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DIGITAL digest

September 2003
Scitex Is Jetting to New Heights

DAYTON, OH—Jet technology was the common theme of a two-day customer open house and press briefing held recently by Scitex Digital Printing. The company talked ink-jets on the first day, then treated attendees to a day at the Vectren Dayton Air Show on the second.

Having been a developer of continuous ink-jet technology for more than 30 years, Scitex recently has become a player in the DOD (drop-on-demand) marketplace, too. According to the manufacturer, use of a single ink supply for the six jetting arrays in the printhead is what sets its DOD systems apart.

The company also has become more globally focused, with overseas sales now accounting for the majority of its revenue. The portion coming from the Americas reportedly has dropped from 61 percent down to 38 percent. If its narrow and page-wide format systems are combined, Scitex claims to have more than 5,000 customers and a total of 10,000 system installations worldwide.

The briefing's agenda included a look ahead, with special focus on what Scitex is calling its "Next Generation" technology, according to Kazem Samandari, vice president of global marketing and product management. The company is aiming toward a Drupa 2004 official launch of a page-wide (currently 8.97˝), color system offering a 300x1,200 dpi resolution and maximum print speed of 1,500 fpm (monochrome at 300x300 dpi). The manufacturer is moving from a 44 pl (picoleter) drop size to 15 pl with this technology. It says offset quality is in the 8 pl range.

More near-term, Scitex is planning to introduce a low-cost, black-and-white system at Xplor 2003, the company exec notes. The printer reportedly will be targeted primarily to data center applications.

Also said to be in the works is the System Controller 600 front end based on EFI Fiery technology. Its proposed feature set includes color management with ICC profiles, job management tools, and support for PPML, VPS, PDF, PS and EPS data formats.

From an applications standpoint, the company is exploring opportunities in packaging, bindery and newspapers, Samandari reveals. Convergence of transaction/statement applications and direct mail is the story for today, he adds.

Speaking as a Scitex user, Jim Hackett, vice president of business development at SourceLink in Andover, MA, offered a first-hand account of the current opportunities in digital printing. Hackett has identified five ideas for how digital printing users can create greater value for their organizations.

1) Look beyond CPM (cost per thousand). "Look at cost per sale, instead," he suggests. Program efficiency and effectiveness are important benefits, Hackett asserts.

2) Embrace new technology. Four-color, variable-data printing is just the starting point, Hackett argues. Using e-mail messages in combination with printed direct mailings can dramatically boost responses, for example.

3) Create new revenue streams. Variable content, full color, better image quality and production flexibility can be exploited to reduce costs and/or offer revenue opportunities—if users fundamentally rethink their communications, Hackett says.

4) Invent new partnerships. Non-traditional communications, such as motor vehicle registration programs, can provide marketing opportunities because of their targeted audiences.

5) Be a strategic applications specialist. Operational costs can be turned into sales revenue. Adding marketing messages to billing statements is the classic example, he concludes.

NexPress Unveils Programs to Educate Print Providers

ROCHESTER, NY—NexPress Solutions LLC is launching a new series of programs that's designed to help commercial printers take full advantage of the potential of digital color printing. According to the company, the training sessions and consulting services are intended to help press operators, print designers and print buyers gain additional skills and knowledge on topics such as variable-data printing, Web-to-print fulfillment, database development and workflow productivity.

The first program to be offered—"FastStart VDP Solutions"—focuses on variable-data printing (VDP). The two days of training are provided on-site at the press user's location and covers topics such as preparing and managing VDP projects, workflow, and database and mailing requirements. It is available immediately in North America. (www.nexpress.com)

Screen (USA) Launches Print Ordering System

ROLLING MEADOWS, IL—Screen (USA) has unveiled Eorder, an online system designed to automate and streamline the print-ordering process. The turnkey software application allows printers to incorporate Web-based document customization, ordering and content approval into their existing systems.

Via a secure Website, authorized customers can place orders using a browser interface. Information about current and previous jobs can be accessed and sorted, facilitating accurate reordering of printed materials, the company claims. The system supports the designation of multiple printer sites, as well as multiple customers, with e-mail job status notification to users.

Job templates are provided in QuarkXPress for both PC/Windows and Macintosh platforms. Print buyers also can preview PDFs of individual jobs for online editing and content approval. Approved orders are output as print-ready PDFs. (www.screenusa.com)
 

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