One of the more notable aspects of this year's On Demand Show in Gotham City is which companies will and will not be there. Heidelberg is staying home, and reports are that HP will have its road-show tractor-trailer on hand (sans any new print engines), but it's uncertain at this writing whether it will be inside the Javits Center or staking out real estate on 34th Street or 11th Avenue. On the other hand, IBM is attending, something they haven't done in a couple of years. Xerox is there with a somewhat reduced footprint from last year, but still plenty of product, partners, and applications, while Océ North America is using the show as launching pad for new products and to continue emphasizing its One Océ strategy. And judging from my schedule at the show, there will be plenty to see.
A year ago, with the economy wallowing like a big old Buick on worn-out shocks and thin tires, attendance at On Demand was off because corporate coffers were decidedly thin. Vendors, tying to take a positive spin on depressing show traffic, claimed to be "seeing more decision makers," but that was only because those were the only guys with sign-off authorization to go to a show. This year, with the 800-pound gorilla called drupa coming just seven weeks after the doors close at the Javits, every mega-dollar budget is devoted largely to those 14 days in delightful Dusseldorf.
So while On Demand 2004 may be smaller, there is still a lot to cover. Here at WTT, we'll be covering the show in detail for the next three weeks, and the team of Cary Sherburne, Gail Nickel-Kailing, Pat Henry, and I will do our best to fill you in on what's being shown and how some of the companies are thinking about the market today. I'll begin today with what a few of the print engine vendors are up to at the show, including one of my favorite topics--on demand books.
When I Think Back on All I Learned in High School
When singer-songwriter Paul Simon, a literate guy and a New Yorker to his boots, remarked that after high school it was a wonder he could think at all, he surely wasn't talking about books. He may not have enjoyed all the tomes he had to read, but reading certainly aided him in his career. Other kids with New York roots are reading some of those same titles today. The difference is the Big Apple is getting some of the books for free thanks to an innovative program called Books for Schools that is happening right on the show floor at On Demand.
A partnership of Delphax, Boise Paper Solutions, Keene Technologies, Muller-Martini, Shuttleworth, Stralfors, and Xeikon, with publicity support from show producer Advanstar, will be printing and binding several classic school texts throughout the show. The same program took place last year and it has been further refined and streamlined to be even more effective.
The system consists of a Delphax digital web press running at 300 feet per minute with complete books--about 210 to 300 pages each--coming off the system at a pace of one book every 5 or 10 seconds, explains Bob Vandenboom, Worldwide Director of Marketing for Delphax. An automatic splicer from Keene Technologies makes it possible to keep the print engine running at full speed with little human intervention. A Stralfors trimmer and stacker, Shuttleworth conveyors, and a Muller Martini digital binder combine to make the books ready for boxing and shipping. In addition, the book being produced changes about every 30 copies, so the entire system is in a state of change as book blocks thickness and covers are different for each title.
Vandenboom says the partnership will print and donate some 10,000 books from this year's On Demand show. Titles, selected by the New York City school department, will include such classroom standards as Last of the Mohicans, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, and a Sherlock Holmes title . The books will be printed on a white digital paper from Boise Paper Solutions, even though the Delphax press can easily run the ground wood stock used for many paperbound books.
When you drop by the Delphax booth and swipe your card you're also able to have one of the books donated in your name to a school. But be prepared for crowds--last year people were lined up four-deep at times, watching the system at work.
IBM Printing Systems
A selection of books--without the donation to schools--are also being printed in IBM's booth, where Big Blue will be demonstrating its continuous-form monochrome Infoprint 4100 HD3/4. IBM's popular cut-sheet solutions for the enterprise, the Infoprint 2075ES and 2105ES, will also be on display, along with a range of workflow management software solutions, including Infoprint Manager and Infoprint Workflow, Enterprise Output Solutions (EOS) and Content Manager.
Meanwhile, over on the AIIM side of the show, IBM will demonstrate new content management capabilities to help customers streamline business processes, comply with government regulations, and drive down costs. IBM will expand its content management portfolio to include new platform support for Linux, and new bundling options.
Océ to Showcase New Products
The Digital Document Systems division of Océ North America will be rolling out a new four-color printer, the CPS 900 and what it terms a revolutionary new continuous form platform in the new VarioStream 9000. In addition, an enhanced Océ VarioPrint 5000 system will be offering two-over-two spot color, improved workflow, copying capabilities, and integrated finishing. I'll have all the details following the launch on Monday, March 8.
At the show, Océ is taking a focus on several vertical markets and will be demonstrating a variety of solutions for financial printing, graphic arts and commercial printing, and direct marketing, all enabled by the company's PRISMA workflow software.
Xerox is focusing on paying attention to delivering value for customers and providing ways for them to generate revenue and run their businesses more efficiently. At On Demand the Document Company will be showing solutions that allow customers to develop high-growth applications, cut costs, streamline operations, and create new business. This is part of a strategy is to help customers reduce costs and add value by making smarter connections between people, processes and technology. Workflow is clearly a part of this approach and Xerox will be showing a variety of applications across much of its product line, including the new DocuTech 100/120 Copier-Printer, and DocuColor models iGen3, 6060 and 3535.
Other print engine players I'll be seeing and telling you about later on include, Canon, HP, KonicaMinolta, Nipson, and Xeikon. For details on many more vendors, be sure to look for the Show Directory coming later this week. Gail Nickel-Kailing and Cary are up over the next couple days with some pre-show stories and I should be back in here Friday with a pre-show interview. Until then, be well.