Great Options for Larger Sheet Size Color Digital Presses

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

Image quality is always the first criterion when Printers are selecting a new digital press, because if you can’t sell the output it’s not a viable option.  But not far behind are factors including substrate flexibility, sheet size, productivity, reliability, service and costs (both capital and operating).

Sheet size continues to be key factor in many purchase decisions.  The most common sheet size remains 12”x18” (or 11”x17”), but larger sheet sizes have 2 very important benefits:

  1. Ability to produce more applications.
  2. Lower cost per piece

In today’s ultra-competitive market every printer is looking to capture as much revenue as possible. Larger sheet sizes enable the production of six panel brochures, dust jackets, book covers, pocket folders, maps, calendars, and oversize direct mail pieces to name a few. While demand for these products may not fill the capacity of the machine they typically provide additional volume with good margins.  It’s not business card work.

Larger sheet sizes typically result in lower cost per piece.   Often the printer can get more pieces up on the sheet and overall production costs decline.

The pioneers in larger sheet size for digital color cutsheet presses are the Xerox iGen line and the Kodak NexPress line. (This blog article is limited to digital color cutsheet presses.) These presses come standard with a 14”x20” sheet and expand to 26” for the iGen and 39” for the NexPress.  The larger sheet size has been a key advantage for iGen when competing against Indigo, until HP developed the Indigo 10000.

Now the largest sheet size on the market for digital color cutsheet is the B2 size sheet or a half size offset sheet.  The market leader in this category is the Indigo 10000 (20.9” x 29.5”) with hundreds of placements worldwide. Two B2 inkjet presses from Fujifilm J Press 720S (20.9” x 29.5”), Screen Truepress JetSX (20.8” x 29.1”) are in the market and Konica Minolta’s KM-1 (23″ x 29.5″) is coming soon.

MGI’s Meteor line of presses can run sheets up to 13”x47”.

Canon has a Tec Lighting long-Sheet feeder option for the imagePRESS C7011VP/C6011VP/C6011 models which enables simplex printing of stock that is 13”x26”.  This option was originally created for book printers for covers and dust jackets.

The newest long sheet products on the market are from Ricoh – the Pro C7100 series and the Pro C9100 series. On the Pro C7100 by using either the bypass tray or the unique vacuum-feed large capacity tray (LCIT) users can print 13”x 27.5” or 13”x 49”, simplex, on stocks up to 300 gsm.  And the Pro C9100 can print up to 13”x27.5”, duplex, on stocks up to 300 gsm.

Printers looking to take advantage of the new revenue opportunities and savings that go along with a larger sheet now have a nice range of product options to consider.

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