On-Demand Turns Full-Production Color
Editor's Note: Where is the future of digital printing? It may be a safer bet to project where the future of digital printing is not. It certainly isn't purely in the on-demand market. Presstek was the first to proclaim the advantages of exposing plates on-press. Presstek initially cooperated with Heidelberg, creating exposure systems for the Heidelberg GTO and Quickmaster presses. Now, Presstek is providing on-press imaging to Ryobi, Sakurai, soon to Didde, and other press manufacturers.
Now that DRUPA 2000 has set the pace for digital printing's next millennium moves, it seems the digital press is ready to take on the traditional commercial printer—touting pressroom-ready productivity, workhorse reliability, variable data for a variety of applications, ease of use, expanded substrate support and high flexibility as its leading-edge characteristics. DRUPA 1995 set the stage. DRUPA 2000 positioned the most capable technology players—Heidelberg, Xerox and others—firmly at center.
It will be DRUPA 2004's duty to cast the spotlight on the press manufacturers and imaging technology enablers to lead digital printing into its next direction—perhaps onto the Internet.
Who will be standing in the spotlight in 2004—or, more likely, who won't be. To be continued . . .
Top Digital Demos
Demonstrated at DRUPA 2000 were a variety of high-profile digital presses, not the least of which included the following innovations.
IBM Printing Systems showed its complete range of products and solutions for digital printing, including InfoPrint Manager for Windows and InfoPrint 21, the company's new Web-ready workgroup laser printer. The InfoPrint 21 allows users to print documents stored on the Internet or a local hard disk, without having to open a file.
Karat Digital Press, the Scitex and KBA joint venture, demonstrated the digitally integrated offset press, 74 Karat, sporting an EFI Fiery-powered DFE. EFI's technology allows users of Karat's press to submit jobs digitally by disk or directly over the Internet. Streamlined file sharing between the 74 Karat, and devices already supported by EFI technology, is one of the keys to the future Internet-enabled service the two technology companies are developing. Through its connection to the EFI front end, the 74 Karat can offer a complete suite of applications, including document archiving, document management, document distribution and printing on a single printer or multiple printers.