Star product: Xerox Iridesse

By Simon Eccles, Monday 04 February 2019

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Six colours, productivity and embellishment in one package.

xerox-iridesse

What does it do?

The Xerox Iridesse is a new-generation mid-productivity digital press, offering inline embellishment thanks to up to six colours in the same pass. This is the first dry toner press available with six colour stations, although liquid toner HP Indigos can offer six and seven colours. 

The extra colour units are placed before and after the CMYK in the laydown sequence and can easily be changed. Xerox also stresses a wide range of substrate weights, plus new levels of automation. 

It is made by Fuji-Xerox in Japan and exclusively marketed by Xerox in territories outside Asia. It is an evolution of the Colour 800/1000i presses, which it replaces. These were launched in 2010 with five colour options. 

When was it launched and what markets is it aimed at?

Launch was in June 2018. Kevin O’Donnell, Xerox UK’s head of marketing for graphic communications and production systems, says target markets include “print businesses looking to take their services to the next level of productivity, image quality and substrate latitude. In addition, there is the unique ability to embellish print inline with additional colours – gold, silver, clear and white”.

How does it work?

An Iridesse press can be purchased in four-colour CMYK configuration and field-upgraded to five or six if required. “Nearly 95% of users have taken the additional units from the start,” says O’Donnell. 

The extra colours use what Xerox calls Special Dry Ink (SDI). SDI units are fitted in either the first housing for underlays, or in the sixth housing for overlays. Since September SDIs can run in the fifth and sixth positions, allowing a double-hit white, for instance.

“Each SDI standalone unit can be moved easily and quickly in around 20 minutes,” says O’Donnell. There’s no waste and no setup needed. “It is the underlay that will mix with CMYK to create iridescent colour and metallic palettes. Overlay is great for solid spot or flood. The clear SDI can also be passed through up to seven times, offering a textured tactile finish.”

The toner is HD (high-definition) EA (emulsion aggregation) particles. CMYK particles are 4.1 microns, working with the EFI RIP to give 1,200x1,200x10-bit ripping and 2,400x2,400x1-bit imaging. The larger metallic toner particles give a higher ‘flop’, ie metallic effect, than previous Xerox metallics. “It really is gold or silver,” says O’Donnell.

To help designers, Xerox offers a free design guide and a Starter Metallic Palette for layout programs such as InDesign. A utility for the EFI EX-P 6 front end can add SDI colours to standard CMYK files.

Also important is the substrate latitude, O’Donnell says. “To attract more volume, particularly from offset, the Iridesse needs to be comfortable running speciality stocks such as synthetics, labels, etc, as well as offset papers.” Uncoated creative papers such as textured or laid can be handled too. 

Weights from 52 to 400gsm can be handled, with an option to take sheet lengths up to 1,200mm. Operators can characterise new papers for registration, imaging, fusing, decurling and finishing and add them to the paper stock library.

Options include a high-capacity feeder, a multi-sheet inserter tray, an offset catch tray with 500-sheet capacity and a high- capacity stack. An interface module can connect to inline finishing units including crease and two-sided trimmer, booklet makers and a Xerox SquareFold fold-trim module. The optional Inline Crease/Trim module offers up to five programmable creases, valley or mountain. Bled sides can be trimmed off so booklet makers with a face trimmer can produce a fully bled booklet or sheet.

How fast/productive is it?

The speed is 120 A4 pages per minute for all stock weights. 

What’s the USP?

This is the only six-colour inline cutsheet dry toner press available. Xerox claims it’s the most automated and productive digital press on the market. “It makes money for the printer!” says O’Donnell. 

How easy is it to use?

“Very, due to the automation and innovative and intuitive design of the press,” says O’Donnell. He adds that the EZ Press Check feature allows the device to be set up in minutes, making it practical for every shift or before a colour-critical job: “It ensures pages are sale-ready the first time.”

What training and support is on offer?

“We offer a full range of operator technical training,” says O’Donnell. There are also self-learning tools and soon to be released courses for designers and agencies to assist in accessing the full design opportunities.

How much does it cost?

“Iridesse is highly configurable so the price ranges a lot, but a reasonable configuration would be in the region of £180,000,” says O’Donnell. CMYK toners are charged on a click basis, with SDI special colours charged separately as consumables. “We provide estimation tools for coverage vs cost,” explains O’Donnell. 

What’s the sales status?

“Suffice to say we are very happy with the market reaction, particularly in the UK and Ireland,” says O’Donnell. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Colours CMYK with optional fifth and sixth colours (clear, white, gold, silver)

Speed 120 A4 ppm for all paper weights

Recommended monthly volumes Up to 475,000 A4 pages

Duty cycle Up to 2.25 million A4 pages per month

Max media sizes 330x488mm standard, option for 1,200mm long sheets

Media weights 52-400gsm

Media capacity Two trays for 4,000 sheets (standard), options for up to 12,500 sheets

Resolution 1,200x1,200x10-bit ripping and 2,400x2,400x1-bit imaging

Front end Xerox EX-P 6 Print Server Powered by Fiery

Price About £180,000 with typical options

Contact Xerox UK 0870 873 4519 www.xerox.com


ALTERNATIVES

There is no other digital press in this price range that offers six colours. The HP Indigo liquid toner presses offer more than five colours (with options for six or seven), but the list price for the sheetfed SRA3 HP Indigo 7900 is about three times that of an Iridesse. Heidelberg’s Primefire 106 inkjet has up to seven colours, but this is a specialist B1 simplex packaging press costing over £2.5m. 

The Kodak Nexfinity offers five colours in a wide choice of specials, with variable laydown and long sheets, but again costs several times the Iridesse price. 

Ricoh’s Pro C7200sx (also sold by Heidelberg as Versafire EV) lists at less than Iridesse, but is significantly slower. It offers white, clear, security red and a pair of fluorescents. Its floating fifth colour can be run before or after CMYK.

Finally MGI takes an unusual approach with its Unlimited Colours option, which puts a hot foil unit inline with its current Meteor presses (also notable for their long sheet options). It can apply any coloured or metallised hot foil on top of black digital toner, at 50 A4spm.

In an earlier version of this article we mistakenly stated that the fifth colour on the Ricoh Pro C7200sx always follows the CMYK. However, the extra colour can be printed before or after CMYK. Apologies for any confusion caused.


USER REVIEW

“We’ve got the ability to experiment, to run two metallics at a time, or metallic plus clear. We’re not worried about greys and tints – you load the job and just run it and you know it will work” 5/5

Dave Dixon Operations and marketing director, Minuteman Press, Bath

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