GE07: Digital Printing — Applications Being Taken
ONE OF the promotional pieces sent out by the sponsors of Graph Expo made the claim that this year’s event would be the largest digital printing show in the United States by a factor of two. That’s including solutions for page printing, wide-format printing, software and related equipment.
Tuesday was designated “Customer & Marketing Communications Day,” which was supposed to put a special focus on transpromotional printing applications that combine direct marketing with statements/transactional mail. Several digital press vendors did highlight this developing market during their press briefings, and GMC Software had a good-sized booth, but this application was still easy to miss around the show floor.
It’s not yet clear to what extent commercial printers are in a position to—or want to—stake a claim to the business. Hardware vendors see potential for the same color printing systems to produce transpromo and graphic arts applications, but traditional statement printing is extremely cost-sensitive and puts a premium on throughput so output from systems optimized for print quality may be a tougher sell. On the software side, specialized applications typically are used along with the variable data solutions found in digital print shops.
Additionally, in-plants/CRDs, statement service bureaus and mailing services providers are all potentially vying with commercial printers to own this market.
This dynamic is behind Océ’s introduction of the ColorStream 10000, which is based on the same continuous-feed print engine as the manufacturer’s VS9000 series, but has been optimized for graphic arts applications and prints at 172 ipm in process color. Advanced algorithms, GraphicArts dot modulation and other enhancements are used to produce smooth gradations, crisp graphics and other printing improvements. The high-quality model is projected to begin shipping before the end of first quarter 2008, while the VS9000 series will continue to be offered for other applications, including transpromo.