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Digital Printing, Philadelphia Style

July 2005
Technology mingled with history as the AIIM On Demand Conference and Exposition brought the latest digital printing technologies to Philadelphia.

By Bob Neubauer

Prior to this year's AIIM On Demand Conference and Exposition, vendors had wondered whether attendees would follow the show from New York, where it took place for the past decade, to Philadelphia. But after watching more than 21,000 visitors flood the show's two floors' worth of exhibits in May, few left disappointed.

True, last year's showing of 25,903 attendees topped this year's crowd. But as locations go, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, smack in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, beat New York's Javits Convention Center—isolated by the Hudson River—hands down. Where the Javits is plagued by a lack of cabs, Philadelphia's convention center is flowing with them—not that you'd need one, as most hotels and attractions are within walking distance. And this year's show was blessed with some fabulous spring walking weather.

Though On Demand 2005 lacked any earth-shattering announcements, like last year's eye-widening news that Kodak planned to buy Heidelberg's digital business, many exhibitors did preview new products. Most, though, seem to be holding out for Print 05, coming to Chicago in the fall.

As usual, competitors were busy trying to one-up each other, as when Xerox introduced an inline coater for its iGen3 to rival Kodak's NexGlosser. Multifunction printers (MFPs) of nearly every speed and capability packed the booths of Ricoh, Sharp, Konica Minolta and others. And no less than four vendors showed digital printers with the number 5000 in their name.

Here's just a glimpse of some of the digital printing systems that caught our eye at this year's show.

Debut Appearance

On Demand marked the first showing of Canon U.S.A.'s new imageRUNNER 5570 and imageRUNNER 6570 digital multifunction imaging systems. Both feature Canon's MEAP (Multifunctional Embedded Application Platform) technology. A Web access function allows the devices to serve as "information kiosks" to access and print information directly from the Internet. They boast Canon's third generation Image Platform architecture. Canon's Universal Send option allows documents to be scanned and "pushed" to other destinations electronically, including e-mail addresses, fax destinations, internal mail boxes and network folders.

On the wide-format side, Canon introduced the 44˝ imagePROGRAF W8400 and the 24˝ W6400. They use Canon's proprietary print head technology, which enables high-speed printing at 2,400x1,200 dpi with precise four picoliter ink droplets. Canon's six-color pigment ink set now offers interchangeable black inks to produce a broad color gamut. Both new imagePROGRAF printers come with a suite of software, including PosterArtist, to design and customize signs and banners, and Digital Photo Print Pro, a photo-printing tool for editing, manipulation and management of digital images.
 

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