Production Inkjet Takes on the World

Inkjet brings a world of terrific benefits to small-format applications, such as book printing, business forms, and transpromo work. Print service providers are able to offer their customers color, faster speeds, and attractive prices. And these represent just a few of the advantages offered to those working with high-speed inkjet.

Among the leading manufacturers supplying the segment is Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen (USA), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Dainippon Screen Group of Japan. The company is best known as a manufacturer of computer plate systems, with more than 17,500 systems installed worldwide.

Screen entered the high-speed inkjet market with its US introduction of the Truepress Jet 520 in 2005. The Screen Truepress family of presses is leading world sales in 20-inch-wide format, with more than 400 presses installed worldwide, says product manager for high-speed inkjet Tom Leibrandt.

The Truepress Jet 520 is reliable, with most of Screen’s customers enjoying more than 90 percent uptime. It’s able to print at full resolution at 722 fpm, or 195,000 pph, and with full variable data, Leibrandt says. It is available with either dye or pigment ink. The other benefit is in workflow. “The Screen EQUIOS Universal Workflow—the workflow that drives the entire series—runs off the latest Adobe print engine, and is also able to do smart variable data processing functions,” Leibrandt says.

Screen Truepress Jet 520 is designed to work well in the transactional markets, such as billing and direct mail, textbook and newspaper applications, and handles both variable and on-demand printing.

Targeted, in Color, and at Faster Speeds

L&D Mail Masters in New Albany, IN, which handles a lot of variable data printing, chose Screen’s solution because it lets the shop provide color at an economical cost, says president Diane Fischer.

That capability has been put to work on the printing of statements from banks and financial institutions, prospectuses, healthcare benefit statements, and county tax statements. “It’s bringing a more targeted piece that talks to [recipients of the pieces] individually, with inclusion of color, at a high speed,” Fischer says. “The faster you can print them, the earlier they can get to market.”

Sebis Direct, a Bedford Park, IL, document management and document production service, also chose the Screen Truepress Jet 520. Sebis uses the press to produce healthcare billing, insurance statements and policies, 401k and other defined benefit statements, and utility bills.

“The Screen printer is outstanding for transactional due to the security capabilities it has,” says president Wes Sanders. “Among its features is the ability to generate a barcode on the front side, and when it prints the backside, it scans the bar code to ensure the backside matches the front side.”

Its impact is seen in the vast reduction in pre-printed forms that have to be maintained, he adds. “We are converting most of our applications from pre-printed form and laser imprinting to full imaging on white paper. Now we can basically image the black elements as well as color elements, all in one pass, on blank white paper; eliminating the need for pre-printed forms.”

Another company that meets the market needs for small-format inkjet applications is Ricoh Production Print Solutions. San Jose, CA-based BR Printers, a print-on-demand book and technical manual printer, has been using Ricoh’s InfoPrint 5000 for more than a year.

“At the time of our purchase, and I think it’s still true today, with our volume and quality needs, that platform best fits our requirements,” says Hugh Loveless, vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s allowed us to print short-run, full-color documentation at a price that’s competitive with monochrome, and offer that to our customers as an alternative to just monochrome printing.”


Versatile Productivity

Océ is yet another provider to this market segment. Océ’s diverse portfolio of solutions enables a wide range of applications, says Tonya Powers, graphic arts segment marketing, Océ North America.

“Depending on the customer’s business needs, we can offer toner or inkjet, monochrome or full-color, as well as pigment or dye inks, in addition to our software and support services,” she notes. Within Océ’s inkjet portfolio exist four families of printers, including the JetStreamCompact, Dual and Wide (full-color and mono-only) series, and the ColorStream 3000 Twin series.

The Océ JetStream and ColorStream are not just versatile and productive full-color inkjet systems, Powers says. They also offer full flexibility and growth paths from monochrome to full-color plus two additional colors, and from simplex to duplex with the Océ twin concepts. A variety of advanced features yield top notch productivity, high-end print quality, production flexibility, seamless workflow integration, and application versatility, she adds.

Océ’s inkjet portfolio enables a range of applications within the publishing, transactional, and direct mail market segments. Those applications include books, manuals, letters, statements, explanation of benefits, and newspapers.

“As print runs continue to decline, digital printing offers PSPs flexible solutions to provide what their customers need, when they need it, where they need it, and in the quantity they need it,” Powers reports. “They are able to provide their customers bottom line business results by offering smaller quantities in faster turnarounds and the ability to personalize/customize.”

As inkjet technologies steadily improve and costs decline, the crossover point from offset to digital is decreasing, allowing PSPs higher margins, she says.

Royal Printing Co., Oklahoma’s leading ballot printer for its entire history, just acquired an Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex Press to replace three offset presses, enabling it to comply with new legislation specifying ballot printers produce variable size, variable color, and variable data ballots.

With the Océ printer, Royal Printing now enjoys dynamic productivity and pricing as well as cost-effective color at a black-and-white price. The company will be able to produce two million ballots in 20 days. That, says Royal Printing owner Kelley Thomas, is “unheard of”.