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|Star product: NewBind Prima
Mon, 13 May 2013 08:05:00 GMT
What does the machine do?
The NewBind Prima is a PUR single-clamp binding machine with a closed and pressurised internal tank. It features manual block loading with semi-automatic pre-setting of the clamp. Spines are milled and micro-notched and then a soft cover is fed, formed and nipped around the block. Bound books can be guillotined after an hour or so, but the full curing time is about 24 hours. This is fine for the books-on-demand market, where same-day despatch is often required although the book will not be opened until 24 hours have passed. When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?Prima was launched in March by Encore Machinery, UK distributor for NewBind machines, and having only been on the market for a matter of weeks has not been sold into the UK yet. It is intended for short-run printers, particularly those with digital presses and which, as they would not use it continuously, would not previously have been able to justify buying a PUR binder. Mike Biggs, managing director of Encore Machinery, explains that other sub-£20,000 PUR binders have open tanks, meaning they have to be used fairly constantly as adhesive in the tank absorbs moisture from the air after a few hours and has to be cleaned out if not used.
"The Prima opens up the possibility for more general short-run, quick-turnaround work, such as digital printing," says Biggs. "Photobooks, coated papers, difficult papers - it can do all that. PUR is becoming essential there."How does it work?The internal pressurised tank takes 2kg packs of PUR adhesive. Air from a compressor goes through several moisture filters before reaching the tank. A slot nozzle feeds adhesive on to the spine and sides of the block and, when not in use, the adhesive is pumped back into the tank to keep it out of contact with the air.
If the binder is to be left unused, the operator runs a wax stick over the head slot to seal it. At the start of the next shift the head needs a two-minute wipe. Very little other maintenance is needed, according to Biggs. There's an optional cleaning tank for an extra £1,950.What's its USP?UK agent Encore Machinery believes the machine is the only closed-tank PUR binder priced below £20,000. How does it differ from previous versions?NewBind has been manufacturing single- and four-clamp binders for some years, starting with high-end, high-volume models. It developed and patented an internal closed-tank PUR gluing system, which cut costs compared with rivals' external tanks and feeds, and then entered the low-cost, short-run sector with the Adventure binder for both PUR and hot-melt glues, costing in the "mid-to-high twenty thousands". This was followed last year by the Pioneer, which adds endsheet lifting for use with hard covers, for around £35,000.
The new Prima does without the automatic clamp adjustment and some other features of the pricier Adventure and Pioneer. Biggs says: "Prima does everything you need, but without some of the bells and whistles of the others."How fast is it?The rated speed is 200 cycles per hour but hand feeding the Prima will inevitably bring this down. "It's as fast as you can feed it," says Biggs. What training and support is offered?The price includes training and a 12-month parts and labour warranty. Encore offers a service contract, including six-monthly maintenance calls.
SPECIFICATIONSMax binding length 350mm standard, 450mm optionalMax spine thickness 50mmMax cover size 1,000x455mmMax cover weights 350gsmMax speed 200 cycles per hourPrice £19,995Contact Encore Machinery 01582 562518 www.encore machinery.co.uk
Morgana DigiBook 150The Italian-built DigiBook 150 is the entry-level option in Morgana's PUR range. It offers a closed tank and slot head for spine and slide gluing, plus spine milling and notching. Nominal cycle times are lower than the Prima, though this probably doesn't mean much in practice.Max binding length 320mmMax spine thickness 50mmMax speed 150 cycles per hourPrice £23,990Contact Morgana 01908 608888 www.morgana.co.uk
Watkiss 420PURAn entry-level PUR configuration with a closed tank. Watkiss says its adhesive recirculating system is unique and minimises the risk of clogging. Book blocks and covers are manually loaded, with automatic clamp adjustment. Notching is standard, but an adjustable-depth milling wheel is an optional extra for another £1,000. A version with suction-fed cover feeder and scoring costs about £35,000.Max binding length 420mmMax spine thickness 50mmMax speed 450 cycles per hour (realistically for about 260 books)Price From about £25,000Contact Watkiss 01767 685700 www.watkiss.com
|Me & my: Stehlin Hostag Quickfast
Mon, 13 May 2013 08:05:00 GMT
Certainly worth a closer look is Stehlin Hostag which - as part of the Huber Group and with ink-making forebears inspired by Alois Senefelder and his new-fangled lithographic process in 1796 - knows a thing or two about formulations.
So, when around nine months ago, Feltham-based Geoff Neal Litho replaced its Resistor N9000 quick-drying, rub-resistant, sheetfed litho ink with the new Quickfast, intended for uncoated and other ‘difficult' papers, it didn't lose any time in checking out the new offering.
Being a well-established and respected player, and winner of the Direct Mail Printer of the Year title at six of the past seven PrintWeek Awards, this former N9000 user's adoption of the ink may well have been a significant factor in encouraging others to follow suit. Established in 1976, Geoff Neal is today an £11m printing company, often blazing a trail on the kit-investment front (in the past four years the firm has invested £5.5m in three new offset presses and new personalisation and finishing equipment), and with its formats, printing "high-end, complicated direct mail and brochures as well as anything out of the ordinary".
Geoff Neal was keen to try out the new ink and take part in early pre-launch trials, to take advantage of the promised benefits of quick drying, durability, high on-press stability and pigment density.
Richard Gill, UK technical manager at Stehlin Hostag, explains that the ink uses a production technology called Inkredible, instead of the now phased-out technology used with the N9000. The result is a high-pigment ink based on vegetable oils, suitable for non-IPA and alcohol-substitute printing with standard plates and blankets, which is Fogra ISO 2846-1 certified for compliance with the ISO 12647-2 standard and available in CMYK only.
