Three years ago, when Xerox replaced DocuColor 8080 with the Versant 2100 as it retired its highly successful DocuColor platform and introduced the Versant range, it had assured that Versant is not a dust-off of DocuColor technology or Color Press technology, but a brand new platform with exciting new features.
The Versant series has set a new benchmark for the mid-production presses. It was well received in the Indian market. The Versant 2100 became popular in the Indian market for two reasons: increased built-in automation and the Ultra HD printing resolution with 10-bit processing that enabled the customers to achieve natural skin tones and pure neutrals, smooth gradients and tints.
The digital print equipment manufacturer has come a long way since then. In April, earlier this year, Xerox announced the launch of two new digital print machines, Versant 180 and Versant 3100.
The two new presses replaced Xerox’s popular Versant 80 and 2100 presses. They have the same speed as their predecessors’, but higher duty cycle. What this means, according to Balaji Rajagopalan, executive director - technology, channels and international business - Xerox India, is that the 3100 replacing the earlier 100ppm 2100 model offers a duty cycle of 12.5-lakh prints per month and boasts of “time-saving automation” to help run more short-run jobs per shift.
“It’s an ideal choice for busy print shops that need to turn jobs faster, boost productivity, and improve margins through automation,” adds Rajagopalan.
In addition to this, there’s a brand new digital front-end (DFE), options for inline finishing and 500 part modifications which, Rajagopalan says, reduces production cost and improves efficiency.
Outstanding in its class
The Versant 3100 is a CMYK digital press with a maximum sheet size of SRA3-plus (330.2x488mm), although the built-in XLS setting allows it to take sheets up to 660.4mm long.
There are three 550-sheet capacity internal paper trays, a 250-sheet bypass feeder (for pre-printed covers and similar) and a 4,000-sheet Advanced Oversized High Capacity Feeder. An optional Advanced High Capacity Feeder gives two more 2,000-sheet trays.
What makes the feature set even more exciting is the Automated Colour Quality System (ACQS), which handles colour management and Full Width Array, a built-in colour scanner that works with the ACQS to correct for colour and density variations and misalignment of the print image.
Rajagopalan explains, “The ACQS automates time-consuming daily tasks such as colour calibration and profiling. It calculates values and resets colour tables to original values to maintain consistent colour. The operators can optionally view the calibration results on a graph, a sheet showing graphics with the new colour settings and the previous settings side-by-side.”
In combination with the Full Width Array, it also delivers image-to-media alignment, allowing an operator to automatically adjust for front-to-back registration, perpendicularity, skew and magnification and create and store custom paper and alignment profiles for different paper stocks.”
It simplifies the operators’ job. They can create destination profiles without having to scan targets with an external spectrophotometer. The press prints colour targets while the Full Width Array measures them. The system then develops a map so that output colours can be produced accurately replicating a known standard such as Gracol or SWOP.
The 3100 model also features Xerox’s unique low melt EA (Emulsion Aggregation) Dry Ink technology that doesn’t use fuser oil, giving all applications a smooth offset-like finish.
With one of the highest-definition print engines on a production-grade press, the 2400dpi engine prints on heavy stock media up to 350gsm at full speed, with a seamless intermediate belt transfer (IBT) system that provides even greater versatility, speed and reliability.
“The Ultra HD Resolution is a combination of 2,400dpi print resolution, 1200dpi at 10 bit RIP resolution, imaging path and VCSEL ROS laser technology; EA Toner; and a compact belt fuser,” explains Rajagopalan.
The print server renders images at 1,200dpi with 10 bits per pixel rather than the usual eight. The result, according to Rajagopalan, is much smoother tonal gradations, fine line, sharp texts printing down to the smallest detail, smooth shadows, and overall better vector images. Large gradients are printed consistently, without visible stepping.
Smoother tonal gradations with 10 bits per pixel capability as opposed to the usual eight bits per pixel
While Xerox did recently sell its DFE business to EFI, the new Versant 180 and Versant 3100 are available with either Xerox FreeFlow or Fiery front-ends, both using the Adobe PDF print engine (APPE3) and supporting all of the major variable data formats including PDF/VT.
There are three digital front-end options. The EFI EX-P 3100 includes a powerful HyperRip, intended for complex graphics and variable data; the EFI EX 3100 is similar but without the HyperRip and Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server is offered for transactional work using AFP/IPDS data.
The HyperRIP mode for parallel processing can handle up to four print jobs 55% faster than servers without HyperRIP. Plus, the server’s new Rush RIP mode opens up a fifth RIP to process rush jobs when all four main parallel processors are busy.
Rajagopalan says, one of the major features of the Versant 3100 is its ability to finish various products inline. Finishing options include inserting, stacking, multi-position stapling and hole punching, saddle-stitch booklet making, sorting, trimming, and folding (tri-fold, Z-fold, tabloid Z-fold and square fold).
“There are new features around the finishing abilities for customers to leave labour input and have as many applications to do inline without touching,” he says.
With the addition of the Finisher D6 with Booklet Maker, Crease/Two-sided Trimmer D1 and SquareFold Trimmer D1 to the presses, the process of creating high-quality booklets is simplified through increased automation.
Rajagopalan says, “With fewer touch points and less intervention, the conventional method of manually setting up margins and placing images is no longer an issue. This new Versant press is for anybody looking to save labour. These models would be for commercial printers or for in-plant applications. The presses print on a whole range of coated and uncoated mediums, paper, synthetic material, adhesive, magnetic and 350gsm.”
The 3100 can print A4 simplex at up to 100ppm, or SRA3 duplex at 25ppm. It has auto-duplexing up to the maximum paper weight of 350gsm. It’s intended for volumes of 75,000 to 250,000 sheets per month. The productivity is the same even with the heaviest stocks, coated or uncoated, up to 350gsm.
PrintWeek India’s assessment
The two new Versant presses raise the bar and build up Xerox’s range of digital printers. The Versant 3100 is a timely press for the Indian market and shall ensure Xerox can compete with the Canon imagePress C10000, the Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C1100 and the Ricoh Pro C9100; and strengthen its market share in the B- and C-tier cities.
Screening clustered dot, line screen, FM stochastic screen
Speed 330.2x488mm in internal trays, up to 330.2x660.4mm in oversized feeder
Weight range 52 to 350gsm
Contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Canon Imagepress C10000
Resolution 2,400x2,400dpi, 8-bit
Maximum sheet size 330.2x487.7mm
Weight range 60 to 350gsm
Contact Canon, email@example.com
Konica Minolta C1100
Resolution 1,200dpi, 8-bit
Maximum sheet size 330x487mm
Weight range 55 to 350gsm
Contact Konica Minolta, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricoh Pro C9100
Maximum sheet size 330x700mm
Weight range 52 to 400gsm
Contact Ricoh, email@example.com