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Digital printing in Minnesota has been a door opener for many businesses. Because printers sell the same thing as everyone else, everyone tries to claim that their service, quality and price are better than others. For this reason, every printer has to find something that would separate them from everyone else. And some business owners find that they have increased productivity after using digital technology and short run processes. Somehow, these gains can be credited to a combination of better pricing and more efficient press performance. Let’s say you have greeting cards that need to be printed. Obsolete inventory through the use of short run digital press can be eliminated.
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This is because with this technology you can print only the needed cards, thus, resulting to orders printed in the exact quantity required. But just the same this kind of printing system is not for everyone. There are risks and changes that need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, the printing industry will continue to change and improve in the years to come. Thus, all business owners and companies have to do is to determine whether this certain printing technique is what they need.
(Redirected from Indigo Digital Press) HP Indigo building, Nes Ziona, Israel HP Indigo Division, is a company that was first developed and popularized as an Israeli company named Indigo Digital Press that was bought by Hewlett-Packard. It develops, manufactures and markets digital printing solutions, including printing presses, proprietary consumables and workflow. Founded in 1977, it was an independent company until it was acquired by HP in 2001. They have offices around the world, with headquarters in Nes Ziona, Israel. Customers of HP Indigo solutions include commercial printers, photo specialty printers, and label and packaging converters to print applications such as marketing collateral, photo albums, direct mail, labels, folding cartons, flexible packaging, books, manuals, and specialty jobs. The ability of digital presses to print without plates enables the use of variable data such as text or images, such as in personalized direct marketing applications, or in photo albums, which are usually printed in copies of one. Digital presses also make short-run and just-in-time printing cost-effective. In this way, digital presses have changed the economic models for print in a wide variety of market segments, cutting down on supply chain costs and simplifying the creation of campaigns that reach consumers in more creative, personalized ways. The name Indigo comes from a company formed by Benny Landa in 1977. Landa, known as the father of digital offset color printing, was born in Poland to post-World War II Jewish refugee parents, who later immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Landa's interest in printing goes back to the time he worked as a child in his father's photo shop. His father purchased a cigar store that had a small photo studio in the back which he developed, using his skills as a carpenter, into his own portrait studio. While a student in London, Landa got a job at Commercial Aid Printing Services (CAPS), a company offering printing services and microfilm solutions. Landa was instrumental in developing a solution that won the company a contract with Rolls Royce and was appointed as Head of R&D. However, CAPS lacked manufacturing capital and went into receivership in 1969. In 1971 he joined Gerald Frankel, the owner of CAPS, and founded a new company - Imaging Technology (Imtec). Landa led Imtec’s R&D activities and invented the company’s core imaging technology. While researching liquid toners at Imtec, he worked on a method of high-speed image development that would later lead to the invention of ElectroInk. At the start of the 1990s Indigo moved from a primarily research-driven business into a full-scale printing equipment manufacturing company. The company's first product would be a digital plotter/duplicator, bringing the tiny company (its 1991 sales totaled less than US$5 million, generating a profit of $440,000) head to head with such industry giants as Xerox and Canon. In 1993 Indigo launched the E-Print 1000 at IPEX trade show. The E-Print 1000 eliminated the expense and labor of the plate-printing setup process, printing directly from a computer file, and enabled inexpensive short-run color printing. Images not only could be readily changed, they could be changed from page to page, requiring neither additional setup or pauses in the print run. Instead of printing to metal plates, the E-Print created a latent image on the Photo Imaging Plate or PIP through the use of an electrostatic charge. This charged area would then attract the charged ElectroInk, which would in turn be transferred to the ITM or blanket, and then again transfer from the blanket to the paper or other substrate. Because 100% of the ink transfers from PIP to blanket to substrate, a different image and color could be printed with each rotation of the press. At the same time, Indigo's ElectroInk-based color inks offered print quality rivaling that of traditional printing processes. Almost 20 years later, and despite the numerous technological improvements, Indigo presses are still based on this core technology. In 1994 Indigo had an initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange, selling 52 million shares at $20 per share and raising $100 million. The offering reduced Landa's personal holding in Indigo to 70 percent. As the stock continued to climb, the following year, Landa's paper worth reached some $2 billion by 1995. At the drupa trade show in 1995 Indigo launched another product: the Omnius press. Whereas E-Print focused on medium-volume single-sheet printing, Omnius brought digital printing to a variety of surfaces, including plastic, cardboard, film, and, especially, cans, bottles, and other packaging surfaces. Omnius was the precursor of today's portfolio of Indigo's labels and packaging presses. At the end of 1995, Indigo sales did not reach the expected levels, and the company found itself overstaffed. Despite a strong rise in revenues to $165 million, the company posted its fourth year of losses, of about $40 million. George Soros however still believed in the company’s potential and increased his investment to 30 percent of Indigo's shares by 1997. By 1998 the company improved its financial performance and revenues passed the $200 million mark for the first time. Hewlett-Packard offices in Nes Ziona In 2000 the Hewlett-Packard company made a $100m investment in Indigo, buying 14.8 million of Indigo's common shares, which represented 13.4 percent of the company's outstanding shares. On September 6, 2001, HP announced that it would acquire the remaining outstanding shares of Indigo Indigo N.V. (NASDAQ: INDG) for approximately $629 million in HP common stock and a potential future cash payment of up to $253 million contingent upon Indigo's achievement of long-term revenue goals, for an aggregate potential payment of up to $882 million.  In the following years, HP continued to invest in Israel-based graphic arts companies, acquiring Scitex Vision in 2005 and Nur Macroprinters in 2007. Other employees of HP in Israel (which includes not only employees of the Indigo division, but also of Scitex and Israeli's divisions of HP Labs, made it the second-largest foreign employer after Intel. Under the ownership of HP, Indigo developed and grew to become a world leader in the digital print industry. In 2002 they announced the first product manufactured jointly with HP: the HP Indigo 5000, and their second generation of products (known internally as "series 2") was born. Other products belonging to these series were the roll-fed ws4000 series. At drupa 2008 Indigo announced the Indigo 7000 digital press, with over 70% higher productivity over series 2. This product further pushed the break-even point versus offset lithography and enabled more pages to be economically viable on Indigo. Other presses unveiled at drupa included the double engine Indigo W7200 and the new derivative for labels, the Indigo WS6000. In August 2009 HP announced they had reached 5,000 HP Indigo digital presses in operation around the world. The company is ranked No. 1 in the US high-volume digital press market and, according to HP officials, has a 75% share of the world market for digital commercial photo printing. In March 2012 HP Indigo unveiled the Indigo 10000 B2/29" digital press and released it to market a year later. By March 2016, there were over 200 Indigo 10000 customer installations in over 20 countries. In September 2013, Indigo claimed dominance of the narrow label market, with General Manager Alon Bar-Shany calling the Indigo WS6600 press "the best-selling solution in the narrow web industry, not just in digital printing, (but) narrow overall."  In 2014, HP Indigo marked the launch of the new 20000 and 30000 digital presses, aimed at the packaging markets. The presses target flexible packaging converters, label converters and folding carton establishments. In 2016 Indigo announced a new portfolio based on innovation on four core pillars of their technology: quality, color, applications and productivity. They also announced PrintOS, a cloud-based platform to help customers. HP Indigo uses a proprietary, patented technology and a business model that sells both presses and their consumables, as well as services. The presses are assembled in a dedicated facility in HP's Kiryat Gat campus, and the inks are manufactured in both Kiryat Gat and TUAS, Singapore. Indigo has over 4500 customers in 120 countries around the world. They include some of the largest names in print world, including Cimpress and Consolidated Graphics (now part of RR Donnelley) but also a widevariety of small and medium-sized print service providers and labels and packaging converters. According to Indigo GM Alon Bar-Shany, volume printed on Indigo presses grew by over 50% from 2012 to 2016, reaching an estimated 30 B pages. The year 2005 marked the creation of Dscoop, the independent user's group of Indigo and HP Graphic Arts solutions. By 2015 it reached over 7000 users today, including owners and technical personnel. Dscoop membership is free of charge for HP Graphic Arts users throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Japan. There are several families of HP Indigo presses, which can be broadly grouped by the type of paper-handling mechanism they work with: Sheetfed (or cut-sheet) or Webfed (or roll-fed). Sheetfed presses print on sheets, have a feeder system consisting of drawers and/or a pallet of paper, and print on both sides of the paper (duplex print/perfecter), printed sheets