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DIGITAL digest

April 2008

More New Releases

HP had a significant presence at On Demand, even though within a week it was to hold its own pre-Drupa press event in Israel. There, it previewed the HP Ink-jet Web Press, operating at 400 fpm, which is slated for availability in summer 2009, and the HP Indigo 7000, a cut-sheet printer outputting up to 120 ppm, available this June.

When “the market is ready” continues to be Xerox Corp.’s answer about its plans to offer an ink-jet document printing solution. In the meantime, the company sees further potential for continuous-feed printing platforms that use toner and flash fusing. It had the Xerox 495 printer running on the show floor, but remains on track to introduce the higher speed (1,308 ipm) Xerox 650/1300 monochrome series later this year.

Xerox DocuColor products were also once again on display in the Fujifilm Graphic Systems U.S.A. booth under the business partnership between the two companies.

Xeikon is also pushing back against the surge of ink-jet and suggested that announcements at its solo event scheduled for later in the month might significantly raise the bar for performance of toner-based color print engines.

Under a “coming this fall” sign, Ricoh Americas previewed its Pro C900/C900s color printers that output 90 ppm at up to a maximum 1,200 dpi resolution. The line will be formally launched at Drupa.

InfoPrint Solutions touted its new TransPromo Solutions suite, which featured a version of the InfoPrint 5000 color ink-jet press enhanced with Advanced Function Printing (AFP) standard support, new software solutions and the launch of its TransPromo Consulting Practice to help customers transition their transactional documents into marketing vehicles. To implement the capability, the InfoPrint IBM (Intelligent Mail Barcode) Utility was also introduced.

MGI has been previewing the next generation—Meteor DP60—of its color digital press for printing on paper or plastic substrates. Set to launch at Drupa, this model ups the product line’s speed to 3,900 sph. In Boston, the company also showed its UVarnish off-line coater designed to apply a UV coating over toner.

Digital printing has always been more about production systems than engines, as best exemplified by the various book lines/factories. Finishing is an integral part of the process, as was very evident by the number of solutions shown in Boston, including some new product introductions.

MBO America unveiled a new modular, tabletop folder line, called Foldmaster, which is designed for on-demand and smaller finishing environments. Solutions can be configured with automated or manual buckle folders and knife folders, sheet feeders, and creasing and perforating units. They’re available with two or four fold plates.

Offering coating capabilities continues to be a trend in the digital finishing arena. Duplo USA has introduced the Ultra 205A UV coater, an automatic unit with adjustable metering roller speed, which is also being offered by Fujifilm. The company also previewed the high-speed DSF-5000 sheet feeder and finisher that operates at speeds up to 400 sheets per minute (spm), and showed the new DC-445 creaser (processing up to 50 spm) and DP-C110 desktop duplicator (rated for 130 ppm).

xpedx demonstrated a RSC UV coater from FMA Inc. and a C.P. Bourg BB3002 perfect binder being used to finish sheets from the Ryobi 3404E-DI digital offset press. xpedx is now a national distributor of the RSC off-line coater. On the all-digital front, it expanded its “pay-per-click” equipment acquisition program to include new variable data printing software options and training.

Strong “Finishers”

Standard Finishing Systems launched the Standard Horizon HCM/HCP-1 case binding system for short-run hardcover book production. In addition, the company showed the recently released Standard Horizon CCD-VAC image checking system and the IM-20 in-line sheet inserter. Also on the show floor was the new Standard Hunkeler CS6-II rotary cutter that’s rated to run at up to 600 fpm.

Featuring the new RSF5 folder, Lasermax Roll Systems had the RS Fanfold HS system running in its booth and down the aisle in the Océ booth. The bulk fanfolding solution processes pinless or pinfed paper at speeds up to 700 fpm in-line with continuous-feed printers.

Workflow software is also a critical component of the system. The trend is toward greater integration at the product and company levels.

Presstek Inc. has signed an agreement with Press-sense to offer iWay Web-to-print and Manager business software. The Web-to-print software is offered in ASP and self-hosted configurations.

In a similar arrangement, RISO Inc. has become a reseller of Objectif Lune’s PlanetPress and PrintShop Mail software as solutions for variable data printing and Web-to-print in combination with its HC5500 ink-jet color printer.

Completing the press trifecta, Canon U.S.A is now offering Printable Technologies’ FusionPro Web-to-print solutions. Printable released two new products at the show: Fusion Pro Links 2.5 personalized URL software with a new campaign-centric workflow and an Intelligent Forms feature for FusionPro Web that enables users to customize data entry forms.

Avanti Computer Systems’ MIS system now integrates with Pageflex Storefront Web-to-print software to enable transfer of job data between the systems.

