The deal, which is a UK-based arrangement at the present time, was announced at North Print & Pack yesterday (14 May) and forms part of Konica Minolta’s ‘Digital 1234′ business development programme.

“The market told us they needed an entry-level web-to-print solution, and with Vpress our customers don’t have to worry about high upfront investment costs,” explained Mark Hinder, Konica Minolta market development manager for production printing.

“It’s a business model that allows people to enter a market with easy adoption, with quick, easy steps to start enabling new business,” he added.

Konica Minolta will offer Vpress Coreprint, the cloud-based web-to-print system.

Coreprint is available in various options, from an entry-level system up to the highly-configurable ‘Pro’ version for power users. It currently has around 1,500 customers for the system, across more than 60 countries.

There is already a Vpress connection with the wider Konica Minolta operation because its systems are also used by print management firm Charterhouse, acquired by Konica Minolta in November.

Vpress managing director Tim Cox said web-to-print had evolved into “web-to-whatever-you-want”. “It’s not just a nice to have, it’s a necessity. If you don’t have it, you can’t procure work that way,” he stated.

Konica Minolta will still work with other vendors as part of the Digital 1234 programme.

The firm also showed an upgraded version of the Bizhub Press C8000 at the show, the C8000e. This will supersede the old model and will ship in July.

It has new features for greater uptime, included a reduced requirement for service visits.

The £150,000 80ppm device has a duty cycle of 500,000 prints per month, and also comes with a new frontend, EFI’s Fiery FS100 Pro colour controller, which is twice as fast as the previous option.