A New Development in the Cut-sheet Monochrome Digital Printing Market


With Canon’s announcement this week of the Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan it is a good time to revisit the size and scope of the cut-sheet monochrome digital printing market. Despite competition from electronic delivery methods, monochrome digital print volume will remain large for the foreseeable future. Black & white documents are the workhorses of the production world because they provide the needed information without requiring the full marketing push of color print. InfoTrends estimates that monochrome documents produced in cut-sheet production environments will account for nearly 360 billion A4/letter page images in 2017 in the US and Western Europe. This is about 63% of all cut-sheet production digital print volume (color and monochrome) so of course it remains an area of vital importance. A cut-sheet monochrome breakout combining US and Western European data is shown below.

Monochrome Market Size

Cut-sheet Monochrome Application Volume by Major Category (U.S. and Western Europe)

The monochrome production digital copier and printer market drives large volumes of print for applications like books & manuals, transactional documents (bills & statements), direct mail, reports, forms, and sell sheets. Though the production color digital print market will see higher page growth, and in some cases monochrome applications will move to color, not all applications require color. Therefore, the user requirements of the monochrome market remain important and must be served by vendors of monochrome systems moving forward. In light of these needs, Canon has released the new Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan; a series of heavy production cut-sheet monochrome digital printers.

Canon VarioPrint 6000 Titan

The Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan builds on top of a decade-long long heritage in high-speed monochrome digital printing. Océ introduced the VarioPrint 6250 in March of 2006 and began shipping it later that year. Since then, the product line has expanded to include multiple offerings targeted at a range of speed/volume bands. Ongoing product development resulted in expanded product lines: the VarioPrint Ultra (in 2009) and VarioPrint Ultra+ (in 2012). Today InfoTrends estimates that the installed base of VarioPrint 6000, 6000 Ultra, and 6000 Ultra+ units stands at more than 4,000 worldwide. By market share, the product family is consistently one of the top-ranked products at 200 images per minute or faster.

The VarioPrint 6000 series is particularly notable for its high speed and its ability to print on both sides of the sheet simultaneously (a feature that Canon calls the “Gemini Instant Duplex Engine,” referring to the process as “single-pass instant duplex”). Two major items stand out in regard to the new VarioPrint 6000 Titan:

  • Productivity – This includes a speed increase for the top-of-the-line product from 314 to 328 A4 ipm (306 to 320 letter ipm). In fact, all the Titan models benefit from a 6% speed increase.
  • Lightweight paper –The new VarioPrint 6000 Titan series can run papers as light as 45 gsm. This makes it possible to produce high volumes of lightweight stock reliably, opening up new application opportunities.

The table below provides an overview of the new Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan product line.

Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan product line

The monochrome digital print market is very large and the applications served remain vitally important to document owners. Process improvements in hardware and software will continue to have an impact in this segment. The introduction of the Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan is a good example of how productivity and other gains can benefit end users. Building on a successful platform, Canon has continued development to extend the product family’s throughput, substrate support, environmental appeal, and other features. This is important news that underscores Canon’s commitment to the monochrome production digital print market while also positioning the company to extend its market leadership in high-speed monochrome digital print.