All digital drupa!

As anticipated, we witnessed all digital drupa 2012. However, the mega event featured cutting-edge technologies for all applications in the graphics arts industry, but digital innovations stole the show at all fronts, with state-of-the-art offerings from Canon/Oce, Digital Information, Kodak, Konica Minolta, HP, Landa Corporation, Ricoh, Xeikon, Xerox, etc. As per the organisers official figures, around forty percent of visitors said they were interested in digital printing machinery and systems. Here are highlights from some of the major exhibitors in digital arena.

Canon: Canon’s stand featured launch of co-developed high capacity stacker that extends finishing range of Canon imagePRESS C7010VPS and Canon imagePRESS C7010VP series; new Océ ColorWave 650 poster printer for the point-of-sale market, latest additions to Océ ColorStream and JetStream ranges; Project Velocity - breakthrough high-speed large format digital printer; etc. The company demonstrated how Canon and Océ are stronger together, exhibiting co-developed, new and future technologies. “These announcements are yet a further demonstration of how Canon and Océ are stronger together. Through continuous product development and innovation, Canon can help customers take advantage of the new opportunities they identify through seeing the bigger picture,” commented an official from Canon Europe.

New additions to the Océ ColorStream 3000 range are the entry-level Océ ColorStream 3200 and high-speed Océ ColorStream 3900, which join the Océ ColorStream 3700. Another new product on display was the new Océ JetStream 4300, the latest system from the continuous feed inkjet portfolio.

HP: Demand for HP’s new digital printing solutions significantly exceeded the company’s goals for all regions and product lines. This was especially strong for HP’s new digital printing solutions, including the HP Indigo 7600 digital press, the HP T410 colour inkjet web press, the HP Scitex FB7600 industrial press and the HP Print Module Solutions. PSPs also showed strong interest in HP’s next-generation HP Indigo solutions—including the B2-format HP Indigo 10000 digital press—in advance of its early 2013 release date. The company’s largest drupa order was an agreement with Consolidated Graphics to purchase 11 HP Indigo 10000s, including one of the first beta systems to be installed. “Based on our results, the new solutions we showcased at drupa are hitting the sweet spot of what customers need for the jobs customers do today and want to do tomorrow,” said Christopher Morgan, senior vice president, Graphics Solutions Business, HP. “The high level of engagement and excitement from PSPs embracing our solutions exceeded our expectations and reinforced that digital now has the quality, productivity and flexibility to address mainstream applications.”

HP’s stand - the largest of any digital vendor and the second largest overall, featured the industry’s broadest digital colour portfolio and hundreds of real customer examples across applications such as labels, packaging, sign and display, publishing, general commercial and transactional mail. New systems also highlighted at drupa included: three upgrades to the current HP Indigo portfolio—the HP Indigo 5600, 7600 and W7250 digital presses; three faster HP inkjet web press models, the HP T410, T360 and T230 colour inkjet web presses; HP print module solutions for affordable, high-speed variable-data imprinting; upgrades for HP’s industry-leading selection of large-format printing solutions, including new technologies for the HP Scitex FB7600 industrial press and the Latex ink HP Designjet L26500 and L28500 printers; a complete range of workflow solutions, including products from the HP Exstream, HP Hiflex and HP SmartStream product lines

The company’s success at drupa illustrates the continued strength of the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) region for the HP Graphics Solutions Business, with China in particular representing a good growth market. APJ-region sales completed during the show included: a deal for two HP inkjet web presses and two HP Indigo digital presses to Hong Kong-based book manufacturer CTPS; the purchase of two HP Indigo 5600 to be installed at C&C Joint Printing Group’s Shenzhen Offset Printing facility; and a sale of an HP Scitex FB7600 industrial press and an HP Scitex LX850 industrial printer to large-format graphics provider Golden Colour Digital Inkjet Printing Co Ltd. HP also announced that Infotech Machine Co Ltd, a leading service provider for China’s graphics arts industry and one of the largest distributors of analog presses in China, will make its foray into digital with HP’s proven portfolio of colour solutions.

Heidelberg: Another crowd puller was the digital printing press that Heidelberg fully integrated into its portfolio at drupa 2012 under the name Linoprint. The ability to integrate the Linoprint C digital press for commercial printing into the print shop workflow - and thus the offset workflow - using the new Prinect Digital Print Manager was a pivotal factor in many customers’ investment decisions.

