THE BATTLE FOR COLOR SUPREMACY

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THE BATTLE FOR COLOR SUPREMACY

 user 2007-04-20 at 12:33:00 pm Views: 69
  • #17876

    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.