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.
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.