Printing press: a machine by which text and images are transferred to paper or other media by means of ink. (Brittanica.com)
Platform: a standard for the hardware of a computer system, which determines what kinds of software it can run. (Oxford Languages)
So, a printing press does the technical job of putting ink (or toner) to media, while a platform is about solutions. It’s not a surprise then that manufacturers, including Xerox, are keen to move their products into the realms of the printing platform, because that terminology encompasses the intelligence, the print services and solutions, the multi-channel opportunities, the design capabilities, embellishments and finishing options… Call it marketing if you like, but the platform description is increasingly common.
What’s wrong with just buying a press?
Nothing, if it does the job that you need it to, and it suits your business model and ambitions. We will always cover all of your options and work with you to find the solution that suits you best. We’re not bashing this option, just encouraging you to consider all available opportunities!
OK, so why should I be thinking about investing in a ‘platform’?
Here are a few things that are worth considering. As we said, we think a platform is about investing for the future, not just leasing or buying what works right now.
Investing in a platform is the start of a partnership that can grow and evolve as your business does.
A platform offers the promise that enhancements will come and that your device is upgradeable as technology marches ahead. Enhancements could include speed improvements, toner colours, ‘inkonomics’ changes, automated intelligence (AI), software upgrades (e.g. FreeFlow Core) or new feeding and finishing kit.
Keeping your set-up competitive for longer with new modules is more sustainable than having an ‘out with the old’ mentality every couple of years.
Investing with confidence in an evolving product opens the way to move into new markets at a time that’s right for you, and build in longer-term profit-building.
Can you give me a Xerox example of this in action?
Yes. Versant, Iridesse, iGen and Baltoro are the first ranges we would think of when it comes to a ‘platform’ to build upon. For the purposes of this post, we’ll have a look at the Xerox Baltoro HF Industrial Inkjet Press in the first instance.
In July 2019, the Baltoro platform launched. Its raison d’etre was to provide an entry-level, high-speed, cut-sheet inkjet opportunity for customers wanting to move from toner devices to inkjet with the catchphrase ‘value, volume, velocity’. It stacked up very well against the Canon i200 and i300 from the word ‘go’.
We said in our launch post that ‘an investment in the Xerox Baltoro is an investment in future-proof flexibility because the press has enough add-on capabilities to keep you profitable and productive for years to come’. In the last few months, that promise has been upheld with innovative enhancements that build on the initial offer and allow existing Baltoro users to evolve their machine.
We might have expected announcements at drupa, but 2020 obviously had other ideas. Instead, at a virtual reveal last month, Xerox announced the ‘Colour Accelerator’ module (‘Color’ outside the UK ;-)). The module is field-upgradeable and increases print quality, accepted media range and automation. What’s more, it uses 50% less ink than competitor presses to purge inkjet heads, resulting in more uptime and consistent quality and productivity. Xerox call this ‘inkonomics’. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is key here, and the new module is proof of investment in the Baltoro platform, alongside enhancements to FreeFlow Core (now on version 6.0).
As far as sustainability goes, the Baltoro is a fraction of the size and weight of competitor presses and uses less power. What’s more, it can be fitted with a Tecnau SheetFeeder BV allowing additional savings with a roll feed system.
I’m not looking at the inkjet market, can I expect the same for toner-based devices?
Yes. Innovation and research are constant across the range as far as Xerox is concerned. The Baltoro Colour Accelerator was one of *nine* announcements at last month’s reveal.
Investors in the Iridesse platform over the last couple of years now have a larger pool of speciality colours to choose from, including fluorescent pink and low gloss clear, and improved XLS handling, for example. The iGen too has been treated to new colours, including fluorescent yellow for its fifth print station.
You probably already know that some of the most trusted devices on the market, the Versant 180 and Versant 3100, have recently been re-imagined and we now offer the Versant 280 and Versant 4100. The new versions handle heavier-weight media and run faster with better XLS support. Like the Versant 180, which can be upgraded, the 280 also offers Xerox Adaptive CMYK+ capability with vivid (metallic) and fluorescent colours.
And so it continues through the production range and into the office collection, supported by improvements in software and services, not least FreeFlow Core 6.0 and XMPie for omnichannel marketing campaigns. Xerox’s office offer, incidentally, has also had a dazzling winter.
Which Xerox platform is the best for me?
That will depend on your volumes, requirements, and what other kit you have as well as which pieces – Xerox, Canon, HP, KM or otherwise – you are looking to replace.
Here are a few links you might like to explore on our website, ordered from entry-level up to inkjet:
Xerox PrimeLink C9065/C9070 (the new C60/C70)
Xerox Versant 280 and 4100 (the new V180 and V3100)
Xerox Iridesse Production Press
Xerox iGen 5 Press
Xerox Baltoro HF Industrial Inkjet Press
To learn more, please get in touch with us, we’d love to talk to you.