Xerox at drupa: A New Coming Out Party?

noelward

Well-known member
by Noel Ward, Editor @ Large

One thing I’ve found in my 20-odd years in this industry is that you can never ignore Xerox. While the company’s shift in focus to business process outsourcing (BPO) a few years back took much of the company’s emphasis off of print, the recent split into two distinct parts–Document Technology (printing) and BPO–renews and refreshes the firm’s commitment to print, which is after all, an $11 billion business for the Rochester, NY company.

At drupa, Xerox has carved out enough real estate in Hall 8 to showcase a full range of its own products and software plus that of various partners to show that the company is still a major player in toner (EP) and inkjet (IJ) print and not to be discounted as a force in the industry.

So far there is not much totally new on the toner front from Xerox, but like offset printing, toner isn’t about to vanish anytime soon. The question, of course, is how much more development will Xerox be putting into its EP machines. I have no idea, but it is something I’ll be asking when I meet with some of the lead Xeriods at drupa. On the toner side, Xerox will have its mainstay EP presses, many with new features and capabilities. These will include the flagship iGen 5 and the iGen 4 Diamond; the Color 8250; the Color 800i and Color 1000i; the Versant 2100, plus some smaller color devices. All serve specific markets well and have a loyal following among toner-heads who are yet to make the leap to inkjet. Some owers of these machines also have inkjet presses, using each technology where appropriate. While they will no doubt peruse Xerox's EP systems, they will also be looking at inkjet.

Inkjet and Xerox
But as is the case with all the other players in the industry, inkjet is the place to be because without viable inkjet presses a company simply doesn’t have enough to offer. Addressing this, Xerox acquired French inkjet press–maker Impika in 2014. Since then, Impika technology has become a key part of Xerox’s IJ offering and is the foundation of some new machines that will be formally rolled out at drupa. Another key element is the Rialto roll-to-cut sheet system Xerox rolled out last fall at Graph Expo. It definitely fills the need for entry level, full-color inkjet, but some of the offerings to be unveiled at drupa may be a bit more compelling.

First among these is the Brenva, a B3 inkjet cutsheet press based on the iGen frame and targeting the transactional and books markets, along with “business color” markets where medium quality is fully acceptable. According to Xerox, the Brenva, apparently named after a peak in the Alps, is intended to fill the gap between high-end toner and low-end inkjet presses on the market. This makes good sense to me, and I can think of many mid-size service bureaus who could be potential Brenva customers as they transition from their monochrome toner machines. In contrast to the Rialto, cutsheet IJ is important to companies transitioning from toner because it lets them change substrates easily, one job after another, or even mix them in a single job. This is not an option on roll-fed machines, and along with an attractive price point, makes cutsheet inkjet an compelling option. The Brenva is available now (or soon), and as I've been a fan of cut-sheet IJ long before it came to market, I’m looking forward to seeing this box at drupa.

Next up is the Trivor, which is a replacement for the Impika Compact press. This relatively high-speed (551 fpm in color) continuous feed press is not yet available, but more on that at drupa. An interesting feature is that Xerox says Trivor has a compact footprint, which may increase its appeal for shops with limited shop floor real estate. This can be a real plus, because many IJ machines on the market require a lot of space, sometimes requiring significant construction by the print provider.

Xerox will also be showing off much of its FreeFlow software. According to industry consultant I.T. Strategies, Xerox says 75% of the cost of print is from non-print components, making workflow a critical element in print production. End-to-end software integration is critical and Xerox, like all its competitors, is steadily evolving its software to provide complete solutions, especially when combined with a mix of Xerox print engines. I’m sure there will be new and updated software to see in Dusseldorf.

As we head to drupa, Xerox seems poised to regain its stature as a leading player in digital print, and this drupa may be something of a coming out party for the latest iteration of Xerox.
 
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