In some countries there's the option of a ‘duct fresh' formulation, which stays open longer on the press but takes a bit longer to dry, but this is not an option actively marketed in the UK, reports Gill.
"We decided that, based on UK customer feedback, we wouldn't offer that option here," he says. "It's too similar to another product we have. To achieve the best drying results you have to use non-stay open."Gill describes the ink's quick-drying and rub-resistant properties thus: "It is for uncoated papers, also matt- and silk-coated papers that can be susceptible to rubbing and marking. There are some other hard-drying inks available, but this reaches its optimum level of rub resistance in a much shorter time. Some printers need this so it can be finished more quickly. Typically this is less than half the time."Rub-fast characteristicsGeoff Neal production director Ernest Wale reports that the rub-fast nature of the ink certainly impressed him. "Quickfast is a hard-drying-style ink for uncoated materials. We use it a lot for uncoated cartridges and so on, when we want a nice hard finish. It works very well."
"Rougher papers are much more prone to rubbing than smooth surfaces," he adds. "So I often tend to use a hard-drying coating on our Heidelberg XL press as a belt-and-braces operation - if the coating doesn't work, the ink will dry anyway and it works very well that way."
The quick-drying nature of the ink also comes in handy in situations where certain more ‘challenging stocks' need to be overprinted once processed on the firm's XL.
"I tend to use it for stocks that are difficult, such as book covers and particularly on heavy-coverage materials where I want to laser print afterwards," says Wale. "For instance, if I want to laser it and decide to put the hard-drying ink down, I know that if I leave it for 12 to 24 hours it won't come off on the laser."
He reports, however, that whether or not a job can now be finished in half the time of other inks depends on the details of the job in question.
"We would normally leave uncoated print for up to 24 hours to dry before finishing, although we can commence finishing after six to eight hours if we use a water-based coating and Quickfast," he says. "But it really depends on the ink coverage. I wouldn't really be able to say if it is 50% faster because the style of work has an impact on when we can start finishing."
No unwanted ink transferThat said, Wale can confirm that, in Geoff Neal Litho's experience, the claimed benefits of ‘optimised carbonising characteristics' have held true - meaning long-term rub and set-off resistance where the ink won't transfer to other sheets in a stack or finished book is ensured.
"If carbonising is a long-term marking problem we don't see it, as we don't have the product long enough, but - touch wood - I haven't had any customer come back and say ‘it's rubbing off'," he says.Due to being used to using Quickfast's predecessor, the N9000 ink, for similar types of job, there were no real issues in adopting the new ink, reports Wale.
"We run low-alcohol here, not alcohol- free. We use the same blankets and we can run it at speed," he says. "We don't have problems with it on plates or on the press. It's been working well and we will continue to use it until such time as we have reason to look elsewhere.
"I haven't looked elsewhere so far because Stehlin Hostag has been a very loyal and complementary supplier," he adds. "They've worked hard with us to ensure we run an efficient unit. I am by nature a loyal individual. I don't change for the sake of it, though if there is a reason I will. Currently there is no reason to change. They're very helpful, friendly individuals who will always help out if you've got a problem. From that point of view I can't recommend them enough."
Wale was also impressed with the way Stehlin Hostag responded to suggestions for tweaking the ink while they were in the early stages of trialling it. "We were very happy with that," he reports. "We trialled it and gave a report, with a few things that we thought it could do better. It came back and has been okay ever since."
The result is that today Geoff Neal uses the Quickfast ink for around 20% of work processed on the two larger Heidelbergs. The company also uses Stehlin Hostag's Impression ink, likewise formulated for rub-resistance but a stay-open type that doesn't emphasise quick drying so much.
"We did try the Heidelberg inks with the XL, but found them wanting and went back to Stehlin Hostag," reports Wale.
Geoff Neal does, however, use Heidelberg's coatings rather that Stehlin's, reporting that "their coatings suit us well." The company also opts to use Heidelberg's own-brand ink on the Anicolor press, which has a keyless ink system that has different requirements.
Nonetheless, Geoff Neal is overall very impressed with Stehlin Hostag and its Quickfast product. Wale concludes: "We don't always have time to wait for ink to dry and we don't want to have the press standing around while it does the drying before a second run.
"The work we produce has to be printed to a high standard," he adds, "which is what Quickfast does."
SPECIFICATIONSFast oxidative drying inks in CMYK colours.Formulated for high rub resistance, especially on critical uncoated and matt-coated substrates. Enables fast post-print finishing. Increased resistance to carbonisingFormulation 100% vegetable oil. Pigment intensiveCertifications Fogra ISO 2846-1 certified to enable compliance with ISO 12647-2 colour standardSuitable for IPA-free printingPrice £16-£25 per set depending on container Contact Stehlin Hostag UK 0115 986 0477 www.stehlin.co.uk
COMPANY PROFILEGeoff Neal Litho is an £11m printing company based in Feltham, a few miles from Heathrow Airport. It runs 24 hours a day, with customers including the automotive sector, financial services, the retail markets and fine art. Its main offset presses are all Heidelbergs: a five-colour XL 105, a six-colour Speedmaster CD 102 and a B3 Anicolor. The latest purchase, announced in early April, is a Heidelberg XL 106 six-colour-plus-coater press, which will replace the CD press when it is installed in June. Why it was bought...Geoff Neal adopted the Stehlin Hostag Quickfast ink for use on 20% of work on its two larger Heidelbergs when the Stehlin Resistor N9000 ink started to be phased out. Quickfast, the vendor claims, offers quicker drying, and enhanced durability, on-press stability and pigment density. How it has performed...Production director Ernest Wale has been very impressed with the ink, reporting: "We don't have problems with it on plates or on the press. It's been working well and we will continue to use it until such time as I have reason to look elsewhere."