Kodak: Kodak energised drupa 2012 with digital solutions for customers in a hybrid world. The mega event marked a major turning point for the company. Over the course of the show, Kodak exceeded its sales goals and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees around the world. A constant flood of visitors filled the stand to see product demonstrations, talk with product experts, and hear from Kodak customers who are embracing change with Kodak solutions. The Kodak Prosper 6000XL press, NexPress SX3300 digital production colour press, Flexcel direct system, Sonora XP process free plates, and Prinergy workflow system v6, were just a few of the solutions drawing standing-room-only crowds throughout the two weeks, showing that the market is searching for innovative solutions to help them differentiate and grow their businesses.

“drupa has been an extraordinary event on many fronts—for our industry, our customers, and for Kodak,” said Antonio M Perez, Kodak chairman and chief executive officer. “I am very excited about how our customers are embracing change and adding new solutions to create higher value printed products for their clients. They have shared with me many examples of how Kodak products and solutions are the catalyst for this change and how they are staking their futures on the unique, market-leading applications we enable,” he added.

A significant increase in orders for Kodak equipments from customers around the world underscores the rapid growth of print in emerging markets. The printing and publishing industries in Asia experiencing double digit growth, resulted in multiple orders for Kodak Prosper 1000 and 5000XL presses at drupa. The modernization of government offices in Latin America yielded a multi-solution order for Kodak’s digital prepress and printing technology, and the rapid rise of consumer packaged goods in Greater Russia and Eastern Europe has brought in a large number of orders for Flexcel NX systems.

Repro India took the lead in the Indian publishing industry purchasing India’s first Kodak Prosper 1000 Press with IOS and Hunkler finishing system as part of a complete solution which includes, Prinergy workflow solution, Trendsetter 800 X and a Digimaster 150. “The new acquisition of the Kodak Prosper 1000 press will enable us to cater to the increasing demand from our customers to produce shorter print runs of books from 0-2000 and Kodak Prinergy workflow solution will give us a seamless integration with Repro’s existing prepress solutions from multiple vendors and add a new ‘web based’ portal capability giving us the ability to extend our geographical reach beyond Indian shores, gaining Repro faster job turnaround times and high client availability 24 x 7,” said Rajeev Vohra, director, Repro India Ltd.

Konica Minolta: Industrial Inkjet vendor Konica Minolta IJ presented KM-1 (development name), a prototype of a highly stable and reliable B2 sheetfed inkjet press for production printing ,co-developed with KOMORI Corporation, as a technology showcase at drupa 2012. As the changes towards digital production in the commercial printing market catch on, Konica Minolta IJ developed a highly stable and reliable inkjet press for production printing that combines Konica Minolta IJ’s advanced inkjet technology and KOMORI Corporation’s paper transportation know-how that is based on the company’s renowned offset press technology. With KOMORI’s paper transportation technology, KM-1 is able to reach speeds of 3,300 sph (simplex) and 1,650 sph (duplex) at a print resolution of 1,200dpi x 1,200dpi. This results in outstanding image quality compatible to offset print.

Landa Corporation: The company received unprecedented levels of interest and orders for its B1 format commercial digital press, the Landa S10 Nanographic Printing press, with crowds flocking to see it on the Landa stand in hall 9. It is the only B1 size digital press on the market and has the specifications to penetrate mainstream commercial print markets, printing at offset speeds and qualities without requiring plate changes or lengthy set-up times. By fitting seamlessly into existing workflows and finishing environments, the Landa S10 has the capacity to add highly productive output, printing single-side or double-side at up to 13,000 SPH on any off-the-shelf stock (60-400 gsm). The B1 format makes the Landa S10 ideal for a range of general commercial applications such as brochures, booklets, greetings cards, catalogs and many, many others. “We are delighted by the interest we received for all our products launched at drupa this year. Above all, our Landa S10 Nanographic Printing Press with its B1 format is the winner,” commented Landa Founder, Chairman and CEO Benny Landa.

The Landa Nanographic Printing process is unique - using Landa NanoInk colorants, the process can create ultra-sharp dots of extremely high uniformity, high gloss fidelity and the broadest color gamut of any four-color printing process. The NanoInk film image instantaneously bonds to the surface of any off-the-shelf stock, forming a tough, abrasion-resistant laminated layer without leaving any residual ink on the blanket. Since images are already dry, there is no need for post drying. Two-sided printing becomes simple and printed goods can be immediately handled, right off the press, even in the most aggressive finishing equipment.

