Kyocera Document Solutions has published a report outlining the potential and the impact of inkjet for production printing, even though the Japanese company has yet to launch a product like that it describes.
Most of the report, Production Printing, The future is inkjet, retraces ground that will be familiar to most in print. Runs are becoming shorter and short runs are not suited to offset technology. The world wants personalised products, again not suited to offset printing. The high initial cost of offset print equipment favours the use of long runs to spread the cost of investment over as many pages as possible. Digital, in contrast, has a flat cost structure, but beyond short runs, cost per page using toner machines is prohibitive.
Yet printing is far from dead. The continued demand for printed books demonstrates this, as does research to show that printed material has a different and more powerful impact on the human brain than the same message conveyed in a digital way. Email has not replaced printed direct mail.
In the office and in the home, printing is in decline as there are strong advantages to sharing documents on tablets. Consequently, the report says, “the greatest long term potential lies in production printing”. The first continuous feed inkjet presses arrived more than a decade ago and is now equal to offset in quality and cost and with greater versatility.
Kyocera then adds: “Significant work has gone into developing cut sheet inkjet devices to shake up the market with speeds faster than toner by affordable acquisition prices”. Kyocera is one of these companies. It announced the TasKalfa Pro 15000C 18 months ago as a 150ppm colour inkjet printer.
It has since shown an early version of this in the US earlier this year with a launch promised for the autumn, though it will not be at this week’s Printing United show in Dallas, Texas. Kyocera has, however, booked a stand at Drupa, the first time the company has had its own presence rather than through OEM partners for its inkjet heads.
If the company’s own machine for cut sheet inkjet will not be at the US trade show, OEM partner MCS, a specialist in addressing equipment, is introducing the Merlin K146C, a cut sheet inkjet press using Kyocera printheads and a specification that matches the TasKalfa, including Fiery Rip and water based pigment inks. It is an excursion into production printing for the supplier and a first time, it says, that cost of ownership for a sheetfed digital press is not based on a click charge model.
By Gareth Ward
Kyocera is preparing for its entry into production printing with a cut sheet inkjet press. The 146ppm press will be more cost effective than equivalent toner machines and continues the trend to inkjet in cut sheet machines.