|Star product: EFI Jetrion 4900M and ML
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:04:00 GMT
What do the machines do?The Jetrion 4900M and Jetrion 4900ML are UV inkjet label presses launched by EFI in response to a desire among those branching into digital label printing for a system that could print and finish labels in one pass. The Jetrion 4900ML consists of the print engine and a digital laser cutter and, as a modular machine, can be upgraded with a range of laminating, sheeting and varnishing finishing modules supplied by EFI. The Jetrion 4900M consists of just the print engine, but can be upgraded in the same way. When were they launched and who are they aimed at?The two models were launched at last September's LabelExpo. The machines are aimed, reports Jennifer Renner, senior product manager at EFI, both at those established label printers looking to process short and mid-length runs, but also commercial printers adding packaging printing to their offering. "Labels and packaging has always been the target market but by adding the inline laser capability we've seen a lot of interest from people who previously didn't do anything with label printing because the finishing was kind of a mystery to them," reports Renner.What other models are available?Also available is the 4900M-330, which features a 330mm print width for increased productivity and an expanded range of applications. "That just enables printers to do more multiples across the web for faster production, or enter into new markets, small-format signage or other areas, where the 210mm 4900 wasn't wide enough," says Renner. "I think the wider width makes a lot of sense for a good number of our customers and we've seen great interest in that since its launch." How do they work?For these printers, EFI has taken the UV print technology of its Jetrion 4000 and 4830 products and transferred this from these simple roll-to-roll devices into more press-like systems. The machines are powered by EFI's Fiery XF front end, and incorporate a Corona station for greater substrate compatibility, semi-automated turret for quick changeover of finished rolls and, in the case of the ML, dual-head lasers for efficient cutting without dies.What are their USPs?The inline laser cutting and ability to add more finishing modules is the real USP of the system, says Renner. "Very early on we were just focusing on the printing but we recognised the real benefit to the customer is if they can do everything in one step. You start with your blank substrate and you finish with a roll of labels ready to ship," she says. "Several competitors can add something inline by working with another partner but it's not something that's supplied as a full solution right out the door."How easy are they to use and what training and support is on offer?The printers feature press controls located at both ends of the press so there is a station for both printer and finishing modules. "I consider these machines very user-friendly," says Renner. "We offer a couple of different in-house and onsite training programs. Most of our customers are up and running very quickly. We offer worldwide service support and are very customer responsive."How many have been sold?The install figure for the 4900ML and its predecessor the Jetrion 4900 -the same print and cutting system just without the upgrade option - is just over 20, reports Renner. EFI has no breakdown of sales of the 4900M but reports installations of this, and its other standalone digital label printing systems, is around the 150 mark. "We've seen more interest every quarter since the launch of the M and ML," says Renner. "Interest continues to grow."
SPECIFICATIONSMax speed Full resolution: 24m/min Draft mode: 38m/minMax resolution Greater than 1,000dpi (apparent) via grey-scale technologyMax print width 210mm (4900M-330: 330mm)Colours Five (CMYK plus white)Substrates Papers, films, foils, tags as well as many specialist substrates Price £340,000-£600,000Contact EFI UK 01246 298000 w3.efi.com
USER VERDICT"With the Jetrion 4900, we can print a million labels with 25 different SKUs back to back with a single set-up. It gives us the ability to respond to customer needs in a short timeframe without the added cost of dies or plates. My press doesn't stop running" 4.5/5Brian Rhoades General manager of WS Packaging Group
ALTERNATIVESDomino N600iThe N600i is available in reel-to-reel as well as reel-to-finishing line configurations. Through ‘dancing arm' input with tension control on the finishing line, the N600i can be integrated with digital finishing solutions including those from AB Graphics and Grafisk Maskinfabrik.Max speed 75m/minMax resolution 1,200dpi (nominal) Max print width 333mmColours CMYKSubstrates Self-adhesive label stock, thermal paperPrice £444,640Contact Domino 01954 782 551 www.domino-printing.comDurst Tau 330The Durst Tau 330 is a digital UV inkjet label press designed for short and medium run narrow web applications.Max speed 48m/minMax resolution Around 1,000dpiMax print width 330mmColours CMYK (optional: orange and violet; white) Substrates Coated and uncoated papers, white and transparent film, PP, PE, PVC, POPP, aluminium foilPrice £349,400- £596,600 depending on configurationContact Durst 01372 388540 www.durst-online.co.ukXeikon 3300Though the Xeikon 3300 doesn't incorporate digital cutting equipment as standard, the vendor has this year launched a software plug-in to enable laser die-cutting systems from several other manufacturers to be integrated. Max speed 19m/minMax resolution 1,200 dpiMax print width 322mmColours CMYK plus whiteSubstrates Can print on a wide variety of substrates without the need for pre-treatment of the substratePrice £405,000 Contact Xeikon +32 (0)3 443 1311 www.xeikon.com
|Me & my: Vpress Coreprint
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:04:00 GMT
"The reality is that a lot of commercial printers think just knocking on someone's door and saying ‘Hi, I'm from Healeys can I print something for you,' is an okay strategy," he says. "But it will be a case of ‘join the back of the queue'."What is needed, says Harris, is something a little bit different to bring to the table. And this is something Healeys Print Group has always been keen to offer.The company was established 50 years ago when current managing director Philip Dodd's father bought a post office and stationers and started the gradual process of branching out into single-, then two-, then multi-colour commercial print. Since then the printer has ensured it can offer a unique one-stop shop proposition to its charity, fine art, publishing and local small business customers by expanding into lots of different areas, including digital - small- and wide-format - cross-media, artwork and data services. Another key differentiator is the firm's web-to-print (W2P) offering, says Harris. He explains that being able to order print quickly and simply