Digital Printing Dominates at Print 17

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Once again digital printing dominated the show. Booths from Xerox, HP, Canon, Konica Minolta/MGI, Ricoh, Screen and Fujifilm were prominent. And offset stalwart Komori was showing off the Impressia I29, their version of the Accurio KM-1, a B2 digital inkjet press. Graphic Systems North America (GSNA) brought the only offset press (RMGT Series 9 LED UV Press) to the show.

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In addition to walking the floor, I had the chance to attend numerous press conferences to hear about what’s happening.  Here are the highlights:

Xerox was showing off its investment in inkjet technology. They had customers talking about their experiences with the Trivor 2400, Brenva, and Rialto on the show floor. The Trivor 2400 is a rollfed digital inkjet press that can print on standard uncoated offset stocks at 1200 dpi using their new High Fusion ink set. The target market is high quality direct mail, catalogs and publications. Brenva and Rialto are more suited to applications that run on uncoated stocks.

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In addition to their inkjet products, Xerox was demonstrating white toner printing on the iGen5, and very cool specialty printing applications that can be done with CMYK on their toner presses (no 5th station needed).  For more information on these applications, check out the upcoming PODi webinar at 2 pm ET on September 27th. Register here.

There are some folks in the industry that really get it and HP’s Alon Bar-Shany is one of them. His knowledge of the industry is extremely deep and his vision for Indigo is appealing.  After having done the largest refresh of their product line for drupa HP wasn’t talking much about new products, rather they were touting their huge successes. Caslon estimates there are over 700 B2 digital presses in the production market worldwide and HP has sold 600 of them. The 600th sale went to American Litho and was announced in the press conference. And then they had the COO of Shutterfly (Dwayne Black) on hand while they showed a video in which he proclaimed they are now an exclusive Indigo shop. Great marketing.

And the PageWide side of the business was equally compelling. Eric Weisner shared the tremendous page volume growth on their presses, now over 250 billion pages with a run rate of over 60 billion pages per year. He talked about the new HDNA technology and new opportunities for high speed combined with high quality. And they topped it off by announcing a huge long term deal to supply 24 presses to Lightning Source. Again great marketing.

Kevin Kern of Konica Minolta talked about the new Accurio 6100/6085 digital color cutsheet presses that come with inline spectrophotometers that enable higher quality output. He noted the first sales of the Accurio KM-1 in the US, KM’s B2 cutsheet inkjet press. Next up was Kevin Abergel, VP of Sales for MGI. (Konica Minolta holds a large stake in MGI). The KM/MGI strategy is to use 4 color printing as the base and then add value on top of the base. MGI’s Jet Varnish/Foil products provide digital enhancement (raised print, foil, etc.) and they have lots of research going on in functional printing. Abergel spoke of MGI’s ability to print circuitry with technologies that include nano conductive inks and OLED printing. One of the applications they are researching is to be able to print RFID antennas cost effectively on packaging. The result would be a grocery store without cashiers.  Another example is packaging that can be embedded with lights. Very cool technology and a new market opportunity on the horizon.

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Fujifilm’s big announcement was a distribution agreement with Xerox. Xerox tiger teams will sell the digital color B2 cutsheet press, the J Press 720, while Fujifilm will add Xerox inkjet products to their portfolio. They indicated there are now over 100 J Press 720’s installed worldwide, with about 25 in the US.

Fujifilm is partnering with Heidelberg on a B1 digital cutsheet press for the folding carton market.  Rollout will be in Europe first and the product won’t be available in the US for about a year.

Canon was touting a number of products including the 100 ppm digital color press, the ImagePRESS C10000VP, their newest continuous feed inkjet press for the high quality market – the ProStream, new inks for the i300 digital cutsheet inkjet press, the latest black and white press – 6000 TITAN series, their revolutionary wide format product – Colorado 1640, and a B2 cutsheet inkjet press called the Voyager, which is scheduled to be released in the 2nd half of 2018 (Mock up shown below). Also they have a new series of color management and workflow products for their PRISMA DFE’s.

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Big news is that the longtime leader of the continuous feed and wide format businesses, Mal Baboyian, is retiring at the end of the year.  He’s another guy that really gets it. I’ll miss hearing from him.

Ricoh is steadily building an impressive portfolio of products and solutions for the Commercial Printing markets and they were showing off their top products. Their two new continuous feed presses the VC60000 and the VC40000 were on display. The VC60000 targets the high quality, coated stock market; whereas the VC40000 (successor to the very popular InfoPrint 5000) is more suited to the direct mail, transactional, and publishing markets. Ricoh had their top digital color and mono cutsheet presses at the show – the C9110, C7110 and the Pro 8220. The C7110 has a 5th color station that can run clear, white, neon yellow, and now neon pink giving PSPs a new revenue stream at a very attractive price point. Also in the booth was a hybrid wide format press, manufactured by EFI and being distributed by Ricoh as they expand their wide format portfolio as well.

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EFI’s press conference had tremendous appeal as we all wanted to hear the story behind EFI’s revenue recognition issues, which caused the stock to nose dive this last summer. CEO Guy Gecht was on hand to take us through the process. The basic issue was revenue recognition on sales of equipment when the installation was delayed to a time well after the order was placed. After learning that there was a potential problem with the current reporting they hired lots of extra outside accountants to dig into all the transactions that occurred over the last several years. The outcome was that while some processes needed to be changed the overall impact on revenue recognition was negligible.

On the product front, their big new product is the Nozomi C18000, which is an inkjet cutsheet press for corrugated printing. Although not on display at the show as this is aimed at the packaging market and POP markets, the first install was in Spain at Hinojosa, the second is in Ireland at McGowan’s Print, the third is going to Complete Design & Packaging in the US and the fourth is being built.

Also announced was the new Fiery FS 300 Pro Command Workstation 6 which is designed to drive presses across sheet-fed, high-speed continuous feed, B1 folding carton, and corrugated digital-production printing systems, as well as Command WorkStation 6. This release has a completely redesigned Command WorkStation and over 41,000 customers have already upgraded to this version.

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And finally Duplo had a good crowd around their demonstration of their new digital embellishment product the DDC-810 Raised Spot UV Coater. It does raised print embellishment and is designed and priced for smaller volume shops than the MGI Jet Varnish or Scodix products. The price of the unit lists for $160K and running costs vary with thickness of the print and coverage from 3 to 10 cents per 12”x18” sheet.

For more info on all the inkjet presses on display at the show and for updates from Xerox and XMPie be sure to attend the free upcoming PODi webinar at 2 pm ET on Sept 27th. Register here.

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