“There’s so much inkjet, inkjet, inkjet talk, but there’s a lot of very interesting things happening on the toner side of the marketplace.” That was the observation of Jim Hamilton, group Director, Production Printing Hardware, during the annual InfoTrends state of the industry breakfast yesterday at Graph Expo. Based upon the debuts at the show, both technologies warranted his attention.
Inkjet is experiencing the more dramatic changes, creating what InfoTrends calls the “Zone of Disruption” from what has essentially been “The Phantom Zone.” The term refers to the large, un-served space that sits between the fastest of the high-quality toner presses and the slowest of the high-speed, high-volume inkjet devices. Hamilton cited four emerging presses that are entering this market with somewhat different approaches.
“I like to look at these products as less than a million dollars, have high speeds and basically have running costs that are lower than electrophotography,” he said. “There’s a lot of activity happening there right now.”
Certainly, there was a lot of activity in the Xerox booth around the Rialto 900 Inkjet Press, Xerox’s entry into the Zone of Disruption and the winner of the MUST SEE EMS Best of Category award for digital presses. The Rialto 900 is the industry’s first fully-integrated roll-to-cut sheet, narrow web press, and it presents a toner-press sized footprint that permits it to fit easily into most print shops.
Recently introduced Xerox devices also played in Hamilton’s toner-press trends. He noted that a number of vendors were bringing more special effects to digital printing, including Xerox with its offering of metallic silver and gold dry inks on the Xerox Color 800i/1000i. And he called out several presses for the advances they’ve made in image quality, including another MUST SEE EMS award winner, the Xerox iGen 5 Press, which added a fifth toner station to more easily and accurately reproduce corporate colors. The system can now achieve 95 percent of Pantone colors, up from 80 percent previously.
It’s enough to make you want to celebrate—and that’s just what Xerox did to kick off the show this morning. The Cat’s Pajamas, an a cappella singing and dancing group, wowed the early attendees with a soulful, harmony-filled song built around the Xerox booth theme, “Let the Work Flow.” If you listened closely, you found they were singing about the Xerox product portfolio. Following that, Senior Vice President Robert Stabler stood between the Rialto 900 and the iGen 5 in the crowded booth and led a champagne toast.
It was a toast to both inkjet and toner, and to the successes these technologies can bring to Xerox customers.
Could the new Zone of Disruption inkjet products and advances in toner-based printing play a role in advancing your business?