is enough of a godsend for time-poor businesses that the fact Healeys is, as of a year and a half ago, the proud owners of a Vpress Coreprint system, makes a huge difference in securing new business."Basically, any large organisation with multiple buyers or operating in multiple locations has a real need for a W2P product, and the larger the organisation the bigger the problem with ordering print like business cards," he explains. "Take one of our charity customers. Previously one lady there was in charge of ordering letterheads so she would have 10,000 delivered to her at a go that she had to find room to store. Now individuals in the company order their own and all she has to do is a monthly audit. Previously she was spending loads of time looking after letterheads, which was crazy. She was probably spending a good three or four hours a week on that.""We have five clients now using this system and we wouldn't have secured that work had we not had a W2P solution," adds Harris.He does concede though that these contracts would still have been brought on board had the firm been using another W2P system. His past experiences with another vendor suggest, however, that both Healeys' and its customers' experience of the system wouldn't have been as problem-free as with Coreprint. "We did previously use another system, but there were disagreements about quality - the previous vendor just didn't support the software very well," he says, reporting that as a result, Vpress impressing Healeys with a personable and pro-active ethos was key when the printers decided to go elsewhere: "You look at the perceived support you're going to get from the organisation, you look at the personalities selling the products," he says.Editable templatesAlso crucial was the software's pricing model and the fact that it allows in-house product template creation rather than forcing a printer to pay the vendor to do this. "Most important was that we could make a lot of the template amendments ourselves," explains Harris. "If you look at some of the more expensive systems, yes, you can create some fantastic templates, but you have to use the vendor to do this. Of course, if you land a very big customer you can justify spending several thousand pounds creating the templates. But if you create the templates in-house you can take a more speculative punt on organisations.""Vpress's price model also suited us better," he adds. "Vpress is a more modest up-front cost than some other packages and then a click-charge model, which if you become wildly successful, I guess, could end up costing more, but is more suited to someone gradually building their W2P offering."Vpress has certainly delivered on the strong service support Healeys were after, reports Harris. He reports that there have been barely any problems with the software since its installation and that when one small glitch did occur, Vpress had sorted the problem even before Healeys was even aware of it."There was one occasion where an update happened that introduced an error elsewhere," says Harris. "But within the hour, they'd corrected that."One slight issue the firm has had with the software however, has been with the look of the client's user interface. Harris reports though that an add-on module, coreWebServices, bought to also allow more flexible interface functionality, has completely resolved the issue. "One of the added benefits of the web services module, aside from the ability to craft our own bespoke system, is that the user interface can also be completely overhauled," says Harris. "One of the things that we wanted to do with the Coreprint system from the very start was to alter the look and feel so that it fits more with the Healeys way of doing things."Vpress qualifies, however, that most customers are more than happy with the customer interface that comes as standard with the Coreprint system and don't feel the need to purchase the coreWebServices module to improve it. A wide variety of interface options are available with the standard Coreprint package, the vendor adds, and Vpress works with all customers to ensure their interface works for them. The only other issue Healeys has experienced was struggling with internet bandwidth at the start of the software's life. So Harris would recommend anyone installing this or a similar package to ensure their IT infrastructure allows for speedy processing right from the off.He would also recommend that printers going down the W2P route are careful to allocate plenty of manpower to the venture. Healeys have in fact taken the person in charge of the software off all other duties to ensure the system runs smoothly. "We decided it should be a department in its own right, as it's a very important growth area," reports Harris. "So we moved our guy sideways so, although he still supports creative, his primary function is on W2P."The final bit of advice Harris would offer those new to W2P would be to ensure the firm is really going out and selling the offering. He explains that, though such a system is a great way of gaining the edge over the competition, clients are still at the stage where they need to have the benefits really spelled out to them. Customer engagementHarris explains that it was only recently the firm truly got to grips with this and so in fact its Vpress system has only been utilised fully in the last six months. "The system was purchased because there was an opportunity and the company thought it was best to pitch for this contract having got the software," he explains. "But that wasn't won and nothing else was done with it until I joined the team. You've got to actually go to people and talk to them about how W2P can change the way they engage with their printer."Now the company has got the hang of selling the wonders of W2P, the future is looking very promising indeed. "We've forecast that by the end of our financial year in September, W2P will account for around a quarter of our turnover, and that's from a standing start six months ago," reports Harris. The system doesn't only attract clients by offering to make their lives a lot easier, but also by reducing the hassle and costs at Healeys' end. "From our perspective, we've automatically booked the job into our system, it creates print-ready artwork automatically, it will process everything up to the print stage, so all of a sudden we've dramatically reduced our admin costs.""We're still pushing for growth in other areas of the business, but a lot of our growth will come from W2P and it means we can grow without increasing admin costs," he adds. For Healeys Print Group, branching fully into W2P using the Vpress Coreprint system has, then, been a resounding success. Gone is any risk of ‘Hi, I'm a printer, can I do some work for you?' Instead, Healeys can say with full confidence: ‘Hi, I'm a printer with a reliable and easy to use W2P system that could make your life a great deal easier.'
