ComColor Options and Partnerships Reveal RISO’s Production Market Strategy

Jim Hamilton
Aug 16, 2010

A series of announcements over the past year from RISO and its partners underscore a sales and marketing strategy that RISO is using to focus its ComColor line of color inkjet printers on production environments. (Note: InfoTrends clients can refer to the analysis entitled “RISO Accelerates Color Cut-Sheet Inkjet to 150-ipm with Its New ComColor Line” dated June 17, 2009” for more background details on ComColor.) While ComColor has some opportunities in office multi-function peripheral (MFP) markets, what RISO has discovered is that with the right accessories and partnerships in place it is gaining acceptance for high-volume applications, particularly in print and mail environments. 

The first inkling of RISO’s production color strategy was the announcement by Kodak in 2007 of a systems integration partnership with RISO to enable the forerunner the ComColor line, the HC5000, to be used as a document reprint solution for Kodak’s Versamark VT3000 and VX5000 Plus high-speed continuous feed inkjet color printing systems. This month Kodak announced an expansion of this earlier agreement to allow the Kodak Versamark VL series to also benefit from ComColor’s document reprint capability. Pitney Bowes announced a similar relationship with RISO at ON DEMAND 2009 and extended it to include ComColor at ON DEMAND 2010. Also of interest were two announcements that RISO made at Print 09 last fall. The first was an envelope feeder called the KR324-R that was developed by RISO partner Kirk Rudy. RISO also has an envelope feeder called the AR9100 that it positions for office and in-plant environments. The KR324-R is RISO’s option for high-speed, high-volume, uninterrupted printing use in commercial markets. The other Print 09 announcement was about RISO’s MICR-Mate, which uses a mechanical chassis from partner Kirk Rudy plus software and vision technology from The Solutions Group. MICR-Mate provides the ability to print up to 120 color checks a minute as part of an in-line solution with RISO’s color inkjet printers. RISO’s most recent production-oriented announcement was in March when RISO announced that its ComColor inkjet printers had been certified to print documents with digital void pantographs from Arcis Digital Security. This capability enables ComColor to print documents with embedded security features for checks, prescription pads, and other applications from plain white paper stocks, which eliminates the need to use pre-printed security stocks.

High-volume envelope printing, in-line MICR, and certification for the production of secure digitally printed documents in full color are all initiatives that open up production opportunities for RISO. The partnerships with Kodak and Pitney Bowes are another example of how RISO is targeting production environments. Starting with the HC5000 and HC5500, and now with the ComColor line, RISO is unique in its ability to run cut-sheet process color at speeds up to 150 A4/letter images per minute in a compact and affordable device, yet clearly that’s not enough in itself, which is why it’s interesting to see this series of announcements that help position RISO’s ComColor more effectively in the production space. I’m sure we’ll see more moves of this type from RISO in the coming months.

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