Inkjet flexibility makes short-run printing beautiful
New possibilities for the future
Starting from zero, with new technology and new product concept, the VarioPrint i300 that launched in 2015 has changed the business of hundreds of print service providers. As the European Sales Director, I encounter enthusiastic customers almost every day. It’s great to see how they embrace, and I might even say “love”, this system.
Many customers now produce a much higher volume than they had expected, leading them to purchase a second device. More than 20% of the installed base has decided for a second system. That says a lot! So together with our customers, we celebrate this milestone, as we approach 250 installations worldwide.
The VarioPrint i300 challenged the status quo from the start. In 2015, inkjet was best suited to higher volume and lower value applications, such as transactional documents. For that reason, many print service providers (PSPs) weren’t convinced by inkjet.
At Canon, we saw that, for an inkjet solution to deliver the necessary ROI, it would need to be integrated into a sheetfed printing workflow, handle diverse applications and deal with mono and colour output on different stocks. Our response was to design a system that bridged the speed and capacity gap between high-end, toner-based cut-sheet printers and entry-level continuous-feed inkjet presses.
The printing speed of 300 A4 impressions per minute is impressive, but the automated production model is the true advantage. To start with blank sheets and end with finished applications, in a seamless on-demand process with zero make-ready, is ground-breaking for many users.
With the VarioPrint i300, producers of books, manuals, transactional print and direct mail have been able to maximise press uptime, consolidate paper inventory, remove inefficient practices like overprinting offset forms and keep waste to a minimum.
"By investing in Canon’s digital inkjet solution, we had the opportunity to target new markets with confidence. - Michel Bourrienne, President of Ingenidoc"
On the back of the product’s early success, at Drupa 2016 we introduced the ColorGrip option, an inline paper conditioning step that expands customers’ choice of standard media and improved ink set offering broader colour gamut. In 2017 we introduced the VarioPrint i200 option for print service providers (PSPs) with lower volumes, followed in 2018 by the iQuarius MX inks for improved print quality on a wider spectrum of substrates.
It has been a continuous process of innovation, pushing the technology to match user demands for productivity, media and application versatility and cost-efficiency.
PSPs can accelerate ROI on their inkjet investment by migrating more of their offset volumes. Quality is a non-issue: our users tell us that their print buyers accept inkjet quality without question. Inkjet can fundamentally change the economics of production, which in turn delivers measurable commercial advantages for the end customer: reduced waste, lower costs, and shorter time to market.
This involves adopting an end-to-end approach to optimising production. That means connecting the press seamlessly with digital prepress workflows and with finishing technologies. When print buyers also understand how they can elevate response through personalization by using their data to create customized direct marketing and publishing applications, the advantages of inkjet are undeniable.
The VarioPrint i-series is part of the incredible Canon portfolio, that includes high-speed continuous feed inkjet and toner-based sheetfed presses that are all seamlessly integrated with the PRISMA workflow suite.