This year’s PacPrint will see Ricoh centre stage with its new production colour printer, workflow solutions, range of monochrome printers, and new dedicated production team
Printers across the country are about to come face-to-face with a major new presence in the colour business, as Ricoh makes its entrance, with a new colour production printer, the Pro C900, a new purpose built Printing Innovation Centre that is about to be opened in the centre of Sydney, and a new dedicated production team, led by industry high flyer Kathy Wilson.
The Pro C900/C900s will be the focal point, but with supporting monochrome hardware, and a range of software and end-to-end workflow solutions based on its successful solutions in the enterprise workspace, the company is looking at the whole picture, as printers should be. Ricoh’s target market for its printing solutions are quick printers and copyshops, digital printers, in-plant printers and commercial printers, although its Pro C900 is not targeted at the heavy duty Nexpress / iGen / HP Indigo market, but at the mid-range production space, with, it says, a lite price point.
Later this month the new Ricoh Printing Innovation Centre will be opened by Federal MP Maria Vamvakinou, representing Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research, highlighting the government’s commitment to the importance of Ricoh’s approach. Located in Sydney’s CBD the new Centre will be the showcase for Ricoh’s print proposition, and will be the latest in a string of such Centres, with others already located in the US, Europe, Japan and China. Ricoh is keeping details of the Centre under wraps until the opening, but there is no doubt it will be in the vanguard of the company’s drive to highlight the benefits of dealing with it to Australia’s production print community, with hardware, software and workflow solutions, applications development and service support all focused in the new Centre.
However PacPrint will represent the first opportunity for most printers to assess Ricoh, as although the company was at the last show, that was a dipping its toes in the water situation, this time around it is a full blown, no holds barred commitment, with a significant sized stand.
Ricoh was in fact a first time exhibitor at drupa last year, and far from dipping its toe in the water there showed the world its commercial print intentions on a 1400sqm stand with its new Pro C900/C900s.
Visitors to drupa may have been surprised to see such a seriously large stand in Hall 9 with the Ricoh moniker attached to it. With annual revenue of $20bn, Ricoh has built its business on supplying office print production systems, and more recently, black and white production systems, however the company is now leveraging that technological leadership into digital high speed colour, with its major drupa presence testimony to its serious intent, and that intent is now locating in Australia with the determination to bring Ricoh into the commercial digital colour space.
In fact drupa had two major Ricoh colour print solutions, the cut sheet Pro C900, which will be at PacPrint, and the InfoPrint 5000, which is a high speed, full colour, reel fed print system, aimed at the fledgling transpromo market, and which is the product of a joint venture between Ricoh and IBM, although the deal states that Ricoh will become full owner within three years. However the InfoPrint 5000 will continue to be marketed through a separate stand-alone company, InfoPrint Solutions.
It is the Pro C900 that will be the focal point of Ricoh’s new graphic arts intentions, and will be the basis for future solutions development, of which the company says there will be plenty.
Kathy Wilson who is the general manager of production and business solutions, effectively running the company’s entry into print for pay, says key trends driving print to digital colour are part of the reason for Ricoh’s confidence that its investment in print is well placed. She says,” The emergence of variable data printing, cross media marketing, integration of offset and digital print, increased use of colour in marketing, shortening of run lengths and the current economic climate are all combining in the push to digital colour printing.”
Ricoh is making it plain that it is not just looking at print for pay as a fringe activity to its future business direction, but as a central part of it. Like all digital colour print developers that have expanded out of the office products sector Ricoh knows there are estimated to be more than a trillion pages a year printed in colour around the world, and believes it will be able to convince printers that a fair amount of that print will best be achieved on its printers.
“Ricoh will use all its significant resources to deliver colour print solutions that provide major benefits to the digital colour print market and their customers.” says Wilson.
Central to its strategy is the new Pro C900/C900s, its complete workflow solution for colour production printing. As the flagship of Ricoh’s new Pro line, Ricoh says the Pro C900/C900s stands out from the competition with its high-speed, durability and wide range of configurations for fully automated finishing.
