Rena Show Memjet-based Prototype for Direct Mail

Bob Leahey
May 1, 2010

At this month’s On Demand show in Philadelphia, Rena Systems (Oaks, PA) showed a tabletop addressing system based on a page-wide, CMYK head from Memjet (San Diego, CA). Rena says the printer, the name of which is unreleased, is planned to be commercially available by the end of this year. If so, the printer could be the first Memjet-based printer to be marketed for any application.

Memjet is the product development and head manufacturing enterprise charged with implementing print systems of various types based on the inkjet technology patents of Silverbrook Research (Balmain, Australia). Rena Systems, founded in 1984, is a leading manufacturer of inkjet addressing systems based on monochrome thermal inkjet heads from Hewlett-Packard; in 2009, Rena Systems was acquired by Neopost USA (Milford, CT), a major maker of inserters and other mailing equipment.

Rena did not offer specifications for the new printer at the show, and InfoTrends did not see the printer in operation, although print samples were available. Based on our booth visit, we can offer the following notes:

  • The printer accepts standard #10 or and similar sized envelopes in stacks of several hundred at a time, and can variably print any part of the front of each in monochrome or full color or both.
  • The printer also prints full pages in process color, pulled from a paper tray that appeared to hold a few hundred sheets of 8.5” x 11” paper.
  • While Rena did not cite specs, the manager that we spoke with did note that the Memjet print bar does print full color edge-to-edge, i.e., 8.5” across.
  • He also noted that the new printer will print full pages in color at much higher speeds than can be achieved with a shuttling TIJ head. He estimated a speed of 3,000 pages per hour, vs around 300 pages per hour for a printer with a shuttling TIJ head.

The print samples we saw were sharp and attractive, and on uncoated paper. While the printer is a potential newsmaker for Memjet, it will also be an important first for Rena, which until this product has only offered color inkjet systems using shuttle-head printers only. In concept, the tabletop color printer looks like a compelling addition to Rena’s line, able to print both the envelope and its insert in full color, at fairly high speeds. As such the device would be useful in lettershops and similar settings for small direct mail runs. Meanwhile Rena’s existing business includes not only tabletop monochrome devices but a few much larger and higher capacity mail table systems, a category to which Rena could someday attach color printing based on Memjet. See www.memjet.com and www.renausa.com for more information.

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