Digital Press Sneak Peek: Q&A with Sharp’s VP of Product Management
Print enthusiasts, rejoice! There’s a new provider of leading digital presses bursting onto the scene. Earlier this year, Sharp announced its entrance into the production print market. Central reprographic departments (CRDs), in-plant printing facilities and commercial print centers will soon have a new stand-out option to consider when making their next big investment.
The highly anticipated digital presses are launching soon, so what better time to sit down with Sharp’s VP of Product Management Shane Coffey. We discussed the Sharp production press support program and why it’s important to dealers and great for customers as well as buzz worthy technology on the upcoming Sharp Digital Press Series.
Here’s what Shane had to say.
Q. Before we dive into digital presses, what can you tell us about the production press support program?
A. Dealer empowerment is important to us. We want them to sell production print technology with confidence. To help achieve this, Sharp is developing a comprehensive support program. Our experts will offer support in every phase of the extensive sales cycle to help dealers meet the demands and intricacies of multi-shift commercial environments where high-volume printing is essential.
Q. What type of support will dealers receive?
A. The program will be robust, but in a nutshell: hiring support to find the right personnel for production print sales; tailoring solutions for specific industries; service and sales training; and enhanced technical assistance.
Q. Will customers benefit from this program as well?
A. Absolutely! The program goes well beyond the sale process. Customers can have confidence knowing that dealers are well-trained and supported to keep their digital press investments performing as expected. Customers will have access to experts who can assist with technical queries, troubleshooting or any challenges they may encounter during operation.
Q. Now, let’s talk about the Sharp Digital Press Series. What can customers expect?
A. Sharp has leveled up in the production space. These three new, industry-proven digital presses have best-of-breed technology, making them a solid contender customers can consider. End users can expect exceptional print quality and color consistency and unleash their creativity with timesaving, inline finishing options including square fold, crease and 2-edge trimming—just to name a few!
Q. What other market-leading specs can you share with us?
A. Ok, let’s talk speed and color.
The color model will produce up to 120 pages-per-minute (ppm) on variety of media sizes and types with thicknesses up to 400gsm. It’s equipped with a powerful Fiery® digital front end and prints up to six colors in one pass. The real-time color stabilization and precise paper handling features are the foundation for these precision print engines, transforming your marketing messages into beautifully printed works of art.
The two monochrome models will print at 136 ppm and 125 ppm, respectively. They can be powered by an optional Fiery® NX One Print Server. The real-time image quality adjustments and the precise paper handling input and output option can consistently produce 2,400 x 2,400 dpi rich black solids and amazing halftones.
Q. I hear designers and print operators are going to love the six-color engine. Tell us why.
A. Their imagination will be the only limit on these digital presses. They’re going to love the Fiery® digital front end with the 6-color engine. Sharp is among the only manufacturers that can achieve six colors in one pass at rated speed. Since most digital presses have a four-color engine, additional colors would have to be applied offline to print similar value-added prints embellishments. To achieve six colors on a 5-color press, the media must pass through multiple times. This process can get complicated and registration can be compromised.
They’ll be able to hit up to 90% of Pantone® colors in the PMS library—perfect when matching company colors that fall outside of the typical color gamut of a CMYK-only device. By adding the Bright Pink color station as the fifth color, the color gamut is expanded to help match the Pantone library more easily. It produces enhanced skin tones and virtually eliminates printing spot colors that would otherwise need to be printed on an offset press.
Q. The underlay/overlay capability is also turning heads. How can it increase design possibilities?
A. This is another game changer. The optional gold and silver color stations further expand the color gamut. Utilized as an underlay, you can have a unique iridescent color palette with limitless design possibilities. By placing CMYK on underlying silver or gold toner, you can masterfully mix metallic blues, metallic greens, blue gold and red gold. Used as an overlay for solid silver and gold accents on top of the traditional CMYK full color output, you can achieve that executive appeal.
The white color station can be used in the underlay position and provide a base for full color images on clear film or dark colored substrates to evoke a dramatic feel. Used in the overlay position, prints can be produced with an equally dramatic effect.
Q. What kind of media can run on these presses?
A. They can handle very thick paper—up to 400 gsm—and different substrates such as clear material, coated, textured, labels and synthetics. Sheet sizes up to 43” can be printed single-sided and up 32” auto-duplexed.
Q. Is there an option to add texture to paper?
A. Yes. Although textured media can be used in these presses, why not make your own custom texture with the optional textured paper color station. This lets you add texture to your designs for a tactile effect.
Q. When will the Sharp Digital Press Series be available to customers?
A. The color model is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024, and the monochrome models will be available in mid-2024.
If you’d like to stay informed on the upcoming Sharp Digital Press Series, follow us on LinkedIn to be among the first to hear when the highly anticipated models hit the market. Also, check out our coverage at the Printing United Expo via our YouTube channel.
EFI and Fiery are registered trademarks of Electronics For Imaging, Inc. in the U.S. and/or certain other countries. PANTONE and other Pantone trademarks are the property of Pantone LLC.