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Oc? Covers More Bases at 2003 Print Tour

August 2003
By Mark Smith

NEW YORK CITY—Océ Printing Systems USA played off the locale and "Major League Performance" theme in kicking off its "Performance Printing Tour 2003." Special guest speaker Jim Bouton, former major league pitcher and noted author, set a baseball-related theme for the event and attendees were given the chance to win tickets for the Yankees vs. Mets subway series.

Along with his entertaining anecdotes, Bouton stressed the value of perseverance, noting that "people don't fail, they just stop trying." To personalize the message, he recalled his experiences sitting on the bench in high school, being a non-scholarship walk-on player in college and pitching for batting practice in the minor leagues on the way to becoming a stand-out major league pitcher.

Bouton claims the key to success is finding value in the process and doing the work for its own sake. "I didn't set out to be a major league pitcher," he explains. "There are a lot of things you don't have control over that can impact the ability to achieve a goal. Focusing on the process, instead, increases your chances of success and presents opportunities."

One's definition of success also can change along the way, which is why flexibility, adaptability, versatility and creativity also are key to achieving it, Bouton points out.

Rab Govil, president of PODi (Print On Demand Initiative), picked up and ran with the ball by applying that advice to variable-data printing. He noted that when asked about the key to Wal-Mart's success, Sam Walton replied, "We just kept at it." Govil's underlyng message was that the industry needs to keep refining and getting better at the application of variable data.

PODi has amassed an archive of some 250 case studies of real-world, highly successful variable data projects, Govil points out. Write-ups on 125 of these case studies are featured in the organization's recently published "Best Practices in Digital Print, 3rd Edition" report. According to Govil, important findings from the report include:

* Variable data users should look to optimize existing touch points with customers.

* Message relevance, and not simple personalization, is what counts.

* Print and e-channel communications are not mutually exclusive.

* Flexibility and agility are of much higher value in a real-time enterprise.

Océ brought the event home by introducing the new VarioPrint 5000 family of cut-sheet, production-class digital print solutions. It has adapted the Quick Change Developer Station technology from its continuous-feed line of printers to offer greater flexibility in a cut-sheet machine. The technology is mated with two imaging units to give users the ability to switch between printing with black, Océ Custom Tone spot color and MICR dry inks, or any combinations thereof.

The VarioPrint 5115 has a maximum printing speed of 113 (8x10") images per minute and the VarioPrint 5160 tops out at 162 (8x10") ipm, both with a maximum 600 dpi resolution. The systems support up to an 11x17˝ sheet supplied by a four-drawer unit (second unit optional) with vacuum feed for improved sheet handling and greater substrate flexibility. Options reportedly still in the works for the back end include an in-line stitcher and four-drawer interposer for post-fuser sheet insertion.

The devices can be driven by the PRISMA family of workflow management software to currently encompass some 35 different modules to support a range of transactional and graphic arts/POD applications. The cross-vendor solution can also drive printers from other manufacturers, including IBM and Xerox.

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