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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.

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