SPECIFICATIONSPlatform SaaS. Can be fully integrated into existing e-procurement/MISReporting Full reporting available from orders/job-tracking and further management informationTemplate management Either Coreprint Managed or Coreprint Pro, whereby you can control and create your own templatesB2C Coreprint engine can be used to create bespoke B2C W2P systemIncluded Free digital asset management tool for images Price Coreprint starts from £750, with a charge of £100-£1,000 for template creation. Coreprint Pro starts from £7,500, with extra software modules costing between £350 and £2,500Contact Vpress 01242 246970 www.vpress.co.uk
|Me & my: Mimaki UJF-3042FX
Fri, 19 Apr 2013 07:04:00 GMT
Brunel was set up by engineer Martyn Wright in 1989 initially to process industrial products such as control panels, but, as manufacturing business declined, it branched into a range of products including nameplates, industrial labels, corporate signage and trophies and corporate awards. Today the company, based in Clevedon, North Somerset, engraves and etches a wide range of materials and products, including plastics, metals and glass, and can handle both flat and 3D objects. The latest evolution has been to embrace printing as a production process for the signs, labels, badges and trophies that make up the company's workload. "These days company logos are being designed with drop shadows, halftones and other graphic elements that are difficult to reproduce by engraving," says Wright. "Customers are also asking for full-colour photographs, and there is simply no way that they can be reproduced by engraving."New needsIt was this need for more complicated graphics that led the 22-staff £1.2m-turnover firm to invest in a Mimaki UJF-3042FX digital printer in March last year. The UJF is a small-format UV-cured flatbed printer, which uses LED curing. The printable area is A3-sized (300x420mm) and objects up to 50mm deep can be printed thanks to the adjustable printhead height. For Brunel that ability to print onto 3D objects, albeit only on relatively flat surfaces, is a boon.The Mimaki wasn't quite the company's first foray into print however. This happened three months earlier. "We had originally purchased a different flatbed machine, and while that was being repaired we were supplied with a UJF on loan," says Wright. "We realised that the UJF was a better bet for our business."Wright declines to reveal the details of the other machine, but does say that it used solvent inks. "We had issues with the solvent inks attacking the printheads causing them to deteriorate," he says. "It was also more complicated and time-consuming to look after." Once Brunel had elected to make the switch, preparing for the arrival of the UJF was simple. "We had to prepare a larger than usual workbench for it; most of our benches are standard kitchen worktops, and the UJF needed something slightly deeper," says Wright. "And that was it; GPT installed it and away we went. Basic operation takes a couple of hours' training; it's very simple to use."Most of the jobs processed on the machine are one-offs, reports Wright. But because some are multiples, the firm has used its engineering roots to produce jigs that can be used to hold the items in place on the bed at the same time. Wright says that it has been easy to develop jigs that work in tandem with the RIP software used to layout jobs to ensure accurate positioning. Manufacturer Mimaki adds that, if printers don't want to create their own light-absorbing jigs, a number of companies offer these for Mimaki flatbed printers, including DigitalBlanks.comWright says that Brunel is well satisfied with the speed of the printer, which takes around two minutes to print in four-pass mode at a resolution of 720x600dpi. In 16-pass mode, at 1,440x1,200dpi, that goes up to eight minutes. One gripe he does have, however, is with how well the UJF prints onto metals, which, though Brunel uses the UJF mostly to print plastics, especially acrylics, do still make up around 20% of the machine's workload."One thing that we'd like, and I think that it is peculiar to us, is better durability of the print on metal," says Wright. "You need to make sure that the metal has been very thoroughly cleaned and to use the primer. If someone forgets to do that then in six months we can have the customer coming back complaining that the ink is coming off. We've spent a lot of time working out the best way of printing onto metal, and in truth, the old machine was better on metal, but it is only a small part of our total print work."Mimaki responds that metal, glass and other nonporous substrates will normally require some form of pre-treatment to ensure satisfactory ink bonding. The manufacturer says that the unique factor with the Mimaki UJF-3042FX is its ability to inkjet a primer in perfect registration with the coloured layer and only where it's required to ensure the process is carried out, uses minimal fluid and occurs only where required.Another slight issue Wright has had is with ink shelf-life. "We had problems with some inks supplied that didn't have the full 12 months of shelf-life left. So I'd recommend anyone buying ink to check the use-by date."Wright adds, however, that in some ways ink going out of date actually shows how frugal the machine is with ink - a very valuable feature in any machine. And Mimaki explains that, because inks are manufactured in Japan with a 12 month shelf-life, but then transported via various warehouses, the shelf-life will necessarily be slightly less than 12 months by the time the ink reaches the printer. The manufacturer adds that while all inks are supplied with a minimum of three months shelf-life, it's extremely rare that inks arrive with such a short shelf-life remaining. "While, as Brunel Engraving is seeing, the Mimaki UJF-3042FX is extremely frugal when it comes to ink use, we're not aware of any issues with regards to customers' inks running out of date, although we would always recommend good stock rotation, as you would expect," says a Mimaki spokesperson. Aside from theses slight sticking points, the UJF has proved to be mostly trouble free. The only other niggles were "a couple of minor issues with the printhead height settings," but these were resolved "pretty quickly".So would Brunel Engraving buy another? "I'd probably buy the bigger UJF-6042," says Wright. With a bed twice the size - 600x420mm - and a maximum printhead height of 150mm, the 6042 enables bigger and thicker products to be printed, and Wright is happy enough with the printer's overall reliability that he'd rather take the bigger format than have the security of two smaller machines.Wright is also very pleased with the way adding print to Brunel's offering has developed his business. One growth application the machine has enabled, is exterior signage where the firm prints onto the back of clear acrylic and then backs the print up with self-adhesive vinyl to produce durable signs or panels in full-colour. Broader portfolioAdding print has also enabled the firm to offer new variations on existing products, either enhancing their appearance and graphic sophistication, widening the range of materials that can be used or reducing prices. One example is industrial labels, which, by printing onto vinyl rather than engraving into metal, can be produced much more cost-effectively.Print, then, is a growing part of the business, now accounting for some 15% of turnover. But Wright is adamant that the move into printing is an adjunct to the firm's core engraving processes rather than an attempt to attack the adjacent markets served by printers and sign makers. In fact, he sees the addition of the UJF as an ideal opportunity for the firm to offer trade printing services to firms in those sectors who don't have their own machine, with some 7.5% of business, and growing, coming from trade customers."We consider ourselves to be engravers," he says. "Anything that we produce that's not engraved still has to be a quality our customers will be happy with. I consider that we are still in the engraving industry, it's just that now we are using equipment that can also be used for other things."
