Four Way Battle for Light Production Color Market

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In my last two blog articles (click here) I discussed the heavy and mid-duty cycle segments of the color digital printing market. Now let’s take a look at the light production duty cycle segment, which has print engines that print up to 100K simplex, letter size impressions per month.  The following print engines are included: Xerox C60, C70 and Versant 80, Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1060 and C1070, Canon ImagePRESS C700/C800 and IR Advance Pro C9270/C9280, and Ricoh Pro C5100/C5110 and Pro C651EX/C751EX.

light production presses

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New Features on Ricoh Pro C7110X Drive Mid-Range Color Digital Press Market

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In my last blog article (click here)  I discussed the heavy duty cycle segment of the color digital printing market. Now let’s take a look at the mid duty cycle segment, which has print engines that can routinely print between 100K and 300K simplex, letter size impressions per month and the print engines run at rated speed on heavy stock.  The following print engines are included: Xerox Versant 2100, Konica Minolta bizhub Press C1085 and C1100, Canon C7011VP and C6011VP, and Ricoh Pro C901+ and Pro C7110X. Read the rest of this entry »

One Printer’s Method to Successfully Grow Business with Marketing Portals

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


Walter_Payne_116The other day I had an interview with Walter Payne, who is the CEO of ImageMark Business Services, Inc. What a fascinating conversation! As you can imagine, I’ve spoken to dozens of people from print and marketing services providers who’ve installed web portals and, usually, they’re happy with them but are often struggling to get them to drive significant volumes. Compare that to ImageMark which has MarcomCentral portals up and running at over forty-four stores with over six-thousand active users who submit four hundred to a thousand jobs a day! I had to ask what his secrets were:

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See Impossible at the Canon Analyst & Media Event

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


One CanonLast week I had the pleasure of attending Canon’s #canonsummit media and analyst event in Melville, NY and I’d like to share my key takeaways from that event. Don’t worry, I’m not going to drag you through four hours of PowerPoint slides, but they did have an important message about their “One Canon” strategy which is worth sharing for people interested in doing business with that company. Before I begin though, I just have to say that if Canon treats their customers with the same thoroughness and care that they used to plan and deliver this event, then they really do put being a customer-driven organization at the top of their priority list. It was an awesome event.

And that really is the core of their strategic vision. They have a vast array of products ranging from consumer products like their EOS Rebel T5i digital camera which I have, to professional camera lenses like the ones that 70% of the Olympic photographers used, to massive production presses like the i300. But, as great as these may be, they are products and Canon is redefining its marketing and organization to align with what their customers need to do rather than just the products they need to buy.

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Ricoh Pro C9110 and Canon imagePRESS C10000VP Off to a Fast Start

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A couple years ago I wrote about the remarkable history of Indigo, iGen and NexPress in the high end digital cutsheet market. The “Big Three” have been the favorite choice among printers since 2002. In my previous blog article I wrote that the forthcoming challenge from inkjet will likely have a big impact on this segment of the market and I still think it will, but in the meantime two new toner-based products are having a bigger impact: the Ricoh Pro C9100/C9110 and the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP/C8000VP.

Both of these products are selling well in the market today.

heavy duty cutsheet engines

 

The bubble chart shows the relationship between price and speed for the products in this category. And the size of the bubble is representative of duty cycle – the larger the diameter, the more impressions per month are possible.

There is a fairly linear relationship for price and speed for the Big Three and the new B2 inkjet presses from Fujifilm and Konica Minolta. The B3 size inkjet presses from Canon (VarioPrint i300) and Xerox (Brenva HD) have a lower price for the same speed, but these two products don’t have the same image quality as the Big Three, hence the price discount.

The first thing I noticed about the Ricoh and Canon products was that they are the most affordable, being priced in the $250K to $300K range. Pricing is on par with the Xerox 1000/800 line. And the second thing I noticed was the duty cycle is lower than the comparable speed options from the Big Three, which accounts for the price discount. The Ricoh C9100 series has a maximum monthly volume of 1.75 million simplex letter size pages per month and can run 1 million per month on a regular basis. And the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP has a maximum monthly volume of 1.5 million simplex letter size pages per month and can run 450K per month on a regular basis.  A number of companies have looked at the duty cycles and pricing and have decided to purchase two of the presses and still save money versus the Big Three.

So why are these two new presses selling so well? Their customers are reporting that these presses offer outstanding image quality, the ability to run heavy stocks and a variety of stocks, and are proving to be very reliable.

