By Elizabeth Gooding
Xerox has announced the availability of the Baltoro High Fusion Inkjet Press. This is a press announcement, but Xerox was consistent in positioning the Baltoro as a “platform” in the model of the Trivor, iGen and DocuTech series of devices.
Before discussing the positioning of the Baltoro itself, it is interesting to note that Xerox was very candid in announcing that Baltoro would displace the Brenva immediately. Xerox sold out their inventory of Brenva devices in the first half of 2019 and has already discontinued production.
Now for Baltoro
Chris Irick, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Entry Production Inkjet platform says that Xerox “questioned everything” when developing the Baltoro with a goal of controlling their own destiny through the use of Xerox designed and manufactured components. Irick described a new heart, new blood and a new brain for the platform in the form of the W Series print heads, new high fusion ink and AI supported quality optimization.
In presentations by Marybeth Gilbert, Vice President Production Inkjet and Helene Blanchette, Vice President Marketing Graphic Communications Solutions, Xerox made it clear that they are directly targeting the market space currently dominated by the Canon Varioprint i300 sheet fed device. When discussing pricing strategy, Gilbert responded that the “Baltoro will be priced competitively with the i300.”
Feeds and Speeds
You can get further details about the Baltoro on Device Finder, but here are some of the high points that Xerox is focusing on:
- Resolution: 1200×1200 dpi – actual, not perceived
- Page size: max sheet size 14.33 x 20.5 inches (364 mm x 520 mm)
- Media: 60 to 270 gsm (16# bond – 100# cover) uncoated plain, inkjet treated, inkjet coated and offset coated
- No precoat: Direct to media printing without additional fluids
- Productivity: Up to 182 images per minute simplex, 271 duplex. Productivity varies by sheet size with a maximum throughput of 302 IPM on an 11×17 sheet.
- Executive Black mode: Block-only mode that caps the CMY heads and enables mono printing with reduced ink wastage.
- Signature Image Quality: Baltoro uses a full width print array to provide automated quality control of areas such as density uniformity, image registration, jet-out detection using “Xerox Automated Intelligence.”
- Operator Support: Simple interface with the ability to drag and drop files to the press and queue while printing. There is no need to stop the program to add new jobs.
- Color profile management: Baltoro can profile media automatically using a built in spectrophotometer and Xerox claims that profiles can be created and tailored in 5 minutes or less.
The Finer Details
Speed: The Baltoro ships with standard productivity of 182 IPM simplex or duplex. To get the full productivity of the platform, a speed kit upgrade is required. This is purely a software license – no forklift required – and will add 10 – 15 percent to the price of the machine. However that’s 66 percent more speed for not a lot more money. The top speed is equivalent to 2 iGens. Another factor on speed, and why it varies by page size, is the ability for the Baltoro to print full speed when feeding from the long edge or short edge. Mary Beth Gilbert said, “not everyone needs the highest speed” so they have offered the lowest entry point they can with an upgrade path that adds profit potential for Xerox.
Image quality and control: Xerox stressed quality control through software, as well as placing more control in the operator’s hands. The Object Level Ink Limiting feature allows operators to select one of 4 ranges of ink coverage based on the quality requirements for the job. These equate to roughly a 10% difference in ink lay down. Once the mode is selected, Xerox FreeFlow software can process lines, images and other objects to render them appropriately for the best reproduction in the selected mode. The algorithm used is another area of the Xerox inkjet roadmap that had its inception with the iGen platform.
Xerox W Series Print Head: the W series has been on the market as a solution that Xerox supplied to OEM partners. It is manufactured in their Wilsonville, Oregon facility. For the Baltoro implementation, the heads are producing a single 4.5 picoliter drop size. However, Gilbert says that “the drop size is not the story, it’s how we form and control the drop within the 1200×1200 box”
High Fusion Inks: these inks were first introduced on the Trivor platform, but have been finely tuned for the W series heads and Baltoro DFE. Marco Boer of I.T. Strategies notes, “While unstated, Xerox has put a marker down on what we call “magical inks.” Xerox believes that these inks result in a simpler process for being able to print on coated stocks, eliminating the need for precoats or intermediary transfer while allowing more reliability in downstream finishing as there is less material to gum up the finishing lines.”
Small Footprint: Another aspect of the Baltoro that Xerox wants to emphasize is the compact footprint which is another way to make inkjet accessible to more operations (22’3.5” x 5’4.5” x 6’9” WxD x H).The combination of High Fusion inks, with lower water content and elimination of pre-coating also enables a very compact and high efficiency Near Infrared (NIR) drying unit. With a smaller footprint and entry-level price tag, theoretically, customers can afford more finishing and post-processing equipment which can drive revenue opportunities. With the new platform based on Xerox developed technology, the company seems poised to deliver additional sheet fed options to the market.
The Baltoro is ready to order with a range of finishing options for stacking, booklet making, binding, dynamic perforation, punching and sheet feeding from partners such as CP Bourg, Tecnau and Watkiss.
In terms of ready to ship, Xerox signed their first order for the Baltoro press the night before the announcement and had significant interest from a full-house of prospects on site for the launch.
For more on the Xerox Baltoro, and to compare to other sheet fed devices, visit the Inkjet Insight Device Finder.