Tuesday, March 16, 2010

InfoPrint introduces a the new InfoPrint Pro C900AFP color cutsheet printer; Ricoh is full of surprises and names... What will happen to AFP and those that live by it?

I ran into an interesting press release:

Boulder, Colo. – March 9, 2010
InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between IBM and Ricoh today announced that its InfoPrint Pro C900AFP color cutsheet printer is now available with support for PostScript®, Adobe® PDF and Personalized Printer Markup Language (PPML™). The InfoPrint Pro C900AFP is offered in addition to the award-winning InfoPrint Pro C900 printer and offers added flexibility for color transactional and Print On-Demand (POD) users in data centers, service bureaus and direct mail operations.

In the press release they go to say:
"Customers can now use the PPML datastream to create personalized, variable content color pages to maximize the effectiveness of customer communications while PostScript and Adobe PDF are vital tools for POD jobs, such as manuals, booklets and presentations.

The InfoPrint Pro C900AFP is a full color device that can be used for both transactional and POD applications. It offers customers an easy transition to an environment that supports applications that expand the smart use of color. It replaces the traditional approach of combining monochrome output devices with offset printing to produce invoices, statements or direct mail pieces that are commingled and mailed.

This latest InfoPrint Pro C900AFP model also features the InfoPrint Job Ticket Editor, an external application integrated into Windows and Macintosh drivers. This robust, easy-to-use JDF-based job ticketing tool enables the end user to create simple or complex fully-finished PostScript or PDF documents. Set-up entries include the ability to add covers, insert tabs and select finishing options such as ring binder, perfect binder and booklet maker, all of which help avoid the need for offline finishing."

What is great about this new front end is it is now "plug and play" into a lot of transactional environments. This really has been missing in many "light production" or "fast plastic" models. And I am sure that this front end can inter operate with InfoPrint's other cut sheet/roll fed models that may also be in the same organization giving them precise control on how to distribute the workload. Having the ability to "cluster print" and "load balance" has been attempted by a lot of front ends but many times goes under utilized in most organizations. This can be especially critical in print environments that have "short print windows." Say in the example of billing statements.

It will be interesting to see what Ricoh does come June 1st when IBM leaves the partnership! How well with everyone get along? Will Cain and Able get to work with Infoprint and sell the "big iron?"

They are not far away from having total control over InfoPrint so it will be interesting to see how much development they do with this part of their business and how to they market it on a go forward basis? Do they merge the PPBG with IKON's Production team and put them all under InfoPrint? Or do they create a new production organization all together and move the tools into that basket. I doubt that they want to loose the brand equity that they have in InfoPrint as it took a while to build it.

It is interesting to see how many flavors of the C900 that will come out before fixing what is broken! The C900 is better suited to the datacenter environment where unusual substrates are not used. This is the only place that I had success with this engine. In environments where the substrates are limited and controlled this device makes a lot of sense.

Would it make sense to merge IKON under InfoPrint? InfoPrint has support for the true data center environment and has the respect of the industry as a trusted leader not a rogue pirate like IKON?

Keep Tuned...

InfoPrint Solutions Company, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, brings to market the advantages IBM and Ricoh have in the development, manufacturing, marketing and building of strategic solutions for customers, creating a growth-oriented global enterprise that is strategically focused on the output market. For more information go to www.infoprint.com

1 comment:

  1. AFP belongs to an independent consortium now, not Ricoh or IBM. It isn't going away just because you don't understand it. Its not about "roll fed models." AFP is all about control and consistancy. Take the time to learn about it and you will understand why the largest transaction printers depend on it.