Size and Quality Matter: Océ’s Inkjet Evolution, Part 2

By | August 26, 2009

In the first installment of this interview series, Mal Baboyian, president of Océ North America’s Production Printing Systems division shared some details about Océ’s new JetStream 1000 inkjet press and talked about the company’s reasons for bringing it to market. Today he provides more detail on the machine and talks about quality, one of the key issues for any type of digital printing.

NW: What kinds of applications will you be showing on the JetStream 1000 at PRINT 09?

MB: The JetStream 1000 prints everything in a single pass, so much like our VarioStream 7000 and 8000 family of toner-based presses, adding MICR is really just business as usual. At PRINT we’ll be running a number of apps using MICR printing and showing how trans-promo statements printed on the JetStream 1000 meet all newly announced regulations and are CPSA compliant. We’ll also be running full color books and a newspaper application that shows how inkjet can be a real fit for the changing shape of the newspaper industry.

NW: OK. What’s else is new and different about JetStream 1000? I know it’s smaller than the other JetStream models.

MB: That’s right, Noel, it’s much smaller than the rest of the JetStream line but there’s a lot going on in the smaller package. The JetStream 1000 offers duplex printing capability in a “one-box” configuration rather than the conventional “twin” configuration used for most inkjet and toner-based continuous feed printers. In fact, the JetStream 1000 has a 30 percent smaller footprint than competitive devices; taking up less floor space. Although the JetStream 1000 is up to 20 percent faster than some of our competitors, its smaller size and lower speed compared to the JetStream1500 and JetStream 2200 fits the needs of print providers with moderate print volumes who still want to provide cost-effective full-color printing for their customers. For example, take a service bureau that has several cut sheet or maybe even a couple of continuous feed black-and-white presses. Many shops like that want to make the shift to color and maybe add some capacity but they don’t always have the floor space for some of the larger inkjet systems on the market. The Jet Stream 1000 is smaller than a dual-engine toner-based press and takes up about the same amount of space as a couple of monochrome toner-based cut-sheet presses. But it can print over 1,000 duplex, full-color pages a minute and can produce up to 20 million pages a month. We believe these characteristics make it a great fit for a large segment of the market today, and one that spans many applications.

NW: Two of the inevitable questions I hear regarding inkjet are about quality and whether dye-based or pigment inks are better. Of course quality is both subjective and objective and the type of ink is certainly a part of it. Tell me about Océ’s perspective on inkjet quality and how you see it evolving.

MB: Quality has always been in the eye of the beholder. As you know, ink acts very differently on a page than toner. Our DigiDot technology lets us produce very small droplet sizes which provide higher quality images, smoother halftones and excellent color output with less ink and less waste. Being able to vary drop sizes gives customers better control when printing photos and provides better reproduction of fine details. We’ve been able to do this with dye-based inks too, which helps control costs. In fact, several of our JetStream customers tell us that our dye based ink output has higher quality than many of the pigment ink samples they have seen from other competitive products. And don’t forget paper! It’s another very important aspect of quality. We’re working closely with a number of paper vendors in developing substrates that will meet the cost and quality targets our customers require for a full range of applications.

Given Océ’s history in electrophotographic printing, it’s very interesting that the company’s move into inkjet has happened so quickly. This is the result of leveraging existing Océ technology and an alliance with Japanese offset press manufacturer Miyakoshi to develop the JetStream line and bring it to market. Of course, with digital printing it’s not just the machine but the front-end and software. And that’s what we talk about next time in Part 3, Leveraging a Legacy.

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3 thoughts on “Size and Quality Matter: Océ’s Inkjet Evolution, Part 2

  1. Michael J

    Anything that can be shared about the TCO net of the capital investiment. From what I read about the Kodak Prosper, it seems that according to my back of the envelopment calculation, one could produce a 24 page black and white newspaper product for around 10 cents. If I’ve got that right, it should mean it could be sold at a profit for 20 cents an issue.

    At that price, I have to believe there is a product waiting to be invented that could go a long way to supplementing digital textbooks in the States. If smart QR is added to the mix, the newspaper could act as a “table of contents” to movies, videos and deeper resources in science education that are found on the web.

  2. Marc

    As I stated in my previous post, the key is affordability. Such printers have to have a cost base of around US$ 250,000 or less in order to become mainstream. Small to medium sized printers simply cannot afford to make million dollar investments.

  3. Michael J


    I was thinking that maybe a publisher could make the investment and set it up at a Printer. It seems that’s what the Evening Mail did with Screen equipment and a branch of Alphagraphics. That’s why I was asking about the TCO less the investment.

    It seems to me that some kind of new deal could be worked out. Printers do not have capital. The paper companies can no longer supply working capital. The banks are not happy about supplying working capital. So maybe the equipment manufacturers or the publisher for a piece of the action going forward?

    We agree that very few printers only have that kind of capital to invest.

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