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Scitex Is Jetting To New Heights

September 2003
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 (that's drop-on-demand, not Department of Defense) marketplace, too.

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- (Dijit Passport and Liberty) and page-wide (VersaMark and Vantage) format systems are combined, Scitex claims to have more than 5,000 customers and 10,000 unit 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, global marketing and product management. The company is aiming toward a Drupa 2004 official launch of a page-wide color system offering a 300x1,200 dpi resolution and maximum print speed of 1,500 fpm (monochrome at 300x300 dpi). It is moving from a 44 pl (picoleter) drop size to 15 pl with this technology.

More near term, Scitex is planning to introduce a low-cost, black-and-white-only system at Xplor 2003.

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.

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 can create greater value for organizations.

1) Look beyond CPM (cost per thousand). "Look at cost per sale, instead," he suggests.

2) Embrace new technology. For example, using e-mail messages in combination with printed direct mailings can dramatically boost responses, Hackett reports.

3) Create new revenue streams. Variable content, full color, better image quality and production flexibility can be exploited to reduce costs and/or offer revenue opportunities—if users fundamentally rethink their communications, the company exec contends.

4) Invent new partnerships. Non-traditional communications, such as motor vehicle registration programs, can provide marketing opportunities because of their targeted audiences.

5) Be a strategic applications specialist. Operational costs can be turned into sales revenue, Hackett says. Adding marketing messages to billing statements is a prime example, he concludes.
 

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