SPECIFICATIONSSpeed 720x600, four-pass: sub two minutes; 1,400x1,200, 16-pass: eight minutesFormat 300x420mmProduct depth Up to 50mm (150mm on UJF 3042HG)Colours CMYK, LC, LM, white, clear and primerUV-curing technology LEDPrice £22,995Contact GPT 01189 294429 www.g-p-t.co.uk; Hybrid Services 01270 501900 www.hybridservices.co.uk
Company profile Based in Clevedon, West Somerset, Brunel Engraving produces trophies, signs, labels and name badges using engraving, etching and latterly printing. It was established in 1989 and has since diversified to offer a wide variety of related services to businesses and consumers via a range of e-commerce enabled websites. Why it was bought...The firm bought a Mimaki UJF-3042FX UV-cured flatbed printer last March to process those signs, labels, badges and trophies that customers now want complex, full-colour logos or photographs on. The UV printer was bought to replace a solvent machine Brunel had been using for three months because with the previous machine, the firm encountered problems with "inks attacking the printheads causing them to deteriorate."How it has performed...Despite a few issues with print adhesion on metal, the machine has proved mostly very reliable, reports founder of Brunel Engraving Martyn Wright.
|Star product: FFEI RealPro Toolkit
Fri, 19 Apr 2013 07:04:00 GMT
What does the software do? RealPro Toolkit is a modular suite of design and production plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator that can be bought in six different combinations. Although originally intended for packaging and labels work, it can be used with any complex Illustrator-based artwork and will fit in with any PDF-based workflow. It is intended as a shot across the bows of Esko, the dominant supplier in packaging and labels software, as well as to complement FFEI's other products, including RealVue 3D Packager, RealPro Workflow and the Caslon digital label press. When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?It was originally announced at Drupa last year as a complete set of plug-ins as part of the new RealVue 3D Packager suite. However, during field trials, users often said they wanted some or all the Toolkit's functions independently of the 3D elements. "This is something we hadn't expected," comments Andy Cook, managing director of FFEI. "These guys were saying to us that they've got Esko workstations that work very well, but they'd also like to spread different functions around design and pre-press." So FFEI unbundled the plug-ins to ship RealPro Toolkit at the beginning of February. How does it work?There are nine plug-ins supplied as different combinations in five packages for various sets of production tasks, plus a complete set. The modules are: Inspect for pre-flighting; Eye for better previews and navigation; Link controls linked images; Ink controls ink colours and special separations; Search identifies and locate objects in Illustrator, with multiple search terms and conditionals; Tool extends Illustrator's graphic functions; Mark adds dynamic marks, including step and repeat; Trap enables automatic or interactive trapping, rich black and white underprint generation, written to new layers; and Nest enables manual and step and repeat. There are also three further add-ons: TIFF, which exports selected areas as TIFF files; Seamless, which sets up repeating patterns; and Warp, which generates pre-distortion for later print processes. The licence and dongle are for one operator, so different packages can be bought within the same company. Cook says that a networked version is now under development with a single site-wide dongle.What is its USP?RealPro Toolkit is the first major alternative to the Esko DeskPack sets of Illustrator plug-ins. FFEI claims that its search module is unique in its ability to find and highlight elements within complex Illustrator files. "Trial sites reported that this could save 20, 30 minutes or even an hour per job," says Peter Christianson, sales support specialist at FFEI. He adds that its trapping module is particularly sophisticated, and so is the dynamic Marks feature. How does it differ from previous versions?This is a brand new product, but some of the technologies are related to FFEI's development of the XMF Workflow for Fujifilm, and its own RealPro Workflow. FFEI is the ultimate descendent of Crosfield Electronics' R&D department, so its experience goes back decades. How easy is it to use?"Very," according to Christianson. "If you can use Illustrator, it's easy to learn. We provide a workspace with all the tools together on a side panel, so it fits nicely in the familiar Illustrator environment. Part of the trial site feedback was a questionnaire. All the trial users said it was very easy to get to grips with. Some required some specialist training on trapping for instance, or step and repeat, but apart from that they were using it right away."What training and support is on offer?The purchase cost for each package includes operator training and three months' technical support. There's an annual maintenance and updates agreement on offer for £1,600, but this isn't mandatory.How many installations have there been and what are the sales targets?"Including field trials and the first sales, we have six installations," says Cook, who adds that sales targets are in the "how long's a piece of string" category. FFEI is now setting up a direct sales operation in the UK for packaging and labels. "Establishing our own direct sales contact with clients will allow us to test with clients, get feedback, and use the UK for testing new ideas and products," says Cook.
