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April 12, 1987

BARBICAN TAKES ON IBM, XEROX WITH HIGH-END LASER PRINTER FROM HONG KONG

By CBR Staff Writer

Barbican Holdings Plc, the owner of Initial Towels and programmable logic control specialist Penrhos Electronics, is to take on the likes of IBM, Xerox and Siemens in the high-end laser printer market through a new Herefordshire-based subsidiary. Backed by accountants Arthur Young, the subsidiary, Barbican Laser Ltd, is gearing up to spend UKP10,000 per month on press relations and advertising to try to get its message across and counter what managing director Graham Mitchell admits is a credibility problem for a newcomer to the field. Initially, Barbican will concentrate on the Infinity 45-90, a competitor for the 50 page-per-minute Xerox 4050, but it also has a sub-UKP3,000 laser printer-cum-photocopier with telex and facsimile buffers up its sleeve for later this year. The 45-90 offers full speed – it has a 40MHz 32-bit custom graphics CPU with 1.2Mb RAM expandable to 16Mb – A3 graphics at 600 by 600 dots per inch, twice the resolution, according to Barbican, of its competitors. It can print 50 A4 pages – 100 in continuous mode – or 35 A3 pages per minute, comes with 10 fonts as standard, supports IBM’s 3211, Dataproducts 2260, and DEC LP25 protocol and runs off a single 13A single phase power supply. Like the polygon lens-based low-end machine, the 45-90 is bought OEM under an exclusive UK licence, which Barbican has the right to extend to the whole of Europe, from Laser Imaging Systems in Hong Kong. According to Graham Mitchell, at UKP35,000 the top-end Barbican product is only just over one third of the price of the Xerox 4050, has no user fee – the Xerox costs an additional 1.2p per page – and has a comparable monthly maintenance charge. Mitchell claims to have firm orders for 135 units, and says that ICL, Siemens, Honeywell and Unisys are all showing interest in rebadging the product. First shipments are scheduled to reach distributors Infinity Laser Distribution Ltd later this month.

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