UNISA, Africa’s leading distance learning institution, has acquired a Xerox iGen4 digital production colour press. The R5-million iGen4 will be used by UNISA Print Production Directorate, which has been publishing research work since 1956 and has, over the past 50 years, developed a strong publishing list, as well as specialised skills in academic and scholarly publishing.

“The iGen4 gives us the ability to print book covers on demand, while still accommodating short-run, quick turnaround requests,” says Patrick Doyle, digital print manager at UNISA. “Printing on offset presses is not economical in this regard, and does not enable us to meet more demanding deadlines.”
The university press considered alternative options, including an HP Indigo 5500, but decided on the Xerox iGen4 110 because it does not require operators to have offset experience.
"It is relatively easy to operate,” says Doyle, “and delivers excellent print quality due to its automated colour quality control system that gives consistent, repeatable offset-like images.”
UNISA’s iGen4 is also equipped with Xerox FreeFlow print server that is similar to the university’s black and white Nuvera and DocuTech printers in features and operation.
“It means operators can easily operate both the mono and colour presses with minimal additional training, which gives our operation greater flexibility and ultimately higher productivity from our manpower.”
UNISA’s new machine will produce book covers, full colour study materials, variable data personalised communications to employees and learners and other applications that will be more economical to produce using digital printing.
“We expect to reduce significant wastage caused by overruns, content obsolescence and errors,” says Doyle.
“UNISA is known for its ability to employ technology to cut costs and improve service delivery and its employment of the iGen4 furthers that capability,” says Paul Haglich, marketing and product manager production systems group, Xerox division at Bytes Document Solutions, authorised Xerox distributor to 27 sub-Saharan countries.
“With their new iGen4, UNISA Press can produce short-run print jobs more efficiently and deliver faster turnaround times. It can also reduce waste by printing exact quantities required, deliver them on time, and on-demand. It also frees up the university’s offset presses to focus on their competency, which is print jobs of over 3,000 impressions.
“They’ve gained best-fit digital production print technology that can offer integrated workflow for more intelligent solutions, that will in future deliver mass customisation and tailored communications when they embrace variable data printing.”
The iGen4 will also be used to print textbooks that contain full colour pages. Short runs would typically be up to 300 copies of a book, but could be higher depending on the number of pages per book.
“The fact that fully compiled book blocks can be produced, ready for perfect binding, is a definite advantage over the offset process and this will reduce job production time significantly,” says Doyle.