Océ NV is a Netherlands-based company that manufactures and sells production printing and copying hardware and related software. Océ N.V. has been a listed company since 1958 and is the holding company for the international Océ Group. This group has operating companies in 25 industrialised countries. The Group has around 24,000 employees globally and gross income of over $3.5 billion per year. Over a third of its income comes from the North American market. The Océ headquarters is located in Venlo, the Netherlands.
Océ specializes in durable, high-end equipment, suitable for corporate publishing/reproduction centers as well as commercial printing and copying operations. Most of its equipment is high-speed (50 pages per minute and over) and has very high duty cycles (half a million pages a month and higher). It is also a leader in high-end color inkjet printing used for signage.
The company has research and development and production facilities in the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, Japan, the Czech Republic, Romania and the United States.
Océ competes with companies like Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, and Hewlett-Packard.
History of the company (1877–Present)
Océ arrived at its current business indirectly. It started in 1877 as a family business in manufacturing machines for coloring butter and margarine. The company’s founder, a chemist named Lodewijk van der Grinten, supplied this colouring to farmers and then this was supplied to the first margerine factories. They continued to manufacture buttering colour until 1970.
In 1919, the grandson of Lodewijk, Louis van der Grinten, became interested in the blueprint process used for producing wide-format technical drawings, used in construction, manufacturing, etc. At that time, blueprint paper was extremely light-sensitive, and therefore had a very short shelf life before being used. Louis invented a coating that made blueprint paper last longer, for up to a year. This is considered the company’s first step into providing document solutions.
In the 1920s, the company developed methods of copying originals using a dry diazo process. This process was to replace the blueprint process in the industry almost entirely by 1940. With this new process developed by Louis Van der Grinten, he treated the paper surface with chemicals which exposed the paper in the developing machine without having to add any further fluid.
Because the local stock exchange required three letter abbreviations, the company was renamed in 1927 as Océ, based on the German initials O.C. for "Ohne Componente" (without components).
In 1967, the company entered the office printing market with an electro-photographic process for copying documents using special, chemically-treated paper. It also started up a factory to build its own equipment.
The company sold its first plain-paper office copier in 1973. The new process they developed printed paper with an unusually short paper path, with mono-component toner, and transferred the image with ‘copy press’. This 'copy press' technology differs from true xerographic reproduction in that it does not use developer, utilizes fewer electro-static charges in the printing engine, maintains a lower fusing temperature, and supposedly minimizes ozone emission. Soon after, the company also developed an application for wide-format printing.
Since that time it has developed a wide range of patented technologies in printing, copying, and scanning. It has also developed advanced workflow products for help in preparing documents for printing.
In October 2007, Océ celebrated 130 years of being in business with a symposium in Venlo, the Netherlands, where the company’s main headquarters is situated. The company’s business partners congratulated the company with an advertisement in the American business paper, the Wall Street Journal
Acquisitions and Collaborations/Partnerships
Over the last few decades, Océ has made numerous acquisitions.
- In 1978, Océ acquired UK-based Ozalid Group Holdings Ltd., developer of the Ozalid process of reproduction, and Océ’s biggest rival in the diazo printing market. With this acquisition of a company almost the size of Océ, Océ became the world leader in printing products for the engineering market.
- In 1989, it bought the plotter business of French company Schlumberger. With this acquisition, important developments in colour printing, both for wide and narrow format, occurred for Océ.
- In 1990 Océ bought the US based Bruning Company. Bruning was at that time the largest supplier of blueprinting equipment and paper in the USA. Bruning became the core of what is nowadays Océ-USA.
- In 1995, the company entered the very high speed, high volume printing market when it acquired Siemens’ High Performance Printing Division of German computer company Siemens-Nixdorf. This division manufactures printers capable of producing over 1000 prints a minute. The applications are documents like telephone bills and bank statements. Also at this time, the Océ company started to bring digital printers/copiers to market.
- In 1997 Océ acquired Cleveland, Ohio based Groupware Technology, a software company specializing in Electonic Document Management software to form Oce Groupware Technology.
- In 2000 Océ acquired Espace Graphique, a French distributor of large-format display graphics equipment.
- In 2001, it acquired the Professional Imaging Division of Swiss-based Gretag Imaging Group, Inc., a maker of large-format display printing equipment.
- In 2005, it bought U.S.-based Imagistics International, Inc., a reseller of office copiers and multifunctionals. Océ made its largest transaction to date when it acquired Imagistics International Inc., formerly Pitney Bowes Office Systems (PBOS), an organization specializing in direct-sales of faxes and copiers. In late 2006, Imagistics became the Oce Digital Document Solutions (DDS) division, and later, the Document Printing Systems division. Based out of Trumbull, Connecticut, this division focuses on providing photocopiers, fax machines and associated document management software for companies of all sizes. Its North American operation currently makes up a significant portion of Océ's annual sales revenue.
- In 2006, it bought U.S.-based CaseData, a leading provider of electronic discovery and litigation support services to U.S. law firms and corporations.
- In 2007, Océ formed a partnership with Fujifilm, which will sell an OEM version of the Océ Arizona 250 GT flatbed printer in Japan.
- In 2007, the partnership between Océ and Prism Software Corporation expanded.
- In 2007, Océ and Videk were reported to announce a new collaboration to “bring state-of-the-art verification systems” to transaction document printing.
- In 2008, Océ and Konica Minolta entered a "basic partnership" agreement, covering technology exchange and a shared sales program.
In October 2007, Océ started a new carbon positive offset scheme in UK. The scheme is administered through Shining Earth environmental consultants, and will result in tree planting in UK, and projects concerning renewable energy in China and methane capture in Germany.
- Océ received the ON DEMAND Best of Show Award for recognition of their design innovation with the VarioPrint 6250 digital duplex cut-sheet printer. The award recognized the printer as the world's fastest and most productive, operating at 250 images per minute (or 125 duplexed documents per minute).
- Vocational Foundation, Inc. named Océ Business Services as ‘Employer of the Year’.
- BERTL awards 4-star award to the Océ TDS450.
- 2007 Socha-Gelbmann Survey: Top 20 provider of electronic discovery services. CaseData Division of Océ Business Services.
- 2007 Socha-Gelbmann Survey: Top 5 service provider (capacity). CaseData Division of Océ Business Services.
- 2007 InterTech Technology Award [PIA/GATF] to the Océ VarioPrint 6250.
- 2007 Black Book of Outsourcing ranked Océ Business Services as No. 1 Document Processing Outsourcing Vendor.
- Management Awards of Catalonia for Innovation.
- ‘5-star, Exceptional’ by BERTL to the Océ TDS700 large format multifunctional system.
- DPI Product of the Year Award to the Océ Arizona 250 GT flatbed printer.
- viscom Innovation Award 2007 to the Océ Arizona 250 GT flatbed printer.