*NEWS*THE BATTLE FOR COLOR SUPREMACY

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*NEWS*THE BATTLE FOR COLOR SUPREMACY

 user 2007-04-20 at 12:30:00 pm Views: 140
  • #17875

    The Battle for Color Supremacy
    April , 2007 — Three trends show up if one looks at the market figures of digital color printers and presses over the past year. The first is an explosion in sales in what may be termed the “Light” products. These can be classified as color printers that have a performance of between 41 and 60 Letter size pages per minute and which cost less than $100,000. The second is a drop in sales of “Mid-Market” products. These are products with a performance from 41 to 80 pages per minute and which cost under $300,000. The third, “Press” classification of products are ones with a performance in excess of 60 pages per minute and which cost more than $300,000. This area saw an increase in sales.  The first “Light” classification is mainly made up of copier printers with an inbuilt scanner. Infotrends reports sales in the USA in 2006 of 26,000 such products, and 60% of these were sold into the office rather than production markets. The leading products in terms of sales in this area of the market come from Ricoh and are sold either by them or their OEM partners. Their 2006 sales have increased on 2005 figures by around 277%.

    The first “Light” classification is mainly made up of copier printers with an inbuilt scanner. Infotrends reports sales in the USA in 2006 of 26,000 such products, and 60% of these were sold into the office rather than production markets.

    In Europe there is a similar pattern with Ricoh having 42% 0f this market compared with Xerox’s 38%. No doubt Xerox rue having their big selling Docucolor 240 running at only 40 pages/min at which speed it falls into a lower category. If it ran one page/minute faster then Xerox would be the leader in this market category. In the “Press” end of the market HP Indigo claims top spot in both USA and Europe where its range of product overall sold slightly more than Xerox’s iGen3. If however one looks at this area of the market in a different fashion and instead works on a speed of presses running at greater than 60 pages/minute rather than a price factor of greater than $300,000, then Xerox is the market leader with more than 50% of the market, followed by RISO with 25%, then Indigo with 12.3% and Kodak Nexpress with 4.7%.

    The reason I am putting all these figures down is to lead up to the battle for market supremacy that will hot up following announcements being made at OnDemand. The “Light” market will continue to grow substantially.

     Konica Minolta up to now have been number three in USA but this may well change as their bizHub Pro C6500 really starts to sell both through their own channels and through the Océ channel. Océ have OEM’d this product. This product that started to ship late last year set a new performance standard for this market. Xerox however is stepping up to the plate with their new Docucolor 260 that competes on performance, and which I predict will become a major sales success. Xerox are also upgrading their Docucolor 240 and 250 products with slightly greater speed. We don’t know if Ricoh have anything more to come with a faster version of their Aficio 5560 product.

    Another product that could really stir up the market is coming from HP. This is the CM8050/8060 MFP product announced last week.

    Another product that could really stir up the market is coming from HP. This is the CM8050/8060 MFP product announced last week. This is a 50 page per minute inkjet color copier printer using HP’s Edgeline technology. It is claimed to be targeted at the office market although one can see that the Edgeline printing technology is quite capable of higher quality printing for photographic image reproduction. I would not be surprised to see future products using Edgeline be offered more into the production environment. If the product is to be at OnDemand I would certainly want to know more about its operation and whether it is a real competitor to the established “Light” products. For example it offers two color modes, professional and general office color. What is the downside in terms of performance and running costs for professional color? Also how much does it slow down to print an 11 x 17 inch page?

    In the “Mid-Market” there is to my understanding only one new product, but this could make a significant impact on this area of the market and perhaps take work away from the “Press” area. This product is the new Kodak Nexpress M700. This is in fact the Canon ImagePRESS C7000VP print engine that Kodak has taken on an OEM basis. It is linked up with the latest version of the Kodak Nexstation digital front end, as well as having some operator replaceable components. This product appears to compete somewhat with the base level Nexpress 2100 Plus in terms of performance and quality, although the 2100 Plus has a much higher duty cycle. Obviously the price is important and this new Nexpress M700 will enable Kodak to compete aggressively against Xerox’s Docucolor 5000, 7000 and 8000.

    In the “Press” area of the market the new must see product is also from Kodak. This is the Nexpress S3000 digital color production press. This press is aimed to go head-to-head with the Xerox iGen3 90 and 110 presses.
    In the “Press” area of the market the new must see product is also from Kodak. This is the Nexpress S3000 digital color production press. This press is aimed to go head-to-head with the Xerox iGen3 90 and 110 presses. Up to now Kodak’s 2100 and 2500 Plus presses just lacked a little firepower to compete against the iGen3 presses. The Nexpress S3000 is a development of the Nexpress 2500. Customers wishing to take advantage of the speed of this new production digital color press can purchase a new Nexpress 2500 press now with an available upgrade option to the speed of the Nexpress S3000 press.  The upgrade will be available for installation at the same time the S3000 systems are available. The Nexpress S3000 digital production color press is scheduled for availability in October 2007.
    As can be see the digital color printing market is heating up. Sales are increasing at the upper and lower end of the market, and this is at present impacting the “Mid-Market” area. Perhaps the new Nexpress M700 and the Canon ImagePRESS C7000VP coming to market will starts this area of the market moving faster. In all areas all the suppliers are expanding their sales. Whereas Xerox has dominated this market in most segments for many years, they are now getting some very serious competition. Xerox sales however are continuing to increase in numbers but their overall market share percentage is falling. The next market area we can expect to see developments will be in the continuous feed area and this is where we shall see the big push into converting this market from monochrome to color.