Challenging The Status Quo
Indigo's new digital presses directly challenge the mainstream commercial offset market and the domain of black-and-white xerography.
In a swirl of colored lights and exotic music, Indigo N.V. Chairman and CEO Benny Landa unveiled several impressive digital printing devices at his company's headquarters in Nes Ziona, Israel, recently—devices sure to draw the attention of industry stalwarts like Heidelberg and Xerox.
As a crowd of journalists and consultants from around the world took in the scene, Landa discussed the technologies Indigo plans to debut at DRUPA—technologies intended to bring digital offset color into the heart of the commercial printing market. New products include:
• A digital web press that prints 272 letter-size color pages per minute (ppm).
• A digital sheetfed press that prints 136 letter-size color ppm.
• Indigo's first black-and-white digital press, running 136 ppm.
Landa made no effort to mask his enthusiasm for digital printing, which he feels will eventually replace offset—perhaps by the decade's end. Already, he said, the quality of Indigo's digital printing is at least on par with that of offset, and in some cases it's even better. Plus, he added, the ability to personalize makes digital printing a superior choice. He forecasted the end of high-volume publications and a waning need for super high-speed presses.
On a stage behind Landa, bathed in colored lights, stretched the showpiece Indigo Publisher 8000, a four-engine digital web press able to print on even the lightest weight stocks. Created to bring offset-quality digital printing to mainstream commercial printing and high-volume direct mail markets, the 8000 prints 272 letter-size color pages per minute, and 8000 four-color A3 images per hour. It comes with in-line finishing. Another product, the Publisher 4000, has two engines and offers half the speed of the 8000.
"Each of our engines creates the entire image," Landa pointed out—this means seven colors at once. The result, he added, is virtually perfect registration. Therefore, multiple engines multiply productivity, he said. The printers also use Indigo's trademark electro ink, a liquid ink that dries as soon as it touches the paper.