Both presses offer offset like image quality. The Canon imagePRESS C10000VP offers 2400×2400 dpi and the Ricoh Pro C9100 produces 1200×4800 dpi using the latest VCSEL technology. Both offer inline color calibration to ensure consistency during long runs. Canon offers a Gloss optimization technology to match gloss levels of the printed image to the substrate it is printed on.  And Ricoh offers industry leading front to back registration.

Both presses are productive with Ricoh offering models that run 130 ppm or 110 ppm and the Canon models run at 100 ppm and 80 ppm.

Both presses run heavy stocks at rated speed. The Ricoh press runs 400 gsm and Canon runs 350 gsm on a wide variety of stocks including textured media and supported specialty media including vellum, film and synthetics. In addition, the Ricoh C9110 can run a long sheet 13”x27.5” which provides additional flexibility for items such as 6 panel brochures. And at drupa there was a demonstration of the integration of the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP with a BDT VX-Series feeder to provide a banner printing option of up to 30”.

Both presses offer operator replaceable parts which greatly improves uptime. And Ricoh even offers an uptime guarantee where they refund service dollars if uptime performance levels are not achieved.

While inkjet technology is the future, the current toner based products are delivering the best overall value for majority of the printing organizations today. And the two of the newest toner-based products in this category are finding success.

Are offset press sales leveling off?

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The last several years have been extremely difficult for offset press manufacturers. Driven by electronic substation, short run economics, and continued uptake in personalization press sales have declined dramatically.  But are we at the bottom of that decline or is this just the calm before the storm?

To try to get a handle on sales of offset presses I did some research and looked at revenue figures for sheetfed and web offset press sales from 2008 to 2015 for the leading manufacturers. (Services and other revenue streams were not counted) For sheetfed I totaled up revenues from Heidelberg, KBA, manroland and Komori. And for web offset I looked at figures from Goss, KBA, manroland, and Komori.  The manroland and Goss figures from 2008 and 2009 are estimates as press sales figures were hard to break out. Read the rest of this entry »

Color Management Gets Real

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


Xerox Automated Color Management Screen2016 seems to be the year when the industry has stopped just talking about color management and started making it happen in the real world. All the major vendors have launched solutions focused on making color management easy and affordable enough for everyone to do. It all sounds good in the pitches, but some of these solutions have been around long enough for us to hear how customers are actually using them and how real-life situations have driven new product capabilities.

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Inkjet presses set to capture more offset volumes

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | 1 Comment »

For those companies producing digital printing presses with the goal of creating digital technologies that can replace the current analog printing technologies, whether it be offset, flexography or gravure there’s the old saying “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.” The first bite into offset volumes came from digital presses that use electro-photographic principles to transfer toner or liquid ink to the page. The main applications are short run static and short to medium run personalized work. It took many years for the image quality to rival offset, but it is there now. Substrate flexibility issues have been resolved.  And the capabilities in terms of gamut, spot colors, and special finishes continue to improve and cover more applications than ever before.  But the technology has limitations in terms of speed and costs. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Xerox really going to purchase RR Donnelley?

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | 1 Comment »

Having just come back from drupa where Xerox had a press conference in which Ursula Burns and Jeff Jacobson spoke about the benefits of splitting Xerox into two companies, specifically how it would allow Xerox to focus on the market for selling copiers and production presses I was really surprised to hear Xerox is thinking about buying the largest printer in the US.  Guess that “focus idea” is overrated.

Now I’m not privy to any of the details so I can’t really comment on if this is a good deal or not, price plays the key role in any deal.  But here are some of the leading reasons for a merger/acquisition

  • Synergy
  • Growth
  • Increasing market power
  • Acquiring unique capabilities or resources
  • Unlocking hidden value

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A New Way to Manage All Your Digital Presses

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


NavigatorI often write about solutions which automate production processes but it is important to also consider ways to efficiently manage manage printing operations as well. One common set of challenges in-plants and commercial printers face revolves around tracking and managing their presses and digital front ends. While that might sound mundane, ensuring that all software and patches are up-to-date, that media catalogs and color management profiles are consistent, and knowing when and where machines are performing or are having issues can be a huge time sink. It’s rough enough with just one facility but it becomes a nightmare if you manage multiple sites or are an in-plant managing a fleet of printers.

I recently reviewed a new solution from EFI called Fiery Navigator which addresses these challenges.

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