are collected in a stacker mainly for paper printing. Examples of sheetfed presses include the HP Indigo 7900, the HP Indigo 10000 and the new HP Indigo 12000. Webfed presses print on rolls, often referred to as a web the feeder system (unwinder) feeds the paper through continuously in most cases, print on one side of the substrate (simplex) printed rolls can be collected on a rewinder or cut into sheets (sheeter). Examples of webfed presses are the HP Indigo WS6800 narrow format press for labels and flexible packaging, the Indigo 20000 digital press, and the Indigo W7250 for books, photo and other commercial applications. The launch of the HP Indigo 10000 digital press in 2012 marked the first time the company embarked on a platform that supports a paper size beyond A3. With the B2/29.5" paper format, they aim to increase the productivity and application range of traditional print service providers. In 2014 two new products based in the same type of engine/format were released, the Indigo 20000 and the Indigo 30000, aimed at the flexible packaging and folding-cartons markets, respectively. In 2016, Indigo introduced the 80/minutes per meter roll-fed 80000 press for label production, as well as new models of its sheetfed presses: the 12000, 7900 and 5900. The also announced the B1 roll-fed Indigo 50000, which is scheduled for release in 2017. In addition, the announced new solutions for packaging post-print under the Pack Ready umbrella, and demonstrated a concept for digital combination printing for labels. Each Indigo press has up to 7 color stations, which can use cyan, magenta, yellow, black and a variety of special and spot color inks, such as white, silver, UV red and transparent. HP provides the option for users to mix their own ink colors to match Pantone references. This is common with non-digital offset litho presses, and is one of the features that distinguishes the HP Indigo process. "Off-press" colors are mixed from 11 color (from the 15 original) Pantone spectrum at an offline, ink mixing station. Users can also order special pre-mixed colors from HP Indigo, for example fluorescent pink. HP Indigo presses are available in configurations supporting four, five, six or seven colors. At drupa 2008, Indigo unveiled a new workflow strategy for their portfolio called HP SmartStream, based on their own development and on partnerships with other industry vendors. Among the announcements was a [web-to-print] product in partnership with Press-Sense (later bought by Bitstream makers of Pageflex.) They also released new versions of their Digital Front Ends (DFEs). Today, their SmartStream workflow portfolio is based on both their own products, as well as partnerships with other graphic arts vendors in fields such as job creation, pre-press, variable data printing and finishing. In 2004 HP made a 100 million shekel investment in a new production site in Kiryat Gat, Israel. The factory is responsible for manufacturing HP Indigo ElectroInk. There is a sister facility in Singapore that also manufactures Indigo ElectroInk. In 2007 an adjacent hardware center was opened in Kiryat Gat. This facility assembles frames, feeders, and other components with imaging engines into finished presses, and also serves as the site for manufacturing other operator-replaceable consumables, such as the blanket. In late 2012, HP Indigo inaugurated a second ink plant in Kiryat Gat, which will focus on the manufacturing of ElectroInk for the new family of presses: the HP Indigo 10000, Indigo 20000 and Indigo 30000 digital presses. This 118,000 square feet facility is reported to be the first building in the country and the first HP manufacturing facility worldwide designed to meet the LEED Silver environmental standard. Early incarnations of the press (Series 1 engines) were prone to banding and ink adhesion problems. However newer models have corrected most of these issues.
Digital Printing Press: An Update Banner PrintingHP LaserJet 5 printer The Game Boy Pocket Printer, a thermal printer released as a peripheral for the Nintendo Game Boy This is an example of a wide-carriage dot matrix printer, designed for 14-inch (360 mm) wide paper, shown with 8.5-by-14-inch (220 mm × 360 mm) legal paper. Wide carriage printers were often used in the field of businesses, to print accounting records on 11-by-14-inch (280 mm × 360 mm) tractor-feed paper. They were also called "132-column printers". Play media A video showing an inkjet printer while printing a page. In computing, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper or similar physical media. The first computer printer design was a mechanically driven apparatus by Charles Babbage for his difference engine in the 19th century; his mechanical printer design was not built until 2000. The first electronic printer was the EP-101, invented by Japanese company Epson and released in 1968. The first commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computer use. In the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced relatively low-quality output. The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints. The introduction of the low-cost laser printer in 1984 with the first HP LaserJet, and the addition of PostScript in next year's Apple LaserWriter, set off a revolution in printing known as desktop publishing. Laser printers using PostScript mixed text and graphics, like dot-matrix