Pitney Bowes and HP Sign Distribution Agreement for Inkjet Web Press

Jim Hamilton
Sep 11, 2009

By now you will most likely have seen the press release about Pitney Bowes alliance with HP. In short, on Friday September 11th Pitney Bowes announced that it would enter the business of selling digital print technology through a strategic alliance with HP. Pitney Bowes said that its new IntelliJet solution would leverage HP’s Inkjet Web Press and a Pitney Bowes mail finishing system as part of a full system that also includes process control and management for capabilities like software transformations from AFP/IPDS, Metacode, and LCDS, as well as service and support capabilities that will leverage thousands of employees responsible for Pitney Bowes mailing systems. The target list price is not to exceed $4 million including the printing system, finishing, and appropriate workflow.

The Pitney Bowes IntelliJet Printing System will operate at 400 feet per minute in color with a 30″ wide format and 1200 x 600 dpi resolution on uncoated media. It can produce 4-up 7″ forms at up to 3,490 impressions per minute, and 3-up 8.5″ forms at up to 2,600 impressions per minute. It uses pigment rather than dye  inks to facilitate recyclability and therefore sustainability.

This relationship is global and its focus is transaction environments that are looking for a color solution. Launched today, initial placements will begin in January of 2010 first in the U.S. and Europe. In the second half of 2010 it will expand into other geographies. Pitney Bowes is in the process of ramping up via hiring, training, and other expansion activities. Later this year Pitney Bowes will be opening an innovation center in Shelton, Connecticut to support the partnership and to provide a customer test site for TransPromo applications. An IntelliJet is being installed there now and will be used for customer demonstrations this fall.

Pitney Bowes had typically skipped the print and focused instead on mail, where they have established a market leadership position by optimizing and building intelligence into production processes. Pitney Bowes stated goal with its partnership with HP is to help its customers keep costs down, improve productivity, and drive more revenue. It envisions a new class of solutions that link print and mail, building on personalized documents that are compelling and present a call to action.

The news of the HP relationship, however, is not Pitney Bowes’s first move into this kind of partnership. At On Demand 2009 Pitney Bowes announced a relationship with RISO to sell RISO’s HC5500 color inkjet printer.

At Print 09 Pitney Bowes will have its own booth and will also be in the HP booth showing a four-color envelope printing solutions. This announcement expands an ongoing relationship with HP. In regard to the Inkjet Web Press (now known as the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press), the relationship started at Graph Expo in 2007. HP has been working with Pitney Bowes to optimize the integration between the Inkjet Web Press/T300 and Pitney Bowes mailing components.

What’s particularly exciting about this announcement is that it represents a new direction for Pitney Bowes while also creating a synergistic relationship with HP. Pitney Bowes is a partner that can bring HP into the types of transaction environments that it would like to get into. It also opens up the question of who else HP might partner with for other environments. The five announced beta sites for the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press are exclusively in commercial, publication, book, or direct mail printers. Will HP partner with others to reach these markets? HP is already working with Timsons around finishing requirements for the book market. Though this is not a distribution relationship, Timsons could conceivably bring HP into book environments in a similar fashion to the way Pitney Bowes will help HP in transaction. A partner for the newspaper market would also open up additional opportunities. At present HP says that it will use a direct strategy for books, direct mail, and newspapers, but additional partnerships (whether for distribution or technology support) make sense as it brings the T300 to market.

The announcement by Pitney Bowes and HP underscores the importance of application and environment in the growth of the high-speed color inkjet market. The pairing of HP’s inkjet and Pitney Bowes mailing technologies looks like a good match that will benefit both parties as they work together to take advantage of a growing opportunity.

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