Last week Manroland and Océ announced a cooperative agreement. Considering the different products and distribution channels across different countries it is an interesting agreement between two of the printing industries manufacturing giants. Manroland is one of the world’s leading suppliers of offset printing systems, and Océ Printing Systems is a leading manufacturer of digital high-performance continuous-feed printing systems. Although details are not clear yet, it appears that this effort will focus sales and marketing opportunities for both companies for offset and inkjet printing as well as integration of workflow solutions.
Starting 2011, Manroland and Océ will offer total digital printing solutions aimed at the graphic arts industry – solutions that will include consulting, systems, services and materials provided by a single source. The companies will supply solutions that cover all of the manufacturing steps within the graphic arts industry by combining print data management and digital and offset printing, as well as post processing.
Manroland has expertise in the development and manufacturing of offset printing technologies as well as in the associated post processing and finishing systems. Océ has experience in the fields of system integration, workflow management, and variable high-performance data printing.
According to press releases, both companies feel that their offerings complement each other. Manroland will make its entry into digital printing space and Océ will receive access to new market segments and have the opportunity to extend its growth in the inkjet press market. Inkjet production systems are increasingly being used as a supplement to book production, to create customized newspapers and for personalized direct mail applications.
This is not the first time an offset press and digital printing manufacturer has tried to partner. In April 1999, Heidelberg took over the Office Imaging/Black/White Digital Printing Division of Eastman Kodak Company and Heidelberg and Kodak formed a joint venture known as Nexpress. A few years later this dissolved and on May 2004 Kodak announced the completion of its acquisition of NexPress Solutions and Heidelberg Digital. In March this year at a pre-Ipex briefing Heidelberg announced that it is talking to potential digital partners to enable it to sell digital presses in 170 countries and that a deal should be in place by the end of the year.
Therefore interesting questions emerge. Will this result in a synergy of offerings and sales channels? Could this be the start of other cooperative agreements between other traditional offset and digital printing manufacturers? Do you think we will see more partnerships like this?