PRINT 05 DIGITAL PRINTING -- Volumes Turning Up
In Chicago, the only talk of anything approaching a new platform for digital color printing came from Océ. It reports still being on track to introduce a full-color version of the VarioStream 9000 continuous-feed printing system sometime in 2007. For now the focus remains on what the company terms "job appropriate" color, which it extended to three-over-three color by unveiling the VarioStream 9230 model.
The concept of hybrid offset/digital printing got a boost from Kodak Versamark and Muller Martini, which teamed up to demonstrate the former's continuous ink-jet heads doing variable imaging in-line with the latter's Concepta narrow web press. The two companies have signed a reseller agreement to market the combination.
A smaller scale technology trend on the software side continues to be putting more variable data capabilities into the hands of creative professionals, rather than just production specialists. This is typically done via add-ons to QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign.
PIA/GATF's Digital Printing Council is looking to provide fuel for the industry's drive to build market success. It unveiled a new research and market development project, called Marketing 4 Digital (M4D), intended to provide digital operations "with relevant and immediately applicable marketing intelligence they can use to sell more printing and open new business opportunities," according to the announcement. The project will explore more than 24 vertical markets. (For more details, see page 77 in this issue.)
Xeikon took an interesting step beyond user testimonials by partnering with one of its customers to produce a "live" application on the show floor. Working from its base in Portland, OR, expresscopy.com redirected a portion of its daily orders to print on a Xeikon 5000 digital color press in the manufacturer's booth. During the show, more than 50,000 variable data postcards for 165 different expresscopy.com customers were printed and picked up for delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.