PrintExpo 2018: Xerox's Iridesse makes its India debut

By 15 Jun 2018

The much-talked-about Iridesse production press from Xerox, which was globally launched at Warsaw, Poland on 23 May 2018, made its debut showcase in India during PrintExpo 2018 held in Chennai from 8 to 10 June.

We spoke to Balaji Rajagopalan, executive director, technology, channels and international distributor operations, Xerox India, about the single-pass six-colour press that combines CMYK printing with up to two speciality dry inks like silver, gold and clear.

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Rajagopalan: "Iridesse platform is unique because it can print on 52gsm to 400gsm of all types of media"

Congratulations on this near-simultaneous launch of the Iridesse press in India. Can you tell us about the initial market reaction for the press?
We concluded our south India partners’ meet yesterday and the response is upbeat to start with. South is a very important market for us and such a response from this market is a very encouraging start to a product which was launched worldwide only two weeks ago. Also, the feedback from partners is crucial since they critically and objectively analyse a product from the market perspective and they are more than confident about the press. I must also tell you that we have sold the press by only showing the samples.

Why are they upbeat? What are the unique features of the press?
First, I believe Xerox is at the forefront of innovation and for the first time, there is a product in the market which is print plus and I am happy that we have taken the lead. Though there have been a few products which offered extra colour like our very own 1000i, the Iridesse platform is unique because it can print on 52gsm to 400gsm of all types of media. Keep in mind that the speed of operations of most digital presses is affected when the grammage goes up but in this press, the speed remains unaffected at 120ppm irrespective of the factors like grammage or tray used even when CMYK+ is used. The technology of flat paper pass used in the engine is the crucial factor for this feature.

In terms of applications…
In the commodity of CMYK prints these days, the possibility of adding value in the same machine and at the same time producing high-quality prints in a single pass is unique. These days, customers demand several embellishments on print like varnish, foiling, etc, spending several crores rupees on digital enhancement presses which can adequately be handled by the Iridesse press.

Can you tell us about the automation features in the press?
It has unique automation features in terms of makeready. Several makeready steps like registration, colour management, etc, which takes more than thirty minutes in other CMYK presses, is taken care by a click of a button or two and that too in matters of five to ten minutes. The fuser is built in such a way that jamming of paper is not possible in it. At the end of the day, the press can consistently print within a page and page-to-page consistency and standardisation across jobs is taken care of by these features.

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How is it different from the 1000i?
First, this is a single-pass press with six colours which can do both underpass, overpass and print gold, silver and dry inks. Second, technically, the toner is completely different in this press so this ensures the output quality is far more superior and the press engine is completely new too. The ink is developed with Ultraflex technology which is another differentiating factor. The media handling and the grammage are other factors.

The crucial technology for us is the research for the new toner built into Iridesse. I think we truly cracked the code with the toner and the particle size used. This ensures that it can produce the required CMYK output and the embellishments using gold, silver and/or clear dry ink. This is apart from the standard expectation in this class of presses like a full-width array, BTR etc.

Can you tell us about colour management features in the press?
The press uses the brand-new EX-P 6 Print Server from EFI which processes over seven terabytes of data per hour. The server plays a big role in colour management apart from standard Fiery tools like Impose, Compose, ImageViewer, etc.

Where do you position Iridesse in Xerox family of presses?
It is definitely high-end production press. Customers can purchase only CMYK and then add on the two special colours for embellishment. The client has the flexibility and freedom to do this. This machine does both printing and embellishments like varnish, foiling, etc and is available at half the price of a regular CMYK press and a digital enhancement press together. In terms of cost per copy, it is cheaper than the 1000 when it comes to CMYK output. At Xerox, it will be iGen, Iridesse and then Versant in that order of positioning.

Any specific application that you want to highlight?
Like I said, these days customers want to do any possible value addition to the regular CMYK print copy like foil, varnish, etc. This machine would make many of those options possible in a single pass and makes it a “print plus” press. The shine, the metallic effect and the several magic that you can create with the clear overlay and underlay ensure this press gives our customers a plethora of options to go creative.

By not having a web-fed version are you not missing on a large market which is labels and packaging?
I cannot comment on the possibility. There could be chances of it in the future but as is the press can be used for cut-sheet labels and banner printing.

Will this replace 1000i?
We have stopped selling the 1000i for a while now. The Iridesse fits into the platform of a 1000i but is a massive upgrade to what it was capable of.

There were also talks about several inline post-press options in this press. Tell us about it?
Yes, there are variety of finishing options available and launched globally, including the new Xerox Crease and two-sided trimmer, which creates a durable crease-fold and gives booklets a premium quality edge when used with the Xerox Production Ready Booklet Maker Finisher and Xerox SquareFold Trimmer Modules. Since it has been only two weeks since the launch, we have to still wait and see if these options are going to be available in India.

Apart from the Iridesse, are there any plans for a B2 or B2+ press from Xerox since there seems to be a growing market for it?
I agree there seems to be a market for the B2-size presses to compete with the offset presses. I cannot at this moment comment on our possible future plans.

Do you have any comments on the Fuji-Xerox deal which fell through and what is the sentiment in the company about the development?
Honestly, what you have read in the reports is all that I know as well. All I can say is, the relationship has been in place for a long time now and this does not affect us at the ground level. We continue to be focused on the business and delivering quality products to our customers. As a professional organisation, the mechanism is in place to ensure continuity of business in any situation.

Tell us about your continued participation in PrintExpo…
This is the tenth-edition and we have participated in every PrintExpo and continue to occupy premier space in each of them. We support the expo as platinum sponsors only because we see tremendous value in the expo to reach out to our southern customers who are crucial to Xerox’s national market share.

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