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Xerox steam in the right direction at Hunkeler

One of the star attractions out at Hunkeler Innovationdays—notwithstanding the finishing and paper processing manufacturers cutting edge technology itself—was Xerox. It unveiled a strategy that sees it target the entry and mid-level sectors of the inkjet printing market with solutions that were certainly drawing in the crowds.

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The Xerox Rialto 900 was a key flagship system on display at Hunkeler Innovationsdays

The UK printing industry’s trade press were transported out to the Swiss-based event by Friedheim International, which is Hunkeler’s exclusive UK distributor. The supplier was out in force at the show, with its extensive team fanned out across the expansive halls demonstrating to, and educating visitors about, the manufacturer's armada of technology.

On display from Xerox was its Brenva HD production cut sheet inkjet press, Trivor 2400 for continuous feed inkjet with Xerox ‘High Fusion’ ink, and the Rialto 900 for narrow web roll-to-cut sheet applications. Each piece of technology was married up in a continuous work flow to Hunkeler paper-processing solutions, as was every digital press in the halls of Lucerne Messe.

“There is still a very large install base of litho technology, which is great for producing static very long-runs of print. If you are producing ultra short-run then toner is where you need to be and we are still investing very heavily in, and believe in, toner technology. But if it is in between these two at a longer run length, maybe with a lighter area coverage, or something that requires a reel-based system, then inkjet is going to score,” explained Robert Stabler in an interview with Print Monthly out at the exhibition.

The addendum to this comment of course is that it is in the finishing and paper processing technology where gains are often to be had, and Hunkeler’s equipment really showcased its immense capabilities to handle jobs of seemingly infinite complexity, speed, and variability both inline and offline. This subject matter will be explored in-depth in the next article in this series of Hunkeler Innovationdays technology reviews. But a key highlight to conduct research on is its POPP8 line, which consists of an UW8 unwinder, RW8 rewinder, DP8 dynamic perforator, CS8 cutter that features a simple and double cross cutting cylinder, SE8 separator, WM8 web merger module, and a LS8 stacker.

What is clear from the efforts of Xerox at Hunkeler is they are one of the major digital print manufacturers to have turned around its ship in time, and it seems will avoid the looming ice bergs that have begun to damage the hulls of its peers that have come late to the 'blue ocean' of inkjet.

Variable data printing in one form or another is being demanded in an ever-growing number of applications

Stabler, who is Xerox Corporation’s senior vice president, general manager, Continuous Feed Business, Graphic Communication Solutions, was also emphatic about the application strengths of its technology: “Variable data printing in one form or another is being demanded in an ever-growing number of applications, and that means it has to go to some form of digital technology, and inkjet is a very strong player in this regard. We have made a big play on catalogues at Hunkeler, bringing together brand owners, agencies, and printers together to talk about the whole eco-system around this product. And what we know is that the brand owners have extremely good data, analytics, and look at every campaign on a ROI basis. There is very strong evidence that personalised, versioned, and hybrid catalogues using versioned and static, give a better ROI than a simply static catalogue.”

Andrew Copley, president, Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox, added: “The inkjet opportunity is no longer on the horizon—it’s here right now. With our next generation production inkjet presses, customers get the right technology at less cost and space of traditional inkjet presses.”

Indeed, UK-based print, mail and digital communications provider McLays bought the Brenva HD to expand their direct mail and transactional applications. In the first month of production, page volume reportedly increased 15 percent, hitting up to 150,000 pages per day on peak days.

“We produced more than 1.5 million pages in January with Brenva HD and are confident that we can double that figure in the coming months as the machine moves into 24-hour print production,” said Gary Wheeler, direct manufacturing manager, McLays. Who added: “The press performs extremely well with low coverage, light tints and sharp black text, which are critical in our transactional business.”

Thousands of printers from across the world poured into Hunkeler Innovationdays

Belgium-based V Print, is another case in point in terms of variable data demand driving its acquisition of a Trivor 2400, which has been paired with High Fusion Ink, with the company citing a need to add more personalisation and quality to its large-volume direct mail business—without the cost of using specialty stock made for inkjet printing.

“We wanted to print on standard offset coated stock, with offset quality and volume, but with all the benefits of production inkjet,” says Thierry Ngoma, plant manager, V Print. He adds: “So far High Fusion Ink and the Trivor 2400 are meeting our expectations – delivering brilliant colour, high speed and the savings from using standard offset coated stocks without the need for any pre or post treatment.”

During the exhibition, Xerox showcased the Rialto 900 with two new inline finishing options: a dynamic perforator and second dual high capacity stacker. The dynamic perforator enables the creation of horizontal, vertical or t-section tear offs—such as coupons, reply cards, and payment stubs—opening up new opportunities in the transactional and direct mail markets. Additionally, a second dual high capacity stacker enables a continuous operation feature, so print providers can keep presses running while unloading the other stacker.

At Hunkeler, Xerox cited UK-based commercial printer Datagraphic as a good example of the impact this technology is having. The firm has two Rialto 900 presses that produce data-driven transactional print for enterprises across the public and private sectors.

“We deliver daily communications, which often need to be printed and processed within hours and the Rialto 900 enables us to produce high-volume, same-day dispatches of business quality documents within a narrow timeframe,” says Robert Hoon, managing director, Datagraphic.

We wanted to print on standard offset coated stock, with offset quality and volume but with all the benefits of production inkjet

Looking at the Xerox stand itself, it fielded an impressive set-up that featured roll-to-sheet production from 1-up to 4-up at a web-speed of 150m/min. This entailed a UW6 unwind module that fed a Xerox Trivor 2400. The next stage in the workflow was a CS6-HS cutting module, which has five vertical cutting knives for the possibility of 1-up, 2-up, 3-up, or 4-up production. Finally a SE6 seperation module offset and transferred individual jobs for delivery via a LS6 stacking module.

Look out for the next review in this series that will explore the technology on show from Hunkeler itself, before the next two instalments examine both other inkjet printer manufacturers and the software providers that are critical to converting hardware performance into profit margins.

If you have an interesting story or a view on this news, then please e-mail news@printmonthly.co.uk

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