EFI has done the same thing internally by enabling native integration of its PrintSmith Print MIS system with the Digital StoreFront Web-to-print solution.

Interfacing of a different sort was on tap from interlinkONE Inc., as it hosted a User Group meeting during On Demand. Its ilinkONE software supports the production of personalized, variable data marketing from creation through fulfillment and response tracking.

XMPie’s Marketplace is a new Website the company has launched as an online resource to connect with users. It features a library of professionally designed uImage templates available to facilitate creation of personalized marketing materials.

As digital printing becomes more commonplace, users are getting more demanding about substrate options. In response to this trend, Mohawk Fine Papers has relaunched the Beckett Cambric grade as a textured linen paper suitable for digital printing by giving it the i-Tone treatment.

This sustainable paper (FSC certified and manufactured with wind- generated energy) is being offered in new colors, heavier weights and more cut sizes.

UPM-Kymmene is now bringing the UPM DIGI paper line to North America. It includes coated and uncoated fine paper, magazine and newspaper grades.

Boise Paper featured its new HD:P (high-definition paper) line. The acid-free paper is available in a variety of weights and sizes. In addition, Boise is offering a new Fireworx line of color papers, Aspen recycled grades, X-9 multi-purpose paper and Beware security products.

More On Demand product announcements appear in the New Product section of this magazine.

Mark Smith



HP Users Get ‘Dscoop’ on The Future

SAN DIEGO—Within less than three years of its establishment, the Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop) has hit the 2,000 member mark, according to Dscoop Chairman Todd Kalagher, who is also president of Finlay Printing, Bloomfield, CT. Kalagher highlighted the Hewlett-Packard user group’s rapid growth in his opening address at the recent 2008 Dscoop Annual Conference, just the third such event.

This year’s conference drew some 1,200 attendees, a 65 percent increase from 2007, according to Chris Petro, 2008 conference chair and Dscoop chairman elect, as well as president and CEO of GlobalSoft Digital Solutions in Mahwah, NJ. The agenda featured 60 educational sessions in four tracks (multi-disciplinary business practices, business and sales, technical topics, and labels and packaging applications).

The sold-out Solutions Center offered presentations from 56 vendors. Substrates were prominent, along with Web-to-print and variable data solutions.

To celebrate its success, the group bestowed the first annual Jack Glacken Award to its namesake, Jack Glacken, who was among the founders of Dscoop and served as its first chairman.

“This is humbling and flattering, but it was the whole team (that made Dscoop a success),” commented Glacken, who is president of Today’s Graphics in Philadelphia.

Continuing the teamwork theme, the keynote address was given by Mike Eruzione, captain of the U.S. hockey team that beat the then Soviet Union in the “Miracle on Ice” during the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY. Exactly 28 years to the day of that pivotal game in the gold medal run, Eruzione discussed how teamwork can surmount even daunting obstacles.

HP showed two HP Indigo presses (5500 and ws4500) at work in the Solutions Center and highlighted the range of its large-format ink-jet printing capabilities by running an HP Scitex XL1500 super-wide printer and two Designjets (Z6100 and Z3100). Wide-format work is a natural business extension for digital printing companies, asserted Rudy Herrera, HP’s print service provider segment manager.

“All of their customers are buying large-format somewhere. It is a profitable business with good margins,” he said.

Bringing in more digital work is what the HP Capture business success program is all about. New elements launched in San Diego included a “2008 Capture on the Road” training tour, new and upgraded business development tools available online through the Dscoop member Website, and a new HP Capture contest, which will recognize print service providers that have achieved noteworthy success using these tools.

Friday’s conference sessions focused on the HP Capture program, with five customers sharing how they’ve implemented certain elements. In his presentation, Larry Vaughn, president of Ideal Printers in Houston, suggested putting marketing messages on quotes, invoices and other client communications, including reorder information on the inside of shrink-wrapped packages. Vaughn said his company has found that customer “lunch and learn” sessions are valuable and has used personalized URLs in its own marketing program.

“We did $60,000 worth of business from our first mailing, which drew a 32 percent response,” he reported. Vaughn further confided that the redesign done for its second effort drew a poor response, but the response rate jumped up again when the company went back to a simple design.

In a session on Web 2.0, Lance Loveday, president of Closed Loop Marketing in Roseville, CA, offered a primer on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). “SEO is not that easy, but all businesses should be doing it and also using paid keyword searches,” he advised.

On the final day, attendees heard reports from HP executives, including Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, HP Indigo Digital Press Div. In 2007, HP Indigo achieved a 50 percent share of the digital color production press market, he noted, with the company having installed more than 4,500 presses to date and expecting to top 5,000 units by year’s end.

Noel Jeffrey
 

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