However MAN Roland will continue to develop its DICOweb digital offset press, the high volume flexible plateless 8pp or 16pp press created by its own engineers. DICOweb is a prepress to print to finshing press, and is the product that is certain to attract the biggest crowds at drupa. It is already running in a couple of printers in Germany, and is seen as a challenger to both B2 and B1 sheetfed presses, and web offsetb machines, as it will produce 20,000 sections an hour at offset quality.
MAN Roland began as a de facto Xeikon partner three years ago just before the Belgium company hit choppy financial waters. Roland had the option of buying it at the time, but declined, preferring instead to become an OEM partner. It rebadged the Xeikons as the DICOpage, DICOpress and DICOpack. DICOpage was dropped 18 months ago, and the termination of the agreement with Xeikon spells the end for the remaining two systems as part of the Rioand portfoliio.
Like Heidelberg Roland has found it difficult to penetrate the target market for digital presses of ad agencies, prepress shops, and copy shops, and has struggled to compete against the likes of HP, Canon, Fuji Xerox, Oce, IBM and Konica Minolta.
In Australia all Xeikon engined digital presses under whatever badge will now be serviced by Xeikon direct through its new subsudiary company here, headed by Warren Davy.
Cooperation with Xeikon ends
MAN Roland has taken the DICOpress und DICOpack, Xeikon OEM products, from its product range and is leaving the toner-based digital printing business. MAN Roland’s digital systems business unit will focus on its digital offset press, the DICOweb.
MAN Roland’s decision to further advance its own fully digital offset printing press means the company is taking advantage of industry trends towards smaller production runs at increased quality, lower costs, and improved performance. The DICOweb offers a completely integrated workflow from prepress and printing to the mailroom. And, despite the printing form being produced digitally, the DICOweb still remains an offset printing press.
In contrast, the Xeikon OEM products MAN Roland has been selling up to now work with toner instead of ink. Toner-based systems are not part of MAN Roland’s core business. Instead, they are currently used primarily by ad agencies, prepress shops, and copy shops. Established suppliers already exist in this distinctive market and are providing enough services to satisfy market needs. MAN Roland’s global sales partners provide a versatile range of alternative products for image-one-print-one digital solutions.
Three years ago MAN Roland took over sales in this market segment for three Xeikon products known as the DICOpress, DICOpack, and DICOpage. Developments in the DICOpage sheet printing system, however, were not achieved to the degree that allowed the system to establish itself in the market. DICOpage sales were therefore terminated about 18 months ago. In addition, planned versions of the DICOpack were never developed to completion. Also, the difficult and unsure business footing of Xeikon this year was not an insignificant factor in MAN Roland’s decision. The now-complete separation, carried out on the part of Xeikon’s new owners, clarifies not only sales paths, but also the overall situation.
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