The engine with its high-duty cycle is capable of printing 90 pages a minute – in both colour and mono – and has a maximum paper capacity of 11,000 sheets. It is specifically aimed at print for pay, reprographic and in-plant environments, as well as at commercial users such as service bureaux and direct mailers.
Wilson says, ‘Digital printing is leading the way in the colour production market because of its efficiency and short turnaround time. More and more production printers are opting for digital over offset printing for commercial documents. In choosing an engine, they often have to decide between a low-priced light production machine where the performance does not live up to their requirements, or a heavy production machine with a high total cost of ownership (TCO) that significantly affects their profits. Ricoh’s Pro C900/C900s combines professional quality and heavy duty performance at a cost-effective price. It is also easy to use, and we trust it will make our clients’ jobs much easier.”
Ricoh says its 90ppm print speed makes the Pro C900/C900s the fastest engine in its class. It accepts a variety of paper sizes up to SRA3, and with a maximum weight of 300gsm. The Pro C900/C900s does not slow down when printing heavy stock, further enhancing workflow efficiency. Productivity is ensured by several measures: the machine’s 11,000-sheet maximum input capacity allows long runs, and toner can be refilled on the fly. In the interest of minimising downtime, Ricoh has developed Trained Customer Replaceable Units (TCRUs), allowing users to gain time by replacing major consumable items in the machine themselves.
To deliver the quality required for production printing, the Pro C900/C900s is equipped with a built-in EFI Fiery controller that has been developed especially to integrate with the engine and to benefit from its output quality. The processor rips complex colour jobs quickly, and the image resolution is a sharp 1,200dpi. Colour density change remains below 0.1, and registration is excellent at ±0.5 mm. With ColorWise Pro Tools like calibration, custom profile creation and spot colour matching, printer colours can be managed with accuracy. The standard graphic arts package consists of a number of professional features, among which soft and hard proofing and paper simulations. For flexible variable data printing, there is the standard EFI FreeForm utility.
The Pro C900/C900s can be fitted with several inline finishing options that fully automate the production workflow: a 3,000-sheet finisher with 100-sheet stapler, punch unit, Plockmatic booklet maker, saddle stitch unit, GBC StreamPunch III and Z-folder are available. For complete, professional booklets, customers can opt for the ring binder or perfect binder units. The ring binder automatically punches and binds documents of up to 50 or 100 pages with black or white rings. With the perfect binder, users create books of up to 200 sheets with strong, glued backs. The books are trimmed at three edges. Wilson says, “Ricoh has a great reputation for inline finishing, and it has of course carried its expertise over to the Pro C900/C900s to provide high productivity and versatility.”
The ProC900 has not come out of the blue, in fact it is the latest addition to Ricoh’s new Pro range of professional digital production equipment. The Pro line caters to the quality, speed, reliability and finishing needs of printing professionals. Other models include the Pro 906EX, 1106EX and 1356EX, all black and white printers.
Ricoh production print devices are being supported with digital job submission software tools including web-to-print and digital store front solutions. They include a fairly sophisticated store front solution, Digital StoreFront from EFI. Digital StoreFront enables users to send and proof documents from the desktop, wherever they are in the world. End-to-end workflow solutions can be created by seamlessly integrating Digital StoreFront into production workflow management solutions.
The production workflow with Ricoh’s Pro 906EX, 1106EX and 1356EX and Ricoh Pro C900/C900s includes MicroPress which is JDF compatible. MicroPress is a high-performance, raster based production printing workflow solution, suitable for high-volume, print on demand environments, enabling the production of complex, short-run documents.
Personalised printing with the colour Ricoh Pro C900/C900s, and monochrome Ricoh Pro 906EX, 1106EX and 1356EX is possible with a range of software applications, such as the Planet Press and PrintShop mail software from Objectif Lune. There is little doubt that with its technological prowess, marketing and distribution power, combined with nationwide service backup Ricoh is set to make a major impact in colour printing.