printers, but at quality levels formerly available only from commercial typesetting systems. By 1990, most simple printing tasks like fliers and brochures were now created on personal computers and then laser printed; expensive offset printing systems were being dumped as scrap. The HP Deskjet of 1988 offered the same advantages as laser printer in terms of flexibility, but produced somewhat lower quality output (depending on the paper) from much less expensive mechanisms. Inkjet systems rapidly displaced dot matrix and daisy wheel printers from the market. By the 2000s high-quality printers of this sort had fallen under the $100 price point and became commonplace. The rapid update of internet email through the 1990s and into the 2000s has largely displaced the need for printing as a means of moving documents, and a wide variety of reliable storage systems means that a "physical backup" is of little benefit today. Even the desire for printed output for "offline reading" while on mass transit or aircraft has been displaced by e-book readers and tablet computers. Today, traditional printers are being used more for special purposes, like printing photographs or artwork, and are no longer a must-have peripheral. Starting around 2010, 3D printing became an area of intense interest, allowing the creation of physical objects with the same sort of effort as an early laser printer required to produce a brochure. These devices are in their earliest stages of development and have not yet become commonplace. Personal printers are primarily designed to support individual users, and may be connected to only a single computer. These printers are designed for low-volume, short-turnaround print jobs, requiring minimal setup time to produce a hard copy of a given document. However, they are generally slow devices ranging from 6 to around 25 pages per minute (ppm), and the cost per page is relatively high. However, this is offset by the on-demand convenience. Some printers can print documents stored on memory cards or from digital cameras and scanners. Networked or shared printers are "designed for high-volume, high-speed printing." They are usually shared by many users on a network and can print at speeds of 45 to around 100 ppm. The Xerox 9700 could achieve 120 ppm. A virtual printer is a piece of computer software whose user interface and API resembles that of a printer driver, but which is not connected with a physical computer printer. A virtual printer can be used to create a file which is an image of the data which would be printed, for archival purposes or as input to another program, for example to create a PDF or to transmit to another system or user. A 3D printer is a device for making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source through additive processes in which successive layers of material ( including plastics, metals, food, cement, wood, and other materials) are laid down under computer control. It is called a printer by analogy with an inkjet printer which produces a two-dimensional document by a similar process of depositing a layer of ink on paper. The choice of print technology has a great effect on the cost of the printer and cost of operation, speed, quality and permanence of documents, and noise. Some printer technologies don't work with certain types of physical media, such as carbon paper or transparencies. A second aspect of printer technology that is often forgotten is resistance to alteration: liquid ink, such as from an inkjet head or fabric ribbon, becomes absorbed by the paper fibers, so documents printed with liquid ink are more difficult to alter than documents printed with toner or solid inks, which do not penetrate below the paper surface. Cheques can be printed with liquid ink or on special cheque paper with toner anchorage so that alterations may be detected. The machine-readable lower portion of a cheque must be printed using MICR toner or ink. Banks and other clearing houses employ automation equipment that relies on the magnetic flux from these specially printed characters to function properly. The following printing technologies are routinely found in modern printers: Main article: Laser printer A laser printer rapidly produces high quality text and graphics. As with digital photocopiers and multifunction printers (MFPs), laser printers employ a xerographic printing process but differ from analog photocopiers in that the image is produced by the direct scanning of a laser beam across the printer's photoreceptor. Another toner-based printer is the LED printer which uses an array of LEDs instead of a laser to cause toner adhesion to the print drum. Liquid ink cartridge from Hewlett-Packard HP 845C inkjet printer Inkjet printers operate by propelling variably sized droplets of liquid ink onto almost any sized page. They are the most common type of computer printer used by consumers. Main article: Solid ink Solid ink printers, also known as phase-change printers, are a type of thermal transfer printer. They use solid sticks of CMYK-coloured ink, similar in consistency to candle wax, which are melted and fed into a piezo crystal operated print-head. The printhead sprays the ink on a rotating, oil coated drum. The paper then passes over the print drum, at which time the image is immediately transferred, or transfixed, to the page. Solid ink printers are most commonly used as colour office printers, and