Digital Flexes Its Muscles
The broader trend toward convergence in the digital printing segment also is evident at the product level. Black-and-white and color printing systems are being enhanced and expanded to meet the needs of corporate and commercial users alike. The trend is reflected in the capabilities and features of the latest product introductions from leading vendors.
To expand its market, Heidelberg introduced the Digimaster 9110m network imaging system that uses magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) toner and prints special fonts and characters. It said to enable data centers and transactional printing environments to also do print-on-demand work with normal toner by simply changing developer stations. The machine prints 110 pages per minute at 600 dpi.
Also new is the Digimaster 9150i print system that outputs 150 ppm at 600 dpi, and is said to maintain that rate speed even when in-line finishing equipment and other accessories are used. It offers an enhanced duty cycle of three to five million impressions per month, with a short, straight paper path for better paper handling.
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Xerox Corp. was one of the pioneers in tailoring similar hardware components into digital printing solutions for specific applications with its DocuTech and DocuPrint black-and-white product lines. The DocuColor brand has been applied across its color solutions, however.
The company recently introduced EA (emulsion aggregation) toner technology that is expected to play a big part in its future product directions. The DocuColor 3535 printer/copier represents just the second product to incorporate the technology. The mid-range system produces 35 pages (color or black-and-white) per minute at 600 dpi resolution. It handles sheet sizes up to 12x19˝ with use of a bypass tray. The system is driven by an EFI print controller that is designed to be upgradeable.
Emulsion aggregation technology is said to "grow" toner particles with well-defined shapes and smaller (three to five microns) sizes. The particles are incorporated into a wax-based formulation for oil-less fusing, thereby reducing energy and heat requirements. The technology reportedly puts 30 percent less toner on the sheet while improving line, text and image detail.
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According to Océ Printing Systems USA, its Adaptable Imaging Architecture (AIA) provides the flexibility to meet the needs of corporate and commercial print users. Its systems feature the ability to field upgrade their speed, resolution and front ends. The Océ VarioPrint 5000 cut-sheet product family offers print speeds of up to 155 images per minute at resolutions up to 600 dpi. The VarioStream 7000 line of continuous-forms printers is scalable to support prints speeds of up to nearly 1,300 images per minute with a maximum resolution of 600 dpi and 18.25˝ media width.
Both systems offer support of MICR and CustomTone highlight color printing. The Océ PRISMA production print servers provide automated workflow management software solutions .
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Canon U.S.A. introduced the CLC 3900, a 39-ppm color production system that uses four-drum technology and the manufacturer's Finer Brighter (FB) toner to achieve a print resolution equivalent to 400x800 dpi. The machine has a maximum recommended monthly volume of 150,000 letter-size impressions and handles paper sizes up to 12x18˝.
In the black-and-white arena, the new Canon imageRUNNER Pro 150+ was designed for data center, financial, education, manufacturing, health care and graphic arts applications. It outputs 150 ppm at 600 dpi using toner with small particle developer. The printer has a short, straight paper path that can handle up to 110-lb. index stock.
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Delphax Technologies was born out of the acquisition of Delphax Systems by Check Technology. With a specialty in electron beam imaging (EBI), the company manufactures continuous-feed and cut-sheet, monochrome printing systems for financial, forms and commercial printing applications.
Its CR Series of continuous-feed digital printing systems output up to 1,300 pages per minute at 600 dpi. The printers handle stocks from 60 to 226 gsm in widths to 14x19.75˝. Imaggia II cut-sheet printing systems produce up to 300 pages per minute at 600 dpi. A maximum sheet size of 18.75x22˝ is standard.
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Ricoh Corp. says its new Priport JP5500 digital printing system is designed for use in school systems and universities, religious and non-profit organizations, corporate environments and select print-for-pay venues. It prints 120 pages per minute at 400 dpi with a 12x17˝ maximum paper size. The system features a dual-cylinder configuration, tint and text/photo printing modes, and optional color cylinder.
The company also announced that its Aficio Color 6513 copier/printer can now be configured with EFI's Fiery E-820 server. Feature enhancements include Command Work-Station for centralized print job management and Fiery WebTools for browser-based job management. Outputs 13 color pages per minute.
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Duplo USA's DP-430 digital printer offers a 300x600 dpi resolution in black-and-white and spot color printing. Its three-roller feeding system is said to be improved with a pulse stepper motor for tighter registration to support spot color, NCR and envelope printing with no additional hardware. The printer features a newly developed coreless plate ejection mechanism that reportedly makes the printing process more economical and less messy. Print image position is electronically powered and adjustable four ways to increase image control and improve operation. The printer features a larger size LCD control panel.
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To expand the range of applications for its digital printer-duplicator systems, Riso Inc. has introduced new "Zykros" technology on its Model 8000 digital press. The "V" formation in its printing system puts dual master cylinders above a common impression cylinder to deliver one- or two-color printing at speeds up to 7,200 iph. The press handles stocks in sizes from 4x6˝ to 11x17˝.
In addition, Riso signed an agreement with Lexmark that allows several of the newest Lexmark multifunction printers to be integrated into Riso printing systems. Intelligent software directs each print job to the appropriate device based upon predetermined criteria.
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(Editors note: At press time, Konica and Minolta announced a pending merger. No details were released about any impact on product lines.)
Konica Business Technologies announced the Konica 7085 production printing system that it says is built to handle the high-volume demands of CRDs and print-on-demand environments. It features an output speed of 85 pages per minute and a 750,000 impressions per month duty cycle. The printer also offers enhanced image quality, scanning capabilities, network connectivity and advanced finishing capabilities. It accepts paper stocks from 16-lb. to 110-lb. index in sizes to 12x18˝.
The system uses Konica's Simitri polymerized toner, which is produced in an emulsion polymerization process. It is said to produce toner with extremely small particles that are uniform in size and shape.
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Minolta Corp. currently offers both a black-and-white and color series of printer/copier systems targeted to print-for-pay and corporate environments. The DiALTA line of monochrome machines is topped off by the Di750, which produces 75 ppm at 600 dpi and supports a 500,000 page per month duty cycle. Finishing options include eight-position stapling, saddle-stapling, folding, and post-insertion. The company's CF series of color copiers/printers outputs eight color or 32 black-and-white pages per minute at 600 dpi. The machine can print up to 11x17˝ originals on 12x18˝ paper.
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IBM Printing Systems recently expanded the capabilities of its continuous-forms printing line with the introduction of two new models to its Infoprint 4100 monochrome product family. The new HS2 and HD3/HD4 models allow printing at speeds of up to 1,220 pages or 280 feet per minute. The printing systems offer a 19˝ print width and operator switchable resolutions of 480 dpi and 600 dpi. In addition, the company has introduced its Enhanced Printing Supplies Version 3, which increases print quality and improves toner fusing and adhesion to paper.
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Nipson America reintroduced its product line for transaction, direct mail and print-on-demand applications. The Nipson 8000 continuous-feed, monochrome digital press runs at speeds up to 231 feet per minute with a 600 dpi resolution. It has a 20.5˝ media width . The Nipson 7000 model offers a 480 dpi maximum resolution and operates at up to 196 feet per minute. The presses feature the company's magnetographic technology and cold flash toner fusing.
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