IBM, Ricoh Expand IPDS Printing Options
June 12, 2007 Alex Woodie
Printer buddies IBM and Ricoh last week announced the addition of Intelligent Printing Data Stream (IPDS) capabilities to two multifunction laser printers that didn’t previously support the high-end printing technology.
As part of last week’s announcement, the InfoPrint 1552 and 1572 multifunction printers (MFPs) can now support the IPDS data stream that funnels Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) print jobs. IPDS support is offered as part of the M40 MFP option with the InfoPrint 1552 and 1572 and as an out-of-the-box feature on the MFP version of the InfoPrint 1572. These products did not have IPDS capability previously.
The product opening up the IPDS support is called the Card for IPDS and SCS/TNe. IBM says this card enables printing IPDS print jobs on supported printers from iSeries or mainframe hosts, or from client machines. This gives customers greater flexibility to locate their printers to where they can have the greatest impact, IBM says.
In addition to printing AFP jobs over a LAN, the new card enables iSeries and mainframe customers to distribute their SNA Character String (SCS), PCL, or PostScript print output over their LANs using TCP/IP. The printers will automatically detect which data stream is being used and generate the output accordingly.
IPDS is a proprietary printer data stream that offers advanced error-detection capabilities. Although IBM has sought to expand the use of IPDS against the more popular PCL and PostScript data streams, it’s still a niche technology that’s typically used in high-volume printing environments–predominantly iSeries and mainframe shops with demanding printing requirements.
The new IPDS capabilities were officially announced by InfoPrint Solutions Company, the IBM-Ricoh joint venture that was established following IBM’s announcement earlier this year that it intends to sell its printer division to Ricoh. That deal is expected to close by the end of the month.
While the companies didn’t specifically say it, the new IPDS card was more than likely developed using IPDS emulation technology from Intermate A/S, the Danish company that has come to dominate the market for IPDS emulation. Ricoh has partnered with Intermate for years for cards and other devices that enable less-expensive printers to support the IPDS/AFP stack, and it recently extended its OEM agreement with Intermate for three years.
The Card for IPDS and SCS/TNe costs $599 each and becomes available June 15. For more information, see IBM’s U.S. Hardware Announcement 107-332.