Four-way Fusion

Line matrix finds favour

While laser printing has captured much of the office printing market in recent years, line matrix printers have found a strong value proposition in high-volume supply-chain and back-office printing environments, particularly in logistics, production, and retail.

One vendor of this solution is Printronix, with business development manager Bruce Wong claiming that the capability to print 24x7 without overheating, combined with a total cost of ownership up to 20 times less than laser printers, has made line matrix the most cost-effective solution for workhorse printing applications.

"The main reason our customers continue to select line matrix technology is reliability; no other technology delivers more trouble-free, high-volume printing than a Printronix line matrix printer," Wong said.

The vendor has recently announced deals with Microsoft and also with IBM, in which the company will continue to use Printronix technology for its line matrix and thermal barcode printers.

IBM, which is Printronix's largest customer, entered into the technology agreement in 1993.

Secure print pickup

As any user who has flipped through numerous pages of printing has experienced multifunction devices in workgroups can raise security and physical problems.

Ernst & Young dealt with the security aspect via Secure Print for MEAP, a software application that Canon and CISRA (Canon Information Systems Research Australia) developed for the company and which Canon has now made generally available.

The application, launched this month, works in conjunction with a user's building access card to both provide security and reduce wastage. Unless a user swipes the card on the MFD before the expiry time, the document won't be printed.

Secure Print was developed using MEAP, a solutions platform that allows Canon, customers, system integrators and developers to simplify the way organizations work by creating embedded applications that transform the behaviour of MFDs, a spokesman said.

The client or Canon can quickly tailor Secure Print for MEAP so that users see the organization's own branding and are instructed in the organization's own language when they walk up to the MFD.

The solution also provides a secure e-mail function, whereby the user swipes their building access card, places a document on the scan bed, and presses Start. The MFD then automatically scans the document and sends the image to that user's corporate email address.

Secure Print for MEAP is available now though Canon direct and dealer channels. For a customer with 10 MFDs, the recommended retail price would be $2200 per MFD, including the software, the card readers and a year's support and maintenance.

The spokesman said the application is compatible with Canon MFDs that include MEAP technology. Canon has been extending MEAP across its line-up for more than two years. Today, every monochrome (above 20 pages per minute) and most colour models are MEAP enabled. By early next year, Canon's entire colour MFD line-up will also be MEAP enabled.

HP to buy large-format printer

Hewlett-Packard announced last week that it plans to acquire Scitex Vision in a move that will expand HP's large-format printing business.

Scitex Vision, in Israel, is a maker of wide and super-wide format printers for industrial applications and signs, such as billboards and banners. HP will buy the printer maker for $US230 million.

"The acquisition complements HP's existing product portfolio of large-format printers and HP digital presses," HP said in the statement.

Scitex Vision had revenue of $142 million for the one-year period that ended on June 30, HP said. The company has principal subsidiaries in the US, Belgium, China, Mexico and South Africa, in addition to presence in 75 more countries, it said.

Wide-format printing is one of the fastest growing segments of the printing market and acquiring Scitex Vision will give HP access to its proprietary print head technology, HP said. As part of the deal, HP will receive a licence to use the Scitex brand name from Scitex Corp Ltd, Scitex Vision's parent company.

HP expects to close the acquisition of Scitex Vision within 90 days, at which point it will be rolled into the company's Imaging and Printing Group, it said.

With Sumner Lemon

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