Canon ImagePress C800

Canon hopes to capture 30% of digital print market with the 80ppm printer. Ramu Ramanathan finds out, if the claims that the C800 is designed to make print firms money is true or not.

19 Sep 2014 | By Ramu Ramanathan

It was a show of strength. Seven years into their presence in India, Canon announced the launch of the ImagePress C800 series on 3 September 2014, comprising the C700 and C800, in front of 125 Canon India customers at the Hyatt Regency in Gurgaon. 
Canon’s colour production cut-sheet presses features a new toner, laser imaging and colour calibration technology, which according to Puneet Datta, director, professional printing products, “will bridge the gap between Canon’s ImageRunner C9000 series, which has a duty cycle of 350,000 A4 pages and a speed of 80ppm, and the ImagePress C6011S, which has a cycle of 700,000 pages.”
Canon’s six year journey began with the installation of the VP 7000 in Delhi at the hands of Sachin Tendulkar in October 2007. It was the seed of Canon’s colour production press in India. 
Today, the Rs 2000-cr Japanese firm has 157 Imagepress colour installations in India. This, according to Alex Kato, the general manager, OIOP production system, Canon in Tokyo, says, makes India the number ten country in the world terms of an installed base of C6000 and C7000. He says, “With the C800 and C700, India could easily become number five in the world ranking in a year.”
Targets entry level
Of the two new devices, the ImagePress C800 was inaugurated by Mr.Kato, general manager, Canon Inc  along with Kazutada Kobayashi, president and CEO of Canon India, Dr Alok Bharadwaj, executive vice president & Puneet Datta, director, professional printing products Canon India. This device which operates at 80ppm has a duty cycle of 500,000 pages. Meanwhile the C700 runs at 70ppm and has a duty cycle of 400,000 pages.
Canon offered special prices for its customers in the range less than half a crore rupees for the new devices. Interestingly, Datta offered Rs 5-lakh worth of free prints for the first 50 customers who install either of the two devices.
The Canon C800, according to Datta, has “a number of brand new features, including Canon’s new Consistently Vivid (CV) toner”, which has been adapted and improved from the Vivid toner on the C7011; and new automated registration, new elastic intermediate transfer belt and colour calibration tools.
Datta and the Canon India team – is very bullish about the light-mid segment which “is growing rapidly and is poised to go from two thirds to three quarters of the digital production market.” Almost two thirds of all digital colour production presses sold in India are in the 60 to 80 page per minute range and it is the sector where there is most growth. To reach out to this segment, Canon’s efforts will be backed by its existing Direct Service Model. This means, more feet and more print brains on the ground.
Today, the firm has operations in 33 locations. With the two new devices (and C 600, soon), the company will reach out to the non-metro graphic arts firms. The plan, Datta says is, “to set high service standards and deploy people in Lucknow, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad and Ludhiana”.
Canon competes with big three 
In recent times, there’s been a slew of light-mid production machines, and it’s one segment where Canon did not have much presence, barring the imageRunner Advance C9280 Pro. And significantly had slipped from its dominant position yielding to its rivals Xerox, Ricoh and Konica Minolta, who introduced a series of new products. The launch, as part of the national customer meet of professional printing products, was significant from the customers’ point of view. A print firm CEO who checked out the C800 said, the obvious comparison with the rest are two-fold. Canon’s print resolution is 2400x2400 versus the competition is 1200x1200 and the print peak volume is 400,000 versus competition which is 330,000.
Datta states, the launch of the C700 and C800 is “a good move and a fantastic technology”. He adds, it shows Canon’s commitment and dedication of winning back the pre-dominant position in India. “With the new C800 range, Canon has developed a printer, which it believes will deliver quality and reliability that print houses are looking for.” The customer base is: print for pay print firms and franchises; plus book print firms, especially those who seek the banner-size for book covers; and finally the office management blue chip companies who prefer not to install a heavy duty colour digital press on their premises. 

The C800 USP
The new machine has a new imaging unit. It uses the Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) lasers, a 32 multi-beam system, which results in 2400dpi resolution at 8-bits per pixel, which Datta claims, delivers flexibility in the screening and image placement, as a result, the image placement is near accurate and compensates for any distortion caused by paper skew or shrinkage. “These technologies, together with enhanced colour calibration, deliver the required print quality for even the most demanding environments,” says Dutta. 
This Datta says enables quite sharp text on applications like visiting cards (upto 3-point size) apart from razor sharp images due to high resolution.
All this enables automatic duplex printing on 300gsm sheets, with sheet registration accuracy improved to less than 1mm. “The new compact and highly accurate registration technology that assures best-in-class results whether printing one sheet or thousands,” says Datta.

That Canon has innovated through its R&D is evident from the new Colour Vivid (CV) toner. The new CV toner along with the new EITB and advanced fixing technology (induction belt fixing) improves transfer efficiency for enhanced colour consistency. Datta adds, “It can produce brighter and dazzling print accurately across a wide variety of media including textured media.” 


Customer-driven improvements
The new C800 incorporates a range of innovative technologies from small footprint, end-to-end productivity, low power consumption to versatile media handling. Datta says, that most of the new features are driven by customer feedback. He explains, “Our R&D team in Japan has invested a lot of their time and energy into this device. That’s the reason, there are special tweaks for customers in India and China. And so, for the C800, nine out of the ten most-used textured paper in India can print on a C800. 
According to a Canon team member, “The two devices can print on a variety of media, including uneven media such as textured or recycled substrates, from 52-300gsm (or up to 220gsm without any speed reduction).”
And so the C800 has feeding options, which include a multiple drawer feeder able to hold a total of 6000 sheets or the Pod, that can hold up to 3500 sheets. On the output side for near line and offline finishing there is a high-capacity stacker in addition to a number of online finishing options.
Later, while examining the samples generated on the C800, the Canon team shared details about the colour calibration technique. This is enabled through the new Auto Correct Colour Tone tool for multidimensional mixed colour calibration, and the upgraded Auto Gradation Adjustment tool.
With the C800, Canon hopes to grow at a healthy double digit. And “capture 30% of the digital print market share in India.” 
It seems, the Japanese giant was awake – and back.