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 user 2004-01-29 at 9:51:00 am Views: 92
  • #4866

    Xerox introducing more new products 

    Xerox Corp. is Making over a classic line of copiers and printers as part of a broader effort to attract cost- conscious customers looking for new technology. The offerings, which were to be unveiled Thursday, include the first major redesign of the company’s DocuTech products in more than a decade. The DocuTech line, which was introduced in 1990, was Xerox’s first venture into digital printing from traditional offset printing.

    “It’s about time,” said Andrew Johnson, vice president of research at Gartner Inc. in Stamford. “There is some pent-up demand for these types of products.”

    Xerox has introduced 38 new products in the past two years as part of a strategy that has returned the company to profitability. On Tuesday, the Stamford- based maker of printers and copiers reported fourth- quarter profits of $222 million, compared with $19 million for the same period a year ago.

    Xerox, which planned to announce the new products and technology Thursday in New York, said the offerings include five new printing and imaging systems based on what it called two breakthrough technology platforms.

    The new technology allows the products to be manufactured more cost effectively and improves the speed of the scanners, the quality of the images produced and the price, Xerox said.

    The DocuTechs, which print between 100 and 120 pages per minute in black and white, are designed to bridge a gap between light production copier/printers and heavy duty systems by offering features previously available only on high-end equipment. They produce customized brochures and newsletters for print shops, large offices and other customers.

    The plan also includes the first office color printer derived from a new solid ink technology designed to improve image quality. That product and other new printers are aimed at the fastest growing part of the U.S. color printer market, which involves printers sold for under $1,000.

    Competitors, including Canon and Ricoh, began to gain market share against Xerox in the late 1990s. The new products will help Xerox defend against the competition by offering printers with more features at a comparable price, said Charles Pesko, managing director at CAP Ventures, a research company whose clients include Xerox and its competitors.

    “I think it’s going to raise the bar,” Pesko said.

    Johnson, who predicted strong initial demand, said he’ll watch to see how Xerox’s distribution channel works in selling the products. Xerox has had trouble in the past with sales.

    The new offerings are timely because they come as corporate spending for printers and copiers is expected to pick up, Johnson said. The products also respond to a trend by businesses to centralize their printing and copying by relying on fewer machines that produce greater volume, he said.

    Xerox is also stepping up its consulting services designed to help businesses cut costs and improve productivity.