As another Hunkeler Innovationdays is almost upon us, we at Ricoh have been looking at the past year’s technology trends and how they’re impacting you. One area where we’ve seen a lot of movement is the shift from colour to monochrome inkjet systems. While this step might be unintuitive, or even backward, as colour applications are dominating the conversation about where print is headed, this fact still remains: 85% of books printed are black and white (and this stat also applies to all print impressions beyond the book industry, including the insurance, transaction and regulatory industries). Couple that with inkjet’s flexibility of accommodating different applications, the shift towards shorter runs, and the opportunities to take on more types of work, and you have the formula for monochrome inkjet being a quiet, but powerful tool in modern printing.
So why the shift, you ask? The book market as a whole, especially trade books, have transitioned to producing books in very short runs as part of moving to a weekly replacement model in an effort to reduce costs by avoiding keeping inventory on hand. This trend has caused a shift from conventional toner-based printing presses to inkjet systems, which are designed to handle variable applications. There are thousands of toner machines in print shops that have been in use for ten or more years, becoming even more costly to operate as time goes on. Printers are often adopting colour inkjet first to accommodate their more graphic applications, and after realising the significant efficiencies and cost savings they’ve gained in productivity, they want to match that productivity for their monochrome work, which isn’t as cost-effective to run on a colour system.
What awaits printers on the other side of their implementation of the InfoPrint 5000 MP monochrome inkjet system is a pleasant surprise: In addition to flexibility of being able to switch jobs on the fly without calibrating and the ability to do shorter runs, they retain the print quality of toner-based systems. The InfoPrint 5000 is a rare specimen among digital inkjet systems for its affordability, and it’s the only machine that can match the optical density of blacks that the book market values.
The power of monochrome inkjet for the book market will be on display at Hunkeler Innovationdays in the form of an updated and expanded edition of “Rural Wit and Wisdom”, a timeless classic by best-selling author Jerry Apps. The 154-page book melds black-and-white photographs by Steve Apps with a collection of common phrases, observations, comments, and conundrums celebrating the lighter side of life in the Midwest. Printed on the InfoPrint 5000 MP Monochrome at 720 x 360dpi resolution on CVG LETSGO Silk 90gsm, the samples at the show bring the promise of high-quality monochrome inkjet to life. (And the cover, printed on the RICOH Pro C9110X, showcases how colour cutsheet can complement monochrome inkjet.)
To learn more about the evolution of the book market and its relationship with print, read this white paper by IT Strategies’ Marco Boer. And be sure to check out vivid monochrome output at our booth at Hunkeler Innovationdays, and learn more about the InfoPrint 5000 MP Mono here.