s mind. They believe that variable data presents an important part of their future. They see it as a future business opportunity, as well as potential to improve their profitability on the job. So for us to be successful long term in the industry, we believe we need to have an offering that fits into that variable data space. Our belief, however, though is that only a very small percentage of companies will find they can build a business around variable data. And as most people have done with toner devices, they end up using those devices for short run offset applications. And that is really where Presstek, that’s our business. Our business case is in that short run offset market. But for us to get into the discussion with customers about digital, we need to be able to offer and say that we have the capability of doing variable data.

Cary Sherburne: And then in terms of Virtuoso?

Joe Demharter: We believe that, again, as color gets more sophisticated, job turnaround times become greater, people finding people that have the skills that are quickly going away in our industry. We believe it’s going to be very important to make that press as capable as possible to function on its own and produce the highest quality color with a lot of human intervention.

Cary Sherburne: Okay, without a lot of human?

Joe Demharter: Without a lot of human intervention.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, and so that’s so Virtuoso is a closed loop color—

Joe Demharter: Yes.

Cary Sherburne: Correction, detection **** --

Joe Demharter: Color, detection, so whatever you would expect that pressman standing at the end of the press to do, Virtuoso does those things.

Cary Sherburne: And I understand that you have available, also, a recent white paper from InfoTrends that talks about the DDI press and where it fits in the market.

Joe Demharter: Yes, I mean, InfoTrends has been pretty actively involved with studying art technology to see how it fits between that, bridging that gap between the toner devices and sheet fed offset press. And I think they see that we fit very nicely into a niche in the marketplace where our customers are going. It seems like every customer we talk to, you ask them where their run lengths are going, very few say they’re getting longer. Most say they’re getting shorter, and I keep hearing kind of the magic number is in that 5,000 run length. That seems to be the common number that people use. And, in all honesty, that is the sweet spot for our technology.

Cary Sherburne: And so where can people get that white paper?

Joe Demharter: Presstek.com.

Cary Sherburne: Okay, download free.

Joe Demharter: Thank you.

Cary Sherburne: Okay.

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