For short-run, on-demand work—especially work that can be enhanced with variable data—digital printing is the answer.
FOR YEARS the data center at Georgia Tech University was churning out up to 12 million impressions annually and was a separate department from the in-plant. Paul Thomas, director of printing and copying services, knew that if he could combine both departments, he would produce this work cheaper and faster.
Last year Thomas merged the in-plant with the data center. He then made another bold move by purchasing two new 110-ppm Kodak DigiSource 9110s, distributed through Danka. He hasn't looked back since.
"It enabled us to take on their [the data center's] work and install new technology—then market those capabilities to our customer base," Thomas explains. "We were not in the high-speed digital printing market before—but we are now."
Digital printing is impacting the in-plant world like never before. More than 62 percent of in-plants use digital printing equipment, according to an IPG survey, and they say an average of 24 percent of their work is printed on digital devices. Almost 52 percent of respondents use Xerox DocuTechs, and over 48 percent also have other high-speed digital printers.
Digital printing is so big that even offset giant Heidelberg has come out with a digital printer, the Heidelberg Digimaster 9110. This engine is also being used in other vendors' recent products, including the Kodak DigiSource 9110.
As DRUPA 2000 approaches, it's a virtual certainty that other manufacturers will soon be unveiling a new crop of digital printers. Xerox is set to launch some innovative color and black-and-white devices at the On Demand show in New York, and Indigo will make some announcements at an upcoming Tel Aviv press conference.
Though many in-plants still use offset duplicators for short-run jobs, those devices are showing their age. Offset may still be the best solution for long-run, high-quality, four-color jobs, but for short-run, on-demand work—especially work that can be enhanced with variable data—digital printing is the answer.