are excellent at printing on transparencies and other non-porous media. Solid ink printers can produce excellent results. Acquisition and operating costs are similar to laser printers. Drawbacks of the technology include high energy consumption and long warm-up times from a cold state. Also, some users complain that the resulting prints are difficult to write on, as the wax tends to repel inks from pens, and are difficult to feed through automatic document feeders, but these traits have been significantly reduced in later models. In addition, this type of printer is only available from one manufacturer, Xerox, manufactured as part of their Xerox Phaser office printer line. Previously, solid ink printers were manufactured by Tektronix, but Tek sold the printing business to Xerox in 2001. Main article: Dye-sublimation printer A disassembled dye sublimation cartridge A dye-sublimation printer (or dye-sub printer) is a printer which employs a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye to a medium such as a plastic card, paper or canvas. The process is usually to lay one colour at a time using a ribbon that has colour panels. Dye-sub printers are intended primarily for high-quality colour applications, including colour photography; and are less well-suited for text. While once the province of high-end print shops, dye-sublimation printers are now increasingly used as dedicated consumer photo printers. Receipt printer printing a Twitter timeline Thermal printers work by selectively heating regions of special heat-sensitive paper. Monochrome thermal printers are used in cash registers, ATMs, gasoline dispensers and some older inexpensive fax machines. Colours can be achieved with special papers and different temperatures and heating rates for different colours; these coloured sheets are not required in black-and-white output. One example is Zink (a portmanteau of "zero ink"). Epson MX-80, a popular model of dot-matrix printer in use for many years The following technologies are either obsolete, or limited to special applications though most were, at one time, in widespread use. Impact printers rely on a forcible impact to transfer ink to the media. The impact printer uses a print head that either hits the surface of the ink ribbon, pressing the ink ribbon against the paper (similar to the action of a typewriter), or, less commonly, hits the back of the paper, pressing the paper against the ink ribbon (the IBM 1403 for example). All but the dot matrix printer rely on the use of fully formed characters, letterforms that represent each of the characters that the printer was capable of printing. In addition, most of these printers were limited to monochrome, or sometimes two-color, printing in a single typeface at one time, although bolding and underlining of text could be done by "overstriking", that is, printing two or more impressions either in the same character position or slightly offset. Impact printers varieties include typewriter-derived printers, teletypewriter-derived printers, daisywheel printers, dot matrix printers and line printers. Dot matrix printers remain in common use in businesses where multi-part forms are printed. An overview of impact printing contains a detailed description of many of the technologies used. typeball print element from IBM Selectric-type printer Main articles: Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric typewriter Several different computer printers were simply computer-controllable versions of existing electric typewriters. The Friden Flexowriter and IBM Selectric-based printers were the most-common examples. The Flexowriter printed with a conventional typebar mechanism while the Selectric used IBM's well-known "golf ball" printing mechanism. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon which was pressed against the paper, printing one character at a time. The maximum speed of the Selectric printer (the faster of the two) was 15.5 characters per second. Main article: Teleprinter The common teleprinter could easily be interfaced to the computer and became very popular except for those computers manufactured by IBM. Some models used a "typebox" that was positioned, in the X- and Y-axes, by a mechanism and the selected letter form was struck by a hammer. Others used a type cylinder in a similar way as the Selectric typewriters used their type ball. In either case, the letter form then struck a ribbon to print the letterform. Most teleprinters operated at ten characters per second although a few achieved 15 CPS. "daisy wheel" print element Main article: Daisy wheel printer Daisy wheel printers operate in much the same fashion as a typewriter. A hammer strikes a wheel with petals, the "daisy wheel", each petal containing a letter form at its tip. The letter form strikes a ribbon of ink, depositing the ink on the page and thus printing a character. By rotating the daisy wheel, different characters are selected for printing. These printers were also referred to as letter-quality printers because they could produce text which was as clear and crisp as a typewriter. The fastest letter-quality printers printed at 30 characters per second. Main article: Dot matrix printer Sample output from 9-pin dot matrix printer (one character expanded to show detail) The term dot matrix printer is used for impact printers that use a matrix of small pins to transfer ink to the page. The