Digital Printing & Workflow : Exhibitors Cop an App-itudeOctober 2009 By Mark Smith
IN THE digital arena, putting greater emphasis on applica- tions and business development tools has been a growing trend among trade show exhibitors for some time. PRINT 09 kicked it up more than a notch, as the current business climate had exhibitors reducing their outlay by displaying less equipment and responding to the greater focus at printing operations on cutting costs and building sales.
One thing that was noticeably different this year was the broad based and unapologetic talk of digital printing capabilities now being a replacement for offset. Vendors previously had been careful to position digital and offset printing as complementary.
Along with product introductions, the news from the show included a number of high-profile business deals and installation announcements. HP alone was part of three headlines.
• Pitney Bowes launched a new production color printing system for high-volume transactional mailers, the IntelliJet printing system, that incorporates the HP T300 thermal ink-jet press driven by Pitney Bowes' Production Intelligence software and feeding its mail finishing system. T300 is the formal name that has been given to HP's Inkjet Web Press now that it is commercially available.
• RR Donnelley is also teaming up with HP on the ink-jet front, forming a technology alliance to develop digital printing solutions. They initially will focus on an ink-jet MICR printing solution to be offered as an option for the HP T300 press.
• Bradford & Bigelow, a book manufacturer based in Newburyport, MA, signed a deal to purchase an HP Indigo W7200 webfed digital press and SmartStream Product Pro print server for its Digital Book Factory operation. The press, which went into commercial release at the show, features an in-line priming station to enable printing on standard offset stocks at speeds to 240 letter-sized pages per minute (ppm) in color and 960 ppm, monochrome.
While he was not yet free to share many of the details, Screen (USA) President Mike Fox offered a teaser about a deal to install $25 million worth of Screen ink-jet (document and wide-format) and digital offset presses during the next six months in multiple locations of a new company being launched to provide short-run, distributed digital printing services in the United States. He also said that Trueflow SE version 7.0, which features a new imposition solution and improved integration with third-party systems, would probably be the last major upgrade of the system until the Equios/Equiosnet workflow concept is released.