Next-generation flagship digital press from Xerox breaks new ground

New commercial opportunities in SA with the new business of printing
Johannesburg, 22 Feb 2005
Read time 4min 40sec

Xerox Corporation today introduced its DocuColor iGen3 Digital Production Press to SA.

The DocuColor iGen3 results from a $1 billion research and development investment and includes more than 300 patents. The iGen3 Digital Production Press is designed to provide commercial printers with a digital complement to their traditional offset businesses.

Says Anne Mulcahy, Xerox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in Johannesburg for the launch: "This next-generation technology, combined with related solutions and services, will unlock new opportunities for high-quality printed colour materials that are personalised, available on-demand and integrated with the Web."

The iGen3 Digital Production Press sports similar industrial proportions to its traditional offset forebears - weighing some 3-tons and measuring 30-feet in length. Weight and size is where the similarities end, as this high-end product combines the ecological and technical benefits of digital printing methods within the production press environment.

Says Rob Abraham, Managing Director of Bytes Document Solutions, the authorised Xerox distributor in SA: "While capable of producing 6 000 full-colour A4 or 1 500 A3 4X4 impressions per hour - easily exceeding the output speed of more conventional presses - the iGen3 has also been designed specifically to minimise pollution in terms of both noise and wasted materials. In fact, the unit has been built to meet Xerox`s own extremely rigid policies on these factors, which are stricter than the emissions and safety standards specified by global regulatory bodies."

Abraham continues: "The digital operation of the iGen3 also enables press operators to be far more flexible in satisfying customer requirements. By eliminating the labour-intensive pre-production phase, shorter runs which previously would waste too many materials to be cost-effective can be easily performed, allowing for just-in-time printing needs to be catered for. Black and white can now be easily mixed with colour on the final output, and each page is capable of being personalised through back-end integration with CRM systems, Web pages or even relevant call centre data."

By utilising digital prepress workflow, rather than plate to print methodologies, press operators can take on business from a wide array of customers thanks to its markedly increased flexibility. Paper stocks can be mixed within the same run, allowing for full-colour collated books to be bound and delivered faster to clients. Colour fidelity and registration remain near perfect thanks to SmartPress Sentry Systems, which keeps watch over the printer and stock data to ensure consistent image quality.

Fully loaded, the unit can hold up to a maximum of 180 000 sheets of 120 g/m2 paper in its six feeder modules with 12 paper trays per module. A vast array of paper stocks, up to 350g/m2, and sizes as large as 364 x 521mm can be loaded into one of six trays. The additional two-tray inserter module provided printers the flexibility to load substrates post fusing. A choice of inline finishing capabilities make it possible to create booklets, perfect-bound volumes or lay-flats without any extra production time required.

Advanced prepress functionality such as the Xerox DocuSP Colour Controller, Creo Spire and EFI Fiery colour servers allow for rich final outputs to be created easily within a customer`s current workflow environment. Many of the critical tasks are automated in these integrated systems, allowing the iGen3 Digital Production Press to produce complex images with full support for variable information printing formats.

From an ecological point of view over 97% of the machine`s components are recyclable. In excess of 80% of the waste it generates, including both the toner and packaging materials, can be returned, reused or recycled after use. Noise emissions are reduced by 80% from traditional offset presses, and the non-toxic ink used by the Xerox device generates minimum waste due to a transfer efficiency approaching 100%.

The safety of press operators has also been assured through sheer design innovation, with features such as a "snaky rail" paper loading mechanism allowing for the opening of heavy, paper-laden loader drawers with minimal force. Injuries are further avoided by keeping all mechanical and electrical parts concealed, while ozone, dust and volatile organic compounds emissions are strictly controlled to avoid operators breathing potentially harmful materials.

Shoshana Burgett, iGen3 Marketing Manager for Xerox International, states: "The iGen3 Digital Production Press allows our customers to develop new applications within their business. This in turn has altered the way many printers view a printed piece. In today`s fast-paced technology-driven environment, placing information, pertinent to the end-user or consumer, is critical. Doing this in an on-demand environment, enabling a vast array of stocks and sizes, enables printers, marketing agencies and designers a new way to create within the competitive atmosphere."

"iGen3 has been built to recreate the exceptionally high quality prints complete with the traditional `look and feel` of offset printers, while minimising the ecological damage of these legacy systems and avoiding traditional financial issues like excessive wastage on a short run or registration problems requiring that a whole new run be produced to satisfy customer quality demands," ends Abraham.

Bytes Document Solutions

Bytes Document Solutions, previously known as Xerox South Africa (Pty) Ltd, is a South African company engaged in the marketing and servicing of a complete range of Xerox document equipment software, solutions and services. The Bytes Technology Group Limited, which is a listed entity on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and a member of the Altron Group, wholly owns Bytes Document Solutions, the Xerox distributor in 25 African countries.

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