advantage of dot matrix over other impact printers is that they can produce graphical images in addition to text; however the text is generally of poorer quality than impact printers that use letterforms (type). Dot-matrix printers can be broadly divided into two major classes: Dot matrix printers can either be character-based or line-based (that is, a single horizontal series of pixels across the page), referring to the configuration of the print head. In the 1970s & 80s, dot matrix printers were one of the more common types of printers used for general use, such as for home and small office use. Such printers normally had either 9 or 24 pins on the print head (early 7 pin printers also existed, which did not print descenders). There was a period during the early home computer era when a range of printers were manufactured under many brands such as the Commodore VIC-1525 using the Seikosha Uni-Hammer system. This used a single solenoid with an oblique striker that would be actuated 7 times for each column of 7 vertical pixels while the head was moving at a constant speed. The angle of the striker would align the dots vertically even though the head had moved one dot spacing in the time. The vertical dot position was controlled by a synchronised longitudinally ribbed platen behind the paper that rotated rapidly with a rib moving vertically seven dot spacings in the time it took to print one pixel column. 24-pin print heads were able to print at a higher quality and started to offer additional type styles and were marketed as Near Letter Quality by some vendors. Once the price of inkjet printers dropped to the point where they were competitive with dot matrix printers, dot matrix printers began to fall out of favour for general use. Some dot matrix printers, such as the NEC P6300, can be upgraded to print in colour. This is achieved through the use of a four-colour ribbon mounted on a mechanism (provided in an upgrade kit that replaces the standard black ribbon mechanism after installation) that raises and lowers the ribbons as needed. Colour graphics are generally printed in four passes at standard resolution, thus slowing down printing considerably. As a result, colour graphics can take up to four times longer to print than standard monochrome graphics, or up to 8-16 times as long at high resolution mode. Dot matrix printers are still commonly used in low-cost, low-quality applications such as cash registers, or in demanding, very high volume applications like invoice printing. Impact printing, unlike laser printing, allows the pressure of the print head to be applied to a stack of two or more forms to print multi-part documents such as sales invoices and credit card receipts using continuous stationery with carbonless copy paper. Dot-matrix printers were being superseded even as receipt printers after the end of the twentieth century. Main article: Line printer Line printers print an entire line of text at a time. Four principal designs exist. Print drum from drum printer IBM 1403 line printer In each case, to print a line, precisely timed hammers strike against the back of the paper at the exact moment that the correct character to be printed is passing in front of the paper. The paper presses forward against a ribbon which then presses against the character form and the impression of the character form is printed onto the paper. Line printers are the fastest of all impact printers and are used for bulk printing in large computer centres. A line printer can print at 1100 lines per minute or faster, frequently printing pages more rapidly than many current laser printers. On the other hand, the mechanical components of line printers operat with tight tolerances and require regular preventive maintenance (PM) to produce top quality print. They are virtually never used with personal computers and have now been replaced by high-speed laser printers. The legacy of line printers lives on in many computer operating systems, which use the abbreviations "lp", "lpr", or "LPT" to refer to printers. Liquid ink electrostatic printers use a chemical coated paper, which is charged by the print head according to the image of the document. The paper is passed near a pool of liquid ink with the opposite charge. The charged areas of the paper attract the ink and thus form the image. This process was developed from the process of electrostatic copying. Color reproduction is very accurate, and because there is no heating the scale distortion is less than ±0.1%. (All laser printers have an accuracy of ±1%.) Worldwide, most survey offices used this printer before color inkjet plotters become popular. Liquid ink electrostatic printers were mostly available in 36 to 54 inches (910 to 1,370 mm) width and also 6 color printing. These were also used to print large billboards. It was first introduced by Versatec, which was later bought by Xerox. 