Star product: Xerox Baltoro HF

Nessan Cleary
Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Baltoro HF is a B3 sheetfed inkjet press that boasts Xerox’s High Fusion inkset to print onto a wide range of paper stocks.

What does the machine/product do?

It is intended as an entry-level cutsheet inkjet press. It’s a four colour B3 press, with an inline X-Rite spectrophotometer for colour management. However, it also has an option to cap the cyan, magenta and yellow heads to use it as a monochrome only device. This press is designed to cope with an average of between 750,000 to 3m pages per month (recommended volume).

When was it launched and who are the target users?

It was launched earlier this summer. It’s aimed at the transactional, direct mail and catalogue markets. The Baltoro HF is intended to go head to head with Canon’s VarioPrint i300 press and has been priced accordingly.

How does it work?

The launch of the Baltoro marks the first time that Xerox has used its own W-series printheads, which have previously only been sold to OEM customers. The press is fitted with 12 W1 heads, with three heads per colour, configured to produce a single 4.5pl drop size.

It uses Xerox’s High Fusion pigmented aqueous inks, which were first introduced a year or so ago on the web-fed Trivor printer. 

Xerox uses binders within the ink to attach the pigment to the substrate so that there’s no need for any pre-coating or priming process. Xerox says that the interplay between the inks, dot placement, screening algorithms and drop size all play a part in helping the inks adhere to a range of different substrates. 

This approach also helps to reduce the amount of water being put on the paper, which in turn means there’s less drying needed so that the press has a much more compact footprint than other inkjets and should reduce the energy consumption.

How does it differ from earlier devices?

The Baltoro replaces the older Brenva but is a completely new design able to satisfy a broader range of applications. As such Xerox says that it is the first of a new platform so we may see further variation in the future, depending on feedback from the market. 

How productive is it? 

It can print 197ppm A4 simplex, or up to 302ipm duplex on an A3 sheet. The standard speed can be upgraded through a simple licensing charge, though this mainly increases the duplex speed (the figures quoted here include the upgrade). It’s an interesting idea and means that customers can keep the price down when they first buy the press but instantly upgrade when the volume of work goes up.

It’s also worth noting that the press can take sheets up to 364x520mm and that those sheets can be fed from either the long or short edge, which does mean that the actual productivity varies quite considerably depending from one sheet size to the next.

What is its USP?

The main advantage of this press is the High Fusion Ink, which allows it to print to offset coated substrates as well as uncoated plain and inkjet coated paper. This gives printers much greater flexibility in paper stocks, which is after all the defining characteristic of a sheetfed press. This makes it suitable for a broad range of applications from high-volume uncoated transaction to short-run, high IQ, coated-stock catalogues.

It will take paper of 60-270gsm. It can be configured with up to four sheet feed modules, each with two paper drawers, allowing for up to 20,000 90gsm sheets maximum capacity. 

It comes with Xerox’s FreeFlow front-end, which can handle PDF, PDF-VT, IPDS, PostScript, TIFF, JPEG, PPML, VIPP files. There are a range of finishing options, including sheet feeders from Tecnau and CP Bourg, bookletmakers from CP Bourg and Watkiss, plus binding, perforation and hole punching. 

How easy is it to use?

It’s a highly automated system that can be managed by a single operator. Kevin O’Donnell, head of marketing for Xerox UK graphic communications and production systems, says: “We pride ourselves on the automation across the whole range. It’s a standard operator experience so very familiar to an operator used to an iGen or any Xerox digital device.”

Xerox does have a specialist inkjet team that can help users make the transition to inkjet but O’Donnell says there are very few manual tasks for an operator to master.

What training and support are on offer?

The Baltoro comes with a service plan that can be tailored to customer needs. The plan differs from Xerox’s toner devices because customers pay for the ink and charge according to the coverage. Xerox has a number of engineers in the UK and takes care of the servicing itself.

How much does it cost?

The pricing for the Baltoro HF starts from £540,000 for the basic specification.

What is the sales target?

Xerox currently has one unit running at its demo suite in Uxbridge in the UK. The company said it does have several signed deals, with the first units likely to ship over the next month or so. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Printheads Xerox High Fusion W-Series

Resolution 1,200x1,200dpi

Max speed A4: 276/302 ipm duplex

Inkset High fusion

Colours CMYK

Substrates Plain, inkjet treated, inkjet coated, offset uncoated, offset coated

Max sheet size 364x520mm

Stock weight range 60-270gsm

Duty cycle 6 million

Price From £540,000

Contact Xerox 0330 123 3245 www.xerox.co.uk


ALTERNATIVES

Canon VarioPrint i200/i300

The Baltoro was designed to go head to head with Canon’s VarioPrint, which is available in two versions: as the basic i200 and the faster i300. These are B3 sheetfed inkjet printers able to print to offset papers thanks to their iQuarius MX inkset.

Printheads Kyocera

Resolution 600x600dpi

Max speed 200/304ipm duplex A4

Inkset iQuarius MX

Colours CMYK

Substrates Uncoated, inkjet treated, inkjet coated, offset uncoated, offset coated 

Max sheet size 350x500mm

Paper weight 60–300gsm

Duty cycle 7m/10m pages

Price £550,000-£800,000, depending on configuration

Contact Canon UK 0844 892 0810 www.canon.co.uk

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