Jul 20, 2011
High speed colour continuous feed inkjet printing is currently by far the most dynamic market in digital printing. Installations have quadrupled in the last three years. Impressions on color inkjet printers are expected to increase by more than 40% year-on-year for the next five years. Unsurprisingly there is a lot of momentum in the vendor community to expand their offerings and gain a piece of the pie.
We expected to see more additions to the market place in the months leading up to drupa 2012. Fuji Xerox has now joined the fray with the launch today in Japan of the 2800 Inkjet Color Continuous Feed Printing System. There was not much fanfare at the launch, merely some press releases and news articles. However the specs provide enough detail to write and speculate about the product.
The 2800 Inkjet Color Continuous Feed Printing System is a continuous feed inkjet color printer. The system uses 600 by 600 dot per inch piezo drop-on-demand inkjet heads with pigmented aqueous inks.
The system’s linear speed is 200 m/min (656 fpm) which yields 2,624 A4 images per minute in 2-up duplex production. Some materials released mention a “2800 Inkjet Color Continuous Feed Printing System (100m model)”, which we assume refers to a lower speed version with a 100 m/min linear speed. The system is configured as a duplex printer with front and back imaging assemblies in the same cabinet. The press release by Fuji Xerox is titled “FUJI XEROX TO RELEASE THE FASTEST FULL-COLOR INKJET PRINTING SYSTEM”, which is bit misleading. Although 2,624 images per minute is an impressive speed, HP, Impika, InfoPrint, Kodak, Miyakoshi, Océ, Pitney Bowes, and Screen all have faster systems. A footnote in the Fuji Xerox release amends the statement slightly by saying that the 2800 is the fastest printer in the Fuji Xerox line-up.
The whole system is very compact with a length of the base system of only 7.5 meters for a duplex system. This would make the 2800 the most compact system in the >2,000 ipm range. Paper specs are in familiar territory with a web width up to 20.5” (520.7mm) and a paper weight range of 64 to 157 gsm. The configuration presented is roll-to-roll, allowing for the compact footprint.
The system comes with a Fuji Xerox controller supporting PostScript and PDF. The system includes a color management tool though no details are available at this point.
Surely there are some features and details to be amended before the global launch. For example only PostScript and PDF are supported so far, although with a 600 by 600 dpi resolution the product graphic arts cannot be the only target market. The product will need to address the transaction space as well. It is also likely that additional in-line finishing options will become available.
The product will be presented to the public for the first time at the IGAS trade show in Japan in September this year. According to Fuji Xerox the 2800 Inkjet Color Continuous Feed Printing System is available immediately in the Asia Pacific region and installations will start on August 31st. Pricing is set to be in the 200 to 400 million Yen range (US$ 2.5 to 5 million). Fuji Xerox plans to ship 50 units per year in the Asia Pacific region.
Even more interesting is how the go-to-market strategy for will be outside of the traditional Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific area. While the planned placement of 50 units per year in Asia Pacific is substantial, there is even more potential market outside of that region. Xerox, which owns a 25% stake in Fuji Xerox, is the established sales channel in the other regions. However Xerox is currently launching the yet unnamed inkjet printer based on Xerox’s phase change inkjet technology. The first beta installation is already operating. Furthermore Xerox just sold an Impika inkjet printer in the Netherlands, which shows that Xerox already has access to aqueous inkjet technology if required.
While the market for ultra-high speed color inkjet printers is growing rapidly, so is the competition between vendors and products. The 2800 sounds like an interesting contender and while the compact design at this speed class is an asset, the competition will be stiff. Even more important will be targeting the right markets with the right set of features. InfoTrends is currently launching a multi-client research study en titled “High Speed Continuous Color Inkjet Opportunity: Global Insights from Leading Customers”, in which we will research the current and future requirements that users will demand from these devices. For more information on the study contact Scott Phinney at +1 781 616 2100 ext. 123 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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