Complementary Future of Offset, Digital Printing to Be Seen at Drupa
Colin Gammon, MPG Books Technical R&D Manager, stated, “The software has helped us to remain highly competitive by cutting our labor costs in half. The AutoLayout feature allows us to put more work on a single sheet, which reduces spoilage and speeds job turnaround,”
One can also see the solution integrated into some other suppliers’ workflow packages. This includes Fujifilm Europe adding it to its XMF suite of workflow solutions and EFI using it with some of its MIS systems. In the U.K., MIS supplier Tharstern is also developing a work ganging imposition extension to its systems.
Traditional Suppliers Going Digital
One of the key trends to be seen at Drupa is some of the leading offset press suppliers entering the digital marketplace. Heidelberg’ partnership with Ricoh has already been announced and the first systems have already been installed. manroland has announced a partnership with the Canon-owned company Océ to sell high-speed inkjet presses into its markets. KBA will also enter this market through a partnership with the world’s largest printer R.R. Donnelley. R.R. Donnelley has developed its own inkjet presses and is licensing its inkjet technology to KBA for building its own presses. These manroland and KBA inkjet presses will be aimed at the traditional high-volume offset printers in books, direct mail, magazines and newspapers with the aim of changing the business models for printers in these markets.
So far, the majority of high-speed inkjet presses have been sold to transactional printers; few commercial printers have invested in this technology. In the United States in particular, some book printers have installed such systems, predominantly from HP and Kodak. They have used them to change the business models of publishers so run lengths of color books up to 5,000 copies now become viable on this technology, allowing print buyers to reduce their levels of inventory.