SPECIFICATIONSSystem requirements Mac OS X or Windows platform running Adobe Illustrator CS3 to CS6. The installer and dongle are designed to work on both Macs and PCs Price Search, £2,000 but with five- and 10-user licences also offered; Nest, £4,550; Prepare, £4,000; Flexo, £5,200; Studio, £8,000. The Complete package is £10,700. Options for each package are TIFF, £2,350; Seamless, £2,350; and Warp, £1,200Contact FFEI 01442 213440 www.ffei.co.uk
ALTERNATIVESEsko DeskPackPrecise cost comparisons between DeskPack and the FFEI Toolkit are difficult because there isn't always a precise overlap in functions between the two sets of plug-ins or packages. DeskPack is a suite of 18 plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, for packaging and label design and pre-press. The plug-ins are intended to complement Esko's workstation-based ArtPro and PackEdge packaging pre-production editors, but can run independently. System requirements Mac OS X or Windows platform plus Adobe Illustrator and PhotoshopPrice Plug-ins can be purchased separately (for instance the BoostX set of graphics tools costs £304 and barcodes are also £304. Esko offers bundles for different sets of functions, or they can be modified to customer requirements. A get-you-started Dashboard bundle of 10 plug-ins costs £5,217, while thetop standard bundle, for full label production, costs £13,000 with 13 plug-insContact Esko 0121 667 4200 www.esko.com
|Star product: GPT 190s
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:04:00 GMT
What does the machine do?With the marketing focus in mid-market roll-to-roll wide-format latterly dominated by latex, the launch of a solvent machine stands out. With the 190s, GPT has taken proven technologies from Mimaki and combined them to offer up to 96sqm/hr for less than £25,000.When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?It was announced earlier this year with the big push to come at Sign & Digital UK at the end of the month. "We developed the machine based on customer demand; people told us they wanted to go faster and they wanted a good price. The target customer is an existing solvent printer user with a Mimaki JV3 or JV33 looking for a replacement. For them it is a comfortable upgrade, they know Mimaki technology and ink," says GPT general manager Stuart Cole, who reports that those installing the first machines at the end of this month fit this bill. "It's not an entry-level machine, someone moving into solvent for the first time is not going to get this," he adds.How does it work?It's a roll-fed inkjet printer with a 1.9m-wide chassis. GPT has taken a Mimaki textile printer, although it is being coy about which one, and filled it with Mimaki's SS21 solvent inks rather than water-based textile inks. The reason for choosing this particular chassis is because it uses a twin-head configuration, which has double the nozzle density, and therefore double the throughput of the Mimaki JV33.What is the USP of the product?The big differentiator is this speed at this price. It's around £10,000 more expensive than the JV33, although performance is more akin to Mimaki's JV5, which uses four printheads and is £40,000. While there isn't a Mimaki at this price point it is an emerging market with rivals offering similar products. GPT has added a number of options including an ink trough to catch waste ink when printing onto un-backed mesh, bulk ink and heavy-duty feed and take-up rollers.How fast is it?Flat out it produces 96sqm/hr, but Cole admits that will be an exception rather than a rule. "I don't expect people to run that fast. It's like the top speed of a car; you don't expect to actually drive at that speed," he says. However, for applications where close-up quality isn't important, such as building wraps and hoardings, it will run at that speed some of the time. A two-pass mode produces 60sqm/hr when there is a need for speed and a bit more quality. The bulk of work will be in the intermediate modes producing 24-36sqm/hr. For the absolute best results it produces 15sqm/hr. To get the two highest throughputs needs a third-party RIP such as Wasatch or Shiraz, rather than the Mimaki RasterLink RIP included with the printer.How easy is it to use?For the intended market that already has a wide-format solvent machine it should be a cinch, especially those with a Mimaki. What training and service support is on offer?Included in the package are delivery, installation and training, along with a follow up visit a couple of months after installation to sort any outstanding issues.How much does it cost?The base machine is £23,000. The pricing for some of the options is yet to be finalised, although Cole estimates that the ink trough will cost £1,000 and the bulk reel kit £3,000. The bulk ink system is a standard Mimaki option, which costs £1,800 up front, but offers savings over the life of the machine. "If you're investing over £20,000 in a printer bulk ink is a no brainer," says Cole. The saving is equivalent to £12 per cartridge over standard inks, which as a typical JV33 user gets through eight cartridges per month according to Cole, works out at a saving of £96 per month. At that rate the system pays for itself within 19 months. If you assume the 190s produces double the output then the payback time is halved.How many are installed currently worldwide and in the UK?So far, GPT has received two orders, although at the time of writing neither had been installed.
