ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Sept. 4, 2001--Taking the wraps off high-end digital color technology that leapfrogs the competition and creates a "sea change'' in the printing industry, Xerox Corporation today revealed the design breakthroughs behind a new digital press that will open market opportunities and fuel revenue growth for Xerox and its customers.
The technology forms the core of the Xerox DocuColor iGen3(TM) Digital Production Press, previously code-named FutureColor. The DocuColor iGen3 results from a $1 billion research and development investment that also led to more than 300 patents. It can create output with the traditional look and feel of offset prints, while offering unprecedented speed, personalization capabilities and cost advantages.
At center stage during this week's Print 01 trade show in Chicago, the color press is a key component in Xerox's plan to continue to lead the digital color and production print markets.
"The DocuColor iGen3 represents the ingenuity of the new Xerox and will spur a sea change in all segments of the print industry. We are bringing new technology and new thinking to help customers be more productive and profitable,'' said Anne Mulcahy, Xerox president and chief executive officer. "This next-generation technology, combined with related solutions and services, will unlock new opportunities for high-quality printed color materials that are personalized, available on-demand and integrated with the Web.''
Xerox expects growth of digital color production printing to have as steep a trajectory as the on-demand digital black-and-white printing market that the company created with the Xerox DocuTech in 1990. This product line has generated about $15 billion in Xerox revenue to date.
CAP Ventures, an independent research company, estimates that the retail value of the color print-on-demand market will grow by 18 percent a year to nearly $32 billion in 2005. Strategies for Management, another independent firm, estimates that 78 percent of multicolor offset jobs are short-runs of 5,000 prints or less.
That's the market where Xerox is targeting the DocuColor iGen3. Its productivity, economics and advanced imaging technology are designed to meet customer demands for shorter run lengths and fast turnaround at breakthrough costs for digital printing. Unlike a traditional offset press, the DocuColor iGen3 also can incorporate personal (variable) data to create customized brochures, tailored catalogs, personalized books, newsletters, direct-mail postcards, invoices and more.
At the heart of the new system is Xerox's patented SmartPress Technology(TM), a third-generation technology that uses microfine dry ink (toner) and built-in intelligence to create documents with consistent, predictable and accurate color. These advances are enabled by 85 microprocessors and 5 million lines of software code.
To create the image, four imaging stations layer the four colors of dry ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) on an electrically charged carrier to create the image. When the carrier and the paper meet, a combination of electrostatic charges, sound waves and pressure move the dry ink down to the paper's surface, transferring the complete image in one quick step - unlike any other imaging technology. This provides unprecedented speed, extremely accurate color registration and greater reliability.
The system also contains artificial intelligence and controls that constantly calibrate color on every page to ensure consistent quality.
In addition to advanced imaging, the DocuColor iGen3 has a straight paper-handling design engineered to automatically recognize and print on different sizes and types of paper - within the same print run. The system's intelligence also ensures that the paper is always precisely placed to receive the most accurate image transfer.
SmartPress technologies give the DocuColor iGen3 significant advantages over second-generation digital presses attempting to enter the market. The DocuColor iGen3 will produce 6,000 full-color 8 1/2" x 11'' impressions per hour, or 100 per minute - almost 50 percent faster than competitive products. Cost per page and overall running costs will also be significantly reduced.
The DocuColor iGen3 is modular and designed to be compatible with major pre-press systems, workflows and applications. It will be supported by two digital front ends, which process images prior to printing: the Spire platform from CreoScitex for advanced color management required in commercial applications, and the Xerox DocuSP Server for DocuTech-like workflow but with full color.
The press also has a common interface that will enable Xerox in the future to connect third-party finishing equipment, such asstitcher/folders and binders, to expedite post-process work. Xerox will build on its color technology to offer solutions such as full-color books on demand and services such as training and marketing support.
Initial customer engagement is slated to begin by the end of this year. Product launch of the DocuColor iGen3 will begin in the second half of 2002. Demonstrations are available Sept. 6-13 at Print 01, this year's largest graphic-arts industry event.
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