Pixart owner Matteo Rigamonti has said digital printing will be relegated to a "supportive role" as he announced new software he claimed would enable his offset presses to be competitive at runs lower than 200 copies.
Speaking at the company's new 12,000sqm premises near Venice, Rigamonti said his new software, named Uragano, or Hurricane, can optimise job placement to make his Komori offset presses more competitive.
With six HP Indigo 7000 machines, Pixart is a key user of digital production presses, but Rigamonti said that HP's dominance in this market, coupled with the lack of any substantial improvement in quality over the past decade, meant he was concerned HP had no reason to lower its click charge, and having clocked up 22m clicks in October, it was becoming a big overhead.
"We want to break free from the constraints of a single supplier," he said.
Rigamonti added that the offset presses are 10 times more productive than digital in terms of A3+ sheets, and with job changes at four and one minute respectively, the Komoris outpace digital at lower than 200 copies in terms of speed alone. Then factoring in the costs of offset makereadies and the ability to produce multiple jobs, along with the digital click charges, the breakeven point is nearer 150 copies.
"Unfortunately, one can get the best from these rules only if you can fully optimize the B2 worksheet by putting many different jobs at the same time in the same worksheet at speed. We have close to 2,000 different jobs to manage - so roughly 360 worksheets - every day.
"Uragano, automatically creates and optimises B2 worksheets from the files that we receive from customers according to their size, type and weight of paper, delivery time and run length, and with no operator. These five variables were almost impossible to manage at a reasonable speed by a human but Uragano can do so in real time and enables us to completely fill the production capacity of our Komoris and reduce prices and costs accordingly."
Rigamonti said the new software would be implemented at the start of next year at Pixart but had no plans to license it for use by other printers or suppliers.