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Digital Flexes Its Muscles

February 2003
The broader trend toward convergence in the digital printing segment also is evident at the product level. Black-and-white and color printing systems are being enhanced and expanded to meet the needs of corporate and commercial users alike. The trend is reflected in the capabilities and features of the latest product introductions from leading vendors.

To expand its market, Heidelberg introduced the Digimaster 9110m network imaging system that uses magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) toner and prints special fonts and characters. It said to enable data centers and transactional printing environments to also do print-on-demand work with normal toner by simply changing developer stations. The machine prints 110 pages per minute at 600 dpi.

Also new is the Digimaster 9150i print system that outputs 150 ppm at 600 dpi, and is said to maintain that rate speed even when in-line finishing equipment and other accessories are used. It offers an enhanced duty cycle of three to five million impressions per month, with a short, straight paper path for better paper handling.

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Xerox Corp. was one of the pioneers in tailoring similar hardware components into digital printing solutions for specific applications with its DocuTech and DocuPrint black-and-white product lines. The DocuColor brand has been applied across its color solutions, however.

The company recently introduced EA (emulsion aggregation) toner technology that is expected to play a big part in its future product directions. The DocuColor 3535 printer/copier represents just the second product to incorporate the technology. The mid-range system produces 35 pages (color or black-and-white) per minute at 600 dpi resolution. It handles sheet sizes up to 12x19˝ with use of a bypass tray. The system is driven by an EFI print controller that is designed to be upgradeable.

Emulsion aggregation technology is said to "grow" toner particles with well-defined shapes and smaller (three to five microns) sizes. The particles are incorporated into a wax-based formulation for oil-less fusing, thereby reducing energy and heat requirements. The technology reportedly puts 30 percent less toner on the sheet while improving line, text and image detail.

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According to Océ Printing Systems USA, its Adaptable Imaging Architecture (AIA) provides the flexibility to meet the needs of corporate and commercial print users. Its systems feature the ability to field upgrade their speed, resolution and front ends. The Océ VarioPrint 5000 cut-sheet product family offers print speeds of up to 155 images per minute at resolutions up to 600 dpi. The VarioStream 7000 line of continuous-forms printers is scalable to support prints speeds of up to nearly 1,300 images per minute with a maximum resolution of 600 dpi and 18.25˝ media width.


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