Océ Event Presents More Details on Packaging and the InfiniStream Product

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Oct 1, 2012

Last week, InfoTrends was invited by Océ to visit its continuous feed headquarters in Poing, Germany for a drupa follow-up event to see Océ’s InfiniStream product and hear about its strategy to enter the packaging space. Océ also took the opportunity to present a few product updates and they announced a new model in the Inkjet Wide Series. Key highlights include:

  • New JetStream Model in the Wide Series; Océ Jetstream 5500 mono. The printer can produce up to 5,140 ipm (A4) with a web speed of 254m/min and a web width of 30 inch. The Jetstream 3300 mono and Jetstream 4300 mono are both upgradeable to the new 5500 mono.
  • Océ announced a premium black pigment ink for the publication market. This new pigment ink allows them to obtain a higher density black, especially on standard uncoated paper, which is especially desired in book printing.
  • Océ demonstrated a manroland book production line (manroland VFF-2) together with the JetStream 5500 mono. The line has been optimized for digital book block production, but is suitable for brochures and flyers as well. Additionally a newspaper production line (manroland VPF-211) for tabloid and broadsheet papers has been announced as well, but was not shown live.
  • Océ InkControl is a new software development for pre-print estimation of ink consumption; as well as monitor and feedback actual consumption. This closes the loop as its existing TrueProof solution can only estimate ink consumption, not feedback actual results
  • Océ talked about its alignment with the Canon organisation. Poing has become a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) that develops continuous feed products and delivers support for Canon’s regional sales headquarters, based in London (EMEA), New York (Americas), Singapore/China (Asia), Sydney (Oceania) and Tokyo (Japan)

The key focus of the day was on the InfiniStream product. Océ explained that packaging has become a strategic focus for the company as penetration of digital print in this market segment is still very low, there is no risk of electronic substitution and they expect the packaging market to demonstrate good growth. Océ has decided to focus initially on folding carton applications and see a good chance in this market as the InfiniStream technology delivers offset quality at the speed of an offset sheet-fed device. Other observations include:

  • The InfiniStream range could be expanded to flexible packaging and label applications in the future
  • Océ has partnered with Esko  on workflow ( The goal is to build an interface from Esko’s workflow, e.g. its Automation Suite to Océ’s SRA controller, although details are still to be worked out.
  • Océ showed an inline cutting and stacking finishing solution from MBO and announced plans to add in-line coating/varnishing
  • Future  integration of additional finishing steps as embossing and foiling is under consideration.  (Demonstrating the compliance with typical finishing processes Océ showed a very nice golf-ball package that was finished off-line and had the structure of the ball embossed and used gold foiling to make the package look more exclusive)

One other thing revealed during the visit was that Océ will bill for toner by weight, not by click charge. That approach to toner-out billing will seem natural to converters with conventional presses. Installations are planned to commence in the first half of 2013 with a target of 5 to 10 lines in 2013.

The Océ InfiniStream (Note that this picture is from May and shows four printing modules; the device we saw in Poing had seven printing modules)

InfoTrends’ opinion
Digital packaging printing is a new direction for the printing industry and Océ’s entrance to this market is very interesting: it’s a new device based on liquid toner (which Océ did not offer before), they have no experience in the packaging market and need to get familiar with the prevalent processes and stakeholders. They are going to take a very focused approached, with small sales teams consisting of Océ production sales specialists, marketing people, and some yet-to-be hired external experts. The key challenge is probably not so much in the technology — Océ has a good track record and should be very well capable of delivering the machine it envisions.
It’s key challenge (which by the way is not unique to Océ but to all new digital packaging entrants) is in reconciling the benefits of on-demand, customized digital packaging with the brand owners’ efforts to restructure their supply chain to enable on-demand production. Most industrial sectors that could benefit tremendously from digital packaging (pharma, cosmetics, food) have usually very complicated supply chains and it is unclear yet to what extent they can fully embrace the benefits of digital print to enable things like special promotions, test marketing, location-based messaging or one-to-one personalization. Therefore, vendors should take a more holistic view and work closely with their converter customers to develop strategies that help brand owners succeed in overcoming some of these issues, e.g. by implementing software solutions such as digital asset management systems, web-based approval workflows or integrate production with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This is not an easy task and will probably take a longer-term approach. While Océ is just getting started in the packaging market–few packaging converters know Océ –the company is a giant in the field of high speed digital imaging for transaction printing applications. In those applications Océ has developed competences that should help it advance in the packaging markets, as well.

More Insights
InfoTrends has just launched an in-depth study on the digital packaging opportunity: What Do Converters Want for vendors that require more insights on the emerging digital labels, folding carton and flexible packaging market opportunity. The High Speed Continuous Feed Inkjet Study provides insights from leading customers all over the globe.

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