Canon Advances its Production Digital Color Portfolio

At the Canon for Business 2014 event in Poing, Germany and at the FESPA trade show in Munich, Canon Océ showed strong signs of progress in a variety of areas related to digital color printing through a series of announcements:

  • High-speed color inkjet printing on standard coated offset papers – Announced but not shown in Poing was a new inkjet system that Canon Océ representatives say can print on a range of offset paper stocks, including coated ones, without the use of bonding agents or primers. The solution, according to Canon, can accomplish this due to its high resolution, small ink droplets, dryers, and a special aqueous pigment ink formulation. The Canon Océ ImageStream 3500 runs at up to 160 meters per minute (525 feet per minute) at 1,200 x 600 dot per inch resolution on a 750-millimeter (30-inch) web. (The device can also run at 1,200 x 1,200 dpi, though at half the speed of 1,200 x 600.) Canon expects the product to be available at the beginning of 2015. InfoTrends will learn more about this product soon (Canon hosted analysts, including InfoTrends’ Ralf Schlozer, in Tokyo last week), but for now, it’s intriguing to consider that a vendor has come up with a solution to address standard coated offset papers without inkjet treatments of any kind.
  • InfiniStream has graduated to seven colors – Canon Océ’s proof of concept test site for its InfiniStream packaging digital printer is at Joh. Leupold GmbH in Schwabach, Germany. The installation originally started with a four-color unit and recently was expanded to seven colors. Océ believes that the expanded gamut provided by seven colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black plus orange, green, and violet) will meet the needs of many folding carton packaging applications. An in-line coating and cutting solution is also being developed. Canon Océ said that further proof of concept sites for InfiniStream will be selected and installed in 2014 and 2015.
  • Entering “the digital to offset transition zone” – InfoTrends coined the phrase “Zone of Disruption” to describe the opportunity that sits between the fastest cut-sheet color toner-based devices and high-speed color inkjet continuous feed printers. Canon takes that a step further by mixing offset into the equation. Their product concept Niagara is described as targeting “the digital to offset transition zone” with speeds up to 300 A4/letter images per minute, volumes of 2 to 3 million impressions per month, substrate support for 60 to 300 gsm stocks (on sheet sizes up to B3), and a strategy of ‘smart’ sheet sizes in which one system produces for monochrome and color output cost effectively. Niagara (actual product name TBD) was not shown at the Poing event, but there was an audiovisual display. From this and statements made by Canon Europe, it appears likely that Print Management Logistics Solutions in Kassel, Germany will be the first beta site.
  • Filling a product line gap – There has been a huge amount of recent activity in the light production 101-300K color duty cycle product segment. It has been apparent for a while that Canon had a product line gap between the high end of its imageRUNNER Advance line and the low end of its imagePRESS line. The European announcements last week of the 70-ppm imagePRESS C700 and 80-ppm C800 address this gap. Built upon new toners, lasers, and registration systems, the systems support stocks up to 300 gsm with auto duplex support and run at rated speed on stocks up to 220 gsm. The imagePRESS C700 and C800 will begin shipping in Europe in July but won’t be available until later in the year in the United States.
  • New wide format at FESPA – Building on the momentum of an Arizona wide-format product line that Canon says has an installed base of 4,200 units, the company kicked off the first day of FESPA with the announcement of two new products in the Arizona line: the six-color Arizona 6160 XTS and the seven-color Arizona 6170 XTS. These flatbed printers support speeds of up to 155 square meters per hour (2.5 times the speed of the previous fastest Arizona). Canon said that a single operator running two devices could produce 400 boards a day.

Canon has made other announcements in recent weeks, but I think these five developments underscore Canon’s R&D investments across a range of digital production color application areas. Standing in the Canon Océ facility in Poing, Germany it becomes apparent to any viewer that the company has made a strong commitment to the production color market and is making clear progress on a number of fronts.

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