3M also used to make these printers. Main article: Plotter A Calcomp 565 drum plotter Pen-based plotters were an alternate printing technology once common in engineering and architectural firms. Pen-based plotters rely on contact with the paper (but not impact, per se) and special purpose pens that are mechanically run over the paper to create text and images. Since the pens output continuous lines, they were able to produce technical drawings of higher resolution than was achievable with dot-matrix technology. Some plotters used roll-fed paper, and therefore had minimal restriction on the size of the output in one dimension. These plotters were capable of producing quite sizable drawings. A number of other sorts of printers are important for historical reasons, or for special purpose uses: Most printers other than line printers accept control characters or unique character sequences to control various printer functions. These may range from shifting from lower to upper case or from black to red ribbon on typewriter printers to switching fonts and changing character sizes and colors on raster printers. Early printer controls were not standardized, with each manufacturer's equipment having its own set. The IBM Personal Printer Data Stream (PPDS) became a commonly used command set for dot-matrix printers. Today, most printers accept one or more page description languages (PDLs). Laser printers with greater processing power frequently offer support for variants of Hewlett-Packard's Printer Command Language (PCL), PostScript or XML Paper Specification. Most inkjet devices support manufacturer proprietary PDLs such as ESC/P. The diversity in mobile platforms have led to various standardization efforts around device PDLs such as the Printer Working Group (PWG's) PWG Raster. The speed of early printers was measured in units of characters per minute (cpm) for character printers, or lines per minute (lpm) for line printers. Modern printers are measured in pages per minute (ppm). These measures are used primarily as a marketing tool, and are not as well standardised as toner yields. Usually pages per minute refers to sparse monochrome office documents, rather than dense pictures which usually print much more slowly, especially colour images. PPM are most of the time referring to A4 paper in Europe and letter paper in the United States, resulting in a 5-10% difference. The data received by a printer may be: Some printers can process all four types of data, others not. Today it is possible to print everything (even plain text) by sending ready bitmapped images to the printer. This allows better control over formatting, especially among machines from different vendors. Many printer drivers do not use the text mode at all, even if the printer is capable of it. A monochrome printer can only produce an image consisting of one colour, usually black. A monochrome printer may also be able to produce various tones of that color, such as a grey-scale. A colour printer can produce images of multiple colours. A photo printer is a colour printer that can produce images that mimic the colour range (gamut) and resolution of prints made from photographic film. Many can be used on a standalone basis without a computer, using a memory card or USB connector. The page yield is number of pages that can be printed from a toner cartridge or ink cartridge—before the cartridge needs to be refilled or replaced. The actual number of pages yielded by a specific cartridge depends on a number of factors. For a fair comparison, many laser printer manufacturers use the ISO/IEC 19752 process to measure the toner cartridge yield. In order to fairly compare operating expenses of printers with a relatively small ink cartridge to printers with a larger, more expensive toner cartridge that typically holds more toner and so prints more pages before the cartridge needs to be replaced, many people prefer to estimate operating expenses in terms of cost per page (CPP).  Often the "razor and blades" business model is applied. That is, a company may sell a printer at cost, and make profits on the ink cartridge, paper, or some other replacement part. This has caused legal disputes regarding the right of companies other than the printer manufacturer to sell compatible ink cartridges. To protect their business model, several manufacturers invest heavily in developing new cartridge technology and patenting it. Other manufacturers, in reaction to the challenges from using this business model, choose to make more money on printers and less on the ink, promoting the latter through their advertising campaigns. Finally, this generates two clearly different proposals: "cheap printer – expensive ink" or "expensive printer – cheap ink". Ultimately, the consumer decision depends on their reference interest rate or their time preference. From an economics viewpoint, there is a clear trade-off between cost per copy and cost of the printer. An illustration showing small yellow tracking dots on white paper, generated by a color laser printer Main article: Printer steganography Printer steganography is a type of steganography – "hiding data within data" – produced by color printers, including Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, IBM, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lanier, Lexmark, Ricoh, Toshiba and Xerox brand color laser printers, where tiny yellow dots are added to each page. The dots are barely visible and contain encoded printer serial numbers, as well as date and time stamps. Main article: Wireless printer More than half of all printers sold at U.S. retail in 2010 were wireless-capable, but nearly three-quarters of consumers who have access to those printers weren't taking advantage of the increased access to print from multiple devices according to the new Wireless Printing Study.
Digital color printing • carbonless forms • Large format printing • Minnesota