Automated Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizes Printing

October 3, 2017

From the home to the office to the print shop, artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing smart technology into our workplace to make our lives easier. When I want to listen to music, I don’t always want to think about what band, what album or even what song I want to hear. I don’t always have time to make or sort through a playlist for specific selections. Today, I use a personal automation listening app like Pandora to pick my mood/feeling/style/era of music and it fills in the great bands, the great albums and the best songs from that timeline. Simply put, Pandora automates and makes my life easier.

Konica Minolta is making the same strides by automating operations in the print shop with automated AI technology. Our new Intelligent Quality Optimizer, IQ-501, is the innovation for our franchise print shops to get the business edge. Bringing shape to ideas? You bet. It’s about saving time and creating value for the franchise to perform with the assistance of smart machine automation.  “The list of what humans can do better than computers is getting smaller and smaller, “ says futurist Ray Kurzweil.  “But, we create these tools to extend our long reach.”

Our tool is the IQ-501, an in-line, closed-loop quality control system that frees up the operator from ”waking up the device” each morning and readjusting it throughout the day to get a perfectly registered, properly saturated color output.  It does the key operator’s job automatically – with very little human intervention necessary.

It is revolutionary for every franchise print shop with a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C2070, C6085 or C6100.  What does this mean in the year-in-the-life of that print shop?  Savings. With reduced labor and material waste, the print shop saves money.  The use of automated artificial intelligence technology means redirecting labor to more high-value tasks, greater efficiency and profitability in the long run with faster, more precise response times.

For example, an operator or technician typically spends significant time waking up the device and periodically adjusting it for jobs throughout the day. With an IQ-501, however, that operator can save approximately 300 hours per year and can now focus on value-added tasks instead. For a business, 300 hours at $20 an hour yields a $6,000 savings. Consider this …

  • By eliminating the need for third-party color calibration device (another $1,000-$4,000);
  • By reducing the need for additional yearly training for the operator ($3,000); and, most importantly
  • Gaining the ability to capture money lost on returned jobs/wasted output (at a 3 percent recovery estimate of a workload of 1 million pages per year, using 20 cents per burdened costs color copy yields an additional $6,000 per year) …


… the IQ 501 can save more than $19,000 in year one and $15,000 in subsequent years.

Every franchise wants to have knowledgeable, well-trained operators to ensure color is properly adjusted and that the print registration is right.  Introducing the IQ-501 into the print shop automates the processes for color correction, image defect detection, and front-to-back registration throughout every pressrun.

Artificial intelligence in the print shop increases uptime and decreases service calls while reducing make-ready waste.  With automated cloud-based data collection from the IQ-501, many onsite service calls can be eliminated remotely. Think about printing business cards — an iterative process for print shops — and the time it would take for the operator to review proofs, ensure the line-up is perfect for cutting the tolerance, and examine the registration.  It’s a skilled, technical job to get the professional output.  With AI technology, the process is handled automatically: Our IQ-501 provides auto-register adjustments that are precise and continuous feedback to the engine to automatically adjust the color.

Breakthroughs in automated AI technology have only just begun to make us all smarter franchise print operators, more profitable shop owners and overall better business people.  It’s recognizing these efficiencies early that makes us smarter and able to increase our businesses’ success – year after year after year.

Andrew Davidson
Director, Franchise & Commercial Print Associations

As head of the Franchise & Commercial Print Associations team since 2015, Andrew oversees the BIS National Enterprise Account Managers assigned to the Franchise & Commercial Print Association accounts, working with direct and dealer channels. He’s been with Konica Minolta for more than 18 years and is an industry veteran of 28 years. Andrew’s held Branch Management, National Account Manager and Director positions at Konica Minolta in its Boston branch, and has managed BIS Corporate Accounts as well as the Facilities Management Solutions team. Married for 28 years, he has two sons, is an avid tennis player, a long time New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan, and a recent Boston transplant to the west coast of Florida.