Australia Post takes on BPO giants with multimillion-dollar in-house inkjet move

The two Océ ColorStream 3700 Twin presses will be “the first in Australia dedicated to the transactional market”, according to Australia Post.

The machines are scheduled to be installed at Australia Post’s Sydney and Melbourne print facilities later this month.

The fit-out also includes the multimillion-dollar purchase of a new software system to drive transactional printing as well as a Pitney Bowes Rival inserting system.

Australia Post said the Océ presses would help its push to become Australia’s multi-channel communications leader as it could now do full-colour, continuous-feed inkjet production.

“They will replace previously used offset shell processes, and offer major productivity savings, quality improvements and waste reduction.”

This investment makes the relationship between Australia Post and Salmat even more intriguing.

Salmat already has high-speed Océ inkjet technology for transactional mail production thanks to its pair of Jetstream 2200 lines.

The BPO giant is the country’s biggest mail producer and as such has been a close partner with Australia Post in the mail channel, but the two are also expected to become increasingly fierce competitors in the fledgling digital postbox sector.

Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that the postal agency is the mystery bidder for Salmat’s BPO business.

The presses, which were released in February, can reach speeds of 100 metres per minute (mpm) or 1,350 A4 full-colour pages per minute (ppm).

Salmat’s Océ Jetstream 2200s can reach 150mpm or 2,200 A4 full-colour pages per minute. Computershare’s Ricoh InfoPrint 5000s can hit 128mpm or 1,832ppm. SEMA’s Impika iPrint eVolution offers full-colour printing at 76mpm or 1,024ppm.

Australia Post’s IT e-communications head, Chris Miller, said the main reason for ordering the Océs was their near-offset speed, quality and productivity.

“One of the key features for us was that, when the operator needs to stop the presses, they stop immediately and can then be started again at exactly the same place without any quality deterioration and while maintaining full data/print integrity,” he said.

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