Due to the high degree of automation on Landa Nanographic Printing presses, a single operator can manage two, three or even four presses at a time. When the operator leaves the press, the display switches to Vital Signs Mode, in which key indicators are presented in large fonts that can be easily read from 50 meters away. In addition, the entire user interface is duplicated on a portable touchscreen tablet that lets the operator remotely manage the presses. However, we will have to wait for over 18 months to see the Nanographic Printing press running commercialy anywhere.

Ricoh: It was Ricoh’s record success at drupa 2012. Thousands of print service providers from all across the world visited Ricoh stand to learn more about its rich combination of hardware and software solutions, services and environmental values and how it is working with printing businesses to manage the trends that are changing the way ‘print’ will be purchased and used in the future. Under the ‘Print and Beyond’ theme, some of the demonstrations that proved popular with visitors were the InfoPrint 5000 VP, shown in Europe for the first time, the new large format inkjet Ricoh Pro L4000 printer with latex ink and the Ricoh Pro C901 graphic arts edition digital colour press.

Trends and applications showcased in Ricoh’s Innovation Zone included technologies with future potential such as Clickable Paper and 3D printing, which will enable operations to take their service proposition beyond traditional print. Print service providers were also attracted to the creative solutions in the Packaging Zone to see the short run, on demand, personalised packaging examples such as retail boxes. On demand applications also created a buzz, with the InfoPrint 5000 GP (General Production) colour printing solution customising a book. Ricoh also demonstrated how cross-media solutions can help commercial printers establish creative credentials that foster stronger customer relationships.

A specialist application that generated interest among commercial printers was the preview of Ricoh’s ‘black box’ interface device. The RPIP (Ricoh Parallel Interface Protocol) was used on four different concept configurations on the booth: a Pro C651 EX printer was connected to a Nagel UV coating and die-cutting system for a packaging solution; a Pro C751 was fitted with a Plockmatic envelope inserter; a Pro C901 press had a Nagel vacuum feeder for handling tricky stocks; and a monochrome Pro 1357 EX printer was fitted with a Müller unwinder and reel to sheeter. Ricoh’s approach to long-term partnerships, services and business values where cited as just some of the reasons for printing companies placing several new orders at drupa 2012 for Ricoh Pro C901, Pro C751s, Pro C901 graphic arts edition; and InfoPrint 5000 MP continuous feed and digital cut sheet presses, etc.

“We will remember drupa 2012 as one that truly considered the future of the printing industry, by looking at print and beyond, where print service providers focused upon increasing the services and the value they add to their clients and further bridging the gap between digital and online. Visitor numbers to our stand far surpassed drupa 2008 and the number of new contacts made and sales orders placed have increased beyond expectations,” commented Peter Williams, executive vice president, head of production printing business group, Ricoh Europe. “The popularity of our demonstrations from the Ricoh Pro C901 colour cut sheet press and InfoPrint VP 5000 to cross media software solutions and the future concepts of Clickable Paper and 3D printing proved that print service providers are embracing change and planning their approaches to keep up with the accelerating rate of change faced by businesses in the future,” added Ricoh’s Graham Moore, business development director, production printing business group, Ricoh Europe.

Notably, drupa 2012 is the first time Ricoh exhibited with its new tagline ‘imagine. change.’, reflecting the company’s global shift toward services, which can be seen in its expanding services portfolio for production printing, the office and elsewhere in the organisation.

Xerox: Displaying an array of digital colour and mono technology, services and business development tools at drupa, Xerox sold more than 300 digital systems, workflow and finishing solutions including the Xerox CiPress 500 production inkjet system, the new iGen 150 press, the Color 1000 press and the Xerox 700 family of presses. Along with exceeding the number and quality of contracts signed and sales goals, the company generated more than 14,000 specific requests for information about Xerox’s solutions – twice as many as expected.

Fresh off the heels of drupa 2012 where more than 100,000 people visited the Xerox booth, the man leading the company’s graphic communications charge, Jeff Jacobson, said, “drupa is only the beginning. Going forward we will further strengthen relationships with customers, deliver technology and services that make print more relevant and earn the right to be the industry leader.”

There was strong interest in the CiPress 500 with CW Niemeyer Druck purchasing the system to produce individualized magazines, direct-mail pieces and catalogues. “Since the CiPress prints on the same substrates as our offset presses we will no longer need to use expensive coated substrates,” said Joachim Glowalla, director, CW Niemeyer Druck.

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