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On Demand Gets Personal

June 1999
On-demand printing may not be as cutting edge a topic as it was in the early '90s, but that didn't stop nearly 20,000 people from descending on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York for the recent On Demand Digital Printing and Publishing Strategy Conference and Exposition.

The conference, now in its sixth year, featured 275 exhibits along with daily keynotes and conference sessions. In-Plant Graphics moderated several sessions and attended many more. (Our full report will appear in a future issue.)

Personalization seemed to be the big topic this year, with several vendors combining variable data with color printing to produce financial statements and direct mail pieces. Xeikon held a press conference to tout the incorporation of the VariScript workflow with its digital press. By placing the VariScript controller between the prepress and printing stages, and adding the variable database at that point, data is being RIPed right as it's being sent to the printer, enabling much faster printing of personalized products.

At its booth, IBM demonstrated its own ability to provide personalized documents with the new Infoprint Customizer, which lets users create customized, color marketing products. It includes printers, software and services. Using the Customizer for Statements with the Infoprint Color 100, businesses can reengineer customer communications by adding relevant data or marketing messages in color.

Digital printing demonstrations abounded. Visitors to the Indigo booth saw the e-Print Pro digital offset color press in action. This four-color digital press is designed for entry-level users, and handles low- to mid-volume on-demand, short-run color applications. It also provides digital color proofing and helps produce time-critical jobs. The e-Print Pro prints directly from electronic data at a rate of 2,000 A4 simplex pages per hour.

Océ Printing Systems USA got into the color arena by introducing its first mid-speed four-color system, the Color System 200. This cut-sheet printing system provides 400 dpi and prints 31 ipm. The 200 has a duty cycle of 100,000 impressions per month, and the input bin handles over 5,200 sheets. Available options include film scanner, film projector, editor and sorter/stapler.

Heidelberg launched its new Quickmaster DI plus at On Demand. The new two-up direct imaging system offers faster imaging times, faster and improved plate cleaning, faster RIP times, more ink zones and a new ergonomic control panel. Existing Quickmaster DI users will also benefit, as many of the QMDI plus features are now available as retrofittable upgrades.

Printing equipment wasn't the only gear being shown. Featured at the GBC booth was the AP-2 Ultra Automated Punch, which uses interchangeable die sets that can be changed quickly without tools. It can process up to 56,000 sheets per hour. The selection menu has been expanded for improved operator interface and increased accuracy.
 

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