Leveraging a Legacy: Océ’s Inkjet Evolution, Part 3

By | August 27, 2009

In the second part of this interview we heard more details about Océ’s new JetStream 1000 inkjet press, how it fits into the market, and about print quality on inkjet systems. In today’s installment, Mal Baboyian talks about how Océ, with its legacy of toner-based printing is making the transition and commitment to inkjet.

NW: Mal, most people probably don’t think of Océ as having a history in inkjet printing, yet you’ve introduced several models of the JetStream family in a bit over a year and a half. But you haven’t done this on your own. Tell me about the alliance with Miyakoshi that has led to the JetStream line.

MB: Let me answer that in a couple of steps. First, Océ actually has developed a lot of inkjet technology and provided innovation and industry leadership in a number of markets. Our first inkjet products came to market almost 15 years ago. The wide format side of the company has been very successful and has the leading market share in some segments of wide and superwide format printing. Some machines, like the Arizona line of flatbed printers that can also print roll-to-roll, have won awards for innovation and quality. Last year at drupa I’m sure you saw our CrystalPoint solid toner technology which can be jetted onto a wide variety of substrates. At GraphExpo 2008, the Océ Colorwave 600 with Océ CrystalPoint technology won a Must See ‘Em award and this product has been recognized once again for PRINT 09 with a Must See ‘Em Encore award. Océ R&D developed and we manufacture these products. Of course, these wide format machines address a different market and at lower speeds than a production press, but the underlying knowledge of inkjet technology, chemistry, color, and material science has been very instrumental as we developed the JetStream family.

Second, our relationship with Miyakoshi is very much a strategic alliance that draws on the strength of both companies. Miyakoshi is a well-known offset press manufacturer that was developing an inkjet technology. We’ve brought our expertise in inkjet, color management, controllers, security, and error recovery systems for high-speed, high-volume digital printing. The win-win is that JetStream is built like a press for heavy duty use, our SRA MP [Massively Parallel] front-end can handle every aspect of the data in full color, and can be easily integrated into any PRISMA-based system as just another print engine.

NW: So Miyakoshi builds the press and Océ does the controller. To what extent has Océ been involved in machine design and engineering?

MB: It depends on the press. With the JetStream 1000, Océ and Miyakoshi worked closely to jointly design the product. So together we drew on our expertise in paper transport systems to create a paper path that would give us the compact design we needed but still achieved our speed and throughput targets. Miyakoshi designed and built the type of frame and overall design needed to make this press a reality. Meanwhile, our software and controller teams made sure the DFE would be robust enough to handle the high print volume customers will expect on the press. And we’ve already talked about our innovation with jettable MICR ink.

NW: Talk to me about software and what it takes to operate one of your inkjet systems.

MB: All our JetStream presses run the same PRISMA job management and workflow software as our toner-based presses. Of course with JetStream there are some additional controls for color management, but these are similar to those used on our ColorStream family of continuous feed toner-based presses. While the mechanical processes for running and maintaining the machines vary, the workflow software that manages the jobs through the production process is the same whether it’s on a monochrome cut-sheet system like a VarioPrint 6250, a ColorStream 10000 or one of the JetStream family. This makes it easy for customers to cross-train equipment operators and help contain staffing costs. But you know, it goes beyond operating the machines. You have to be profitable. We’ll be making some exciting announcement at PRINT 09 about some new software that will help printers price inkjet applications more profitably.

Leveraging its legacy and expertise make sense but there’s still more to a successful digital press than speeds and feeds. It’s building the volume that makes a system profitable. And those are points are what we talk about next time.

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