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Xerox to Broaden Continuous Feed Portfolio, WTT Analysis

Press release from the issuing company

DÜSSELDORF, Germany, Jan. 17, 2008  - (WhatTheyThink.com Senior Editor Cary Sherburne Comments Below) - As it prepares for the world's largest printing exhibition later this year, Xerox Corporation launched its fastest yet continuous feed printing system that helps print providers capitalize on the high-speed, high-volume monochrome printing market. The new high-speed system makes it easier to produce books, manuals and trans-promotional applications.

At a media pre-briefing here today for drupa 2008, Xerox took the wraps off the Xerox 650/1300 Continuous Feed Printing System, which combines speed, ease-of-use and workflow productivity into a powerful device for service bureaus, data centers, and commercial print providers.

The company also highlighted new printing technologies, workflow solutions, business development services and applications that fortify Xerox's leadership position in offering the industry's broadest portfolio of systems and solutions.

The Xerox 650/1300 can print up to 1,308 duplex 8.5" x 11" images per minute. The system uses dry toner, xerographic imaging and flash-fusing technology - a unique process that does not use heat or pressure or make contact with the paper, allowing the device to print on a wider array of substrates than competitive systems. It is part of an array of offerings that Xerox will bring to drupa, May 29 - June 11, showcasing how graphic communications companies can expand their businesses and profit from growth opportunities in digital printing.

"drupa is the Olympics of the graphic communications industry and we'll have a gold medal performance," said Quincy Allen, president, Xerox Production Systems Group. "We'll stand out as the industry's leader for the most advanced technology, widest range of offerings, and opportunities for print providers to profit by exceeding the needs of their customers."

A drupa preview

As the industry adapts to clients' needs for more environmentally sustainable approaches to printing, Xerox is highlighting its heritage as an environmental leader and as the company of choice that helps print providers "green" their offerings. To demonstrate its decades-long commitment to sustainability, Xerox is integrating green aspects into its 3,500 square-meter booth at drupa. The exhibit is built with environmentally friendly materials, including energy-saving lighting and re-usable components.

"We operate in an industry that puts marks on pages and, therefore, our business inherently impacts the environment," added Allen. "However, there are ways to minimize this impact through technological advancements and smarter work processes. At Xerox, we've practiced environmental stewardship long before it was popular to do so and our business has benefited as a result. At drupa and through ongoing outreach with graphic arts customers, we're helping the industry work differently so that the impact on the environment is less and the benefit to their business is more."

The company will focus on three key areas at drupa to highlight its competitive advantages in the digital printing marketplace and how customers benefit from Xerox's advanced offerings including:

- accelerated innovation in technologies, workflow solutions and business development services. Xerox's advanced digital printing technology, business development services and workflow solutions enable the just-in-time production of brochures, catalogs, statements, books, packaging and other collateral that can be customized for an audience from one to thousands. Xerox will also use the event as a platform to look back at Xerox's five decades of market-making innovations and to leap forward with glimpses of future ground-breaking technologies, including environmentally friendly innovations.

- industry-leading partnerships and profitable, productive applications such as direct marketing pieces, photo books and photo specialty, packaging, and specialty imaging for secure documents.

- the opportunities for the commercial print market to become more eco-friendly through technology, toner, inks and paper that can reduce waste, decrease energy use and preserve the world's forests.

Among spotlighted innovation, Xerox will feature its expanding portfolio of continuous feed systems including the Xerox 650/1300.

A versatile and valuable printing system

The Xerox 650/1300 is a natural fit for publishing applications such as books and manuals. New high-speed technology and a streamlined workflow yield the high productivity customers need, while sharp text and graphics ensure the professional look and feel readers expect. Xerox's patented Print Line Management helps operators view, manage and respond to every component in the print line from any print engine's touch-screen interface.

Maximum resolution is 1200 x 600 dpi and an optional Xerox FreeFlow DocuSP print controller is also available. The system also features a wide print web that enables flexible imposition so users can print more efficiently and reduce costs and paper waste.

"The monochrome market continues to be a solid revenue generator for our customers and Xerox's advancements in continuous feed serve to help our customers ratchet up even more profitable growth," said Allen.

The Xerox 650/1300 Continuous Feed Printing System will be available for order taking immediately in Europe. In North America and developing markets, order taking will begin in the second quarter of this year. The Xerox 650/1300 will have a U.S. price of approximately $495,000 per engine.

At drupa, Xerox will also demonstrate the speed and flexibility of its 490/980 Color Continuous Feed Printing System, the fastest full-color toner-based continuous feed device. Unveiled in October of last year, the Xerox 490/980 prints at 600 dpi resolution and maintains top speed when printing full color or black and white, regardless of the number of colors used or the weight of the paper. It prints 226 feet per minute (69 meters) or 493 images per minute two-up, simplex on 8.5" x 11" paper, and 986 images per minute when in the duplex configuration.
The Xerox booth at drupa 2008 will be located in Hall 8b and is expected to be visited by more than 100,000 visitors during the 14-day event.

WhatTheyThink.com Senior Editor Cary Sherburne Comments:

At the pre-drupa media conference in Dusseldorf, Xerox shared some of the announcements it plans to make at drupa in three areas:  Workflow, business model and technology. Speakers also emphasized Xerox' long heritage of delivering sustainable solutions.
In terms of workflow, the company will continue to focus on its FreeFlow digital workflow collection, with enhancements across the board.   New to the Collection is the Xerox FreeFlow Print Server with JPEG Plug-In, designed to help printers capitalize on the burgeoning photo printing market, by printing raw JPEG files without having to do file conversion or processing in a separate photo applicaiton.   This will be first unveiled at the upcoming PMA show.  The company is also increasingly focused on integrated digital/offset workflows that enhance the complementary nature of offset and digital printing technologies, quite a shift from its position in 2000 where it often stated publicly that digital would supplant offset.
In the area of business models, Xerox has been a leader in providing these tools to its customers, with over 75 tools it has made available over the last eight years.  New to the mix at drupa will be a value-based pricing kit  to help customers price appropriately for the value-add and higher margin applications enabled by their digital services as they migrate to marketing services companies. Building on the photo market opportunity, the company will also make available the Xerox Picture Me Profitable Kit, including a display book for counter use with samples of various photo applications that customers of photo and retail outlets can create with their own digital photos.
The big announcement with respect to technology was the Xerox 650/1300 CF.  This is a new monochrome continuous feed product that takes advantage of the considerable monochrome market opportunity that still exists.  It will print at 1232 duplex A4 images per minute (300 feet per minute), the fastest printer in the Xerox portfolio. It uses dry toner and flash fusing (using light instead of heat), that enables printing on a wider array of substrates. This printer is available immediately for order-taking in Europe and will be available later in the rest of the world.  This is added to the color continuous feed printer announced in October of last year, the Xerox 490/980 Color Continuous Feed printer. A new release of iGen3 software will also be previewed at drupa, upgraded to include new color profiling capabilities with GRACoL standard compliance.
Xerox also announced an expanded partnership with FujiFilm in Europe, building on the work the two companies have been doing in North America. Val Blauvelt also indicated that the company has inkjet development projects underway, but downplayed its immediate importance to the marketplace, indicating that Xerox will be entering the inkjet market with innovative products when the market is ready.  Some technology demonstrationswill be shown at drupa that take the technology beyond the capabilities of today's high speed aqueous inkjet solutions.

You can read more from Cary Sherburne at WhatTheyThink.com.