Buying a Digital Press (Now)? -- Waldman
Océ's printing solution for short run, on-demand, one-color books and manuals fascinated me. The webfed machine produced in-line finished, perfect bound or saddle-stitched books automatically. Plus you could change sizes and product on-the-fly. Anyone that produces books or manuals has got to explore this.
Desktop digital printers are a hot topic with me as I have written about this in the past. In the corner of the Xerox booth was a Phaser 7700, which was about $8,000. I had a PDF on a disk that was a four-color, two-sided, 81⁄2x11˝ piece. I gave the disk to the sales rep and the first copy emerged 53 seconds later. I had requested 30 copies and I had all 30 printed both sides in just two minutes and 52 seconds.
Checking Consumable Costs
We figured the cost of the consumables (not including the paper, which was a standard 80# gloss text) to be about 9 cents per side. The quality was more than acceptable and I also had a PMS built from four-color, which was almost dead on. I was very impressed with the overall quality of the printed piece. It can print a full tabloid size sheet two-sided, four-color bleed. Also, since it has a PostScript RIP, it can do variable imaging. I know this sounds crazy, but unless you already have a market that needs real productivity this isn't a bad way to get your feet wet.
Wet digital imaging presses are regular offset presses where the plates are imaged on-press as opposed to in the plate room. In fact, some of these presses give you the option of going either way. The advantage of imaging on the press is that it eliminates an operation or a step and gives you faster register. Plus, the press operators can be doing something else while the plates are imaging.