SPECIFICATIONSWidth 1.9mMax speed 96sqm/hrInk Mimaki SS21 solvent. 440ml cartridges or 2l bags with bulk ink systemResolution Up to 1,440dpiPrice Printer, including RasterLink software RIP £23,000Options Heavy-duty reels £3,000, Mimaki bulk ink system £1,800, ink trough £1,000, RIP PC £850, external RIP from £1,500Contact GPT 01889 294429 www.g-p-t.co.uk
ALTERNATIVESEpson SureColor SC-S50600Launched at Drupa, the SC-S50600 is one of three machines in Epson's second generation of eco solvent machines, which use its Ultrachrome GS2 inks. Epson stands out from the pack with the addition of white ink to its fast four machine, with two sets of CMYK.Width 1.6mMax speed 51.8sqm/hrPrice £22,950Contact Epson 0871 423 7766 www.epson.co.ukMutoh ValueJet 1638Launched early last year, the ValueJet 1638 was the first solvent machine to offer the fast-four configuration with staggered printheads. Mutoh is more conservative with its maximum speed rating but everyday production in the range of 24-36sqm/hr compares well.Width 1.6mMax speed 48sqm/hrPrice £20,995Contact Colourgen 01628 588722 www.colourgen.comRoland DG SolJet Pro4 XF-640Having teased the market with details of ‘The Beast', Roland finally unveiled the new machine this month. While the headline speed pips all contenders, typical production speed is 24-30sqm/hr. Like all other machines here it uses a twin staggered printhead and two sets of CMYK.Width 1.6mMax speed 102sqm/hrPrice £20,999Contact Roland DG UK 0845 230 9060 www.rolanddg.co.uk
|Me & my: Duplo Digital System 5000
Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:04:00 GMT
"We are at the start of a venture into digital," explains technical director Warren Irving. "The demand is coming from a number of sources. On the one hand, you have people who produce programmes and they want to print 20-30 at a time, replacing stock as they sell it, generally through online channels. Then you have those customers that order 30,000 products, but there are 25 versions of those products, and some of those versions will only have run lengths of around 100-200."Using PCP's existing press line-up of heavy artillery for these jobs is a bit like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer, according to Irving. The company would gang the jobs and trim off the waste. It was wasteful and inflexible. Hence, PCP needed some nimbler, lighter-weight fighters to add to its fight card. On the press side, it opted for a Xerox Color 1000, supplied by Fujifilm. It had the right price point and specifications for this first foray into digital printing, says Irving, and PCP could operate it through its existing XMF workflow. Working out what finishing option to run alongside the press was arguably a more difficult decision, but Irving and PCP opted to trust Fujifilm in this area too; the company went for a Duplo System 5000 from Fujifilm, which acts as a reseller for the Duplo kit. "We have a long-standing relationship with Fujifilm; we were one of the first users of XMF, so it was natural that they would be our partner in our move into digital. We knew we could trust them, and the benefit was that we could continue to use our existing workflow. It was just so much easier," says Irving. The System 5000 is a collating and bookletmaking system designed for the digital market. It can collate and stitch magazines of up to 100pp, and has the option of a three-knife trimmer. Speed-wise, its maximum output is 5,000 A5 booklets per hour, and it boasts a 12-job memory and up to 60 collating bins. PCP took delivery of the machine last year. The company had converted a former office into a specialist digital pressroom, relaying the floor and improving the air conditioning. Hence, when the System 5000 was delivered, it was just a matter of bolting it together and plugging it in. New skillsInterestingly, it was not existing finishing or pressroom staff that were drafted in to use the new digital finishing machine. Instead, PCP opted to give that responsibility to the pre-press staff and Irving explains that this meant training was crucial. "The people we have running the machine are not press minders or finishing operators; they're from our pre-press department, so they don't fully appreciate its capabilities."Fortunately, training was very good and the system proved painless to navigate, according to Irving. "We found the machine to be very easy to use. It's straightforward and designed to be quick to set up, so we expected no issues," he reveals. "I would say Duplo's ‘green button' claim is largely true, but there are obviously parameters that you have to put in place, too. I would say our operator could run the machine after half a day's training, and by the end of the day she was pretty comfortable. "Then we had an extra day of training a couple of months later, after our operator had had time to get to grips with the day-to-day operation and uncover any issues - how to use certain stock sizes, for example, or certain types of stock."Mark Stephenson, sales manager for digital solutions at Fujifilm, explains this split training process is a standard way of working for Fujifilm. "Usually, what we do with most bits of kit is to conduct the initial days of training but leave a day aside to come back at a later date," he says. "When you are training on a bit of new kit, it is very difficult to understand what you are learning as you have no practical experience on the machine. We come back after a couple of weeks or a month to see what additional training work needs to be done."It's not just training that benefits from some machine time, according to Irving. He explains that knowledge of the machine is also crucial to ironing out the niggles that can come up with using a piece of new technology - where you once would have phoned an engineer, you learn to fix the issue yourself, he says. "We have had some niggles but nothing major - things like a worn roller, or bits of wire that were left in the machine while stitching that you could not get access too," he explains. "We have never had to wait for an engineer to fix those and telephone support is almost immediate. What you do find, though, is that the more you use the machine, and the more used to it you become, niggles crop up less frequently or you find you can iron them out yourself. It's not operator error causing the problems, but learning how the machine works and its quirks and how to work around them does solve the issues. That is the same on all machines, not just the Duplo."The service support for PCP's machine is delivered by Duplo itself, but Stephenson says Fujifilm is involved in an observation capacity to ensure the install is going smoothly. He says that issues are generally just about getting used to the machine, as Irving suggests. "Everyone has their favourite stocks and every stock needs to be handled in a slightly different way," he says. Useful optionsThe good news for both Fujifilm and Duplo is that Irving and PCP are very happy with the purchase. Irving particularly likes the square-back option."It means we can cater for those customers that want stitch products that look perfect bound. We use the machine quite often for presentation material where a client will want, for example, three books that they use as selling material," he says. As for speed and quality, for the job that PCP was looking for the System 5000 to perform and for the price point it was willing to pay, Irving says it is the perfect machine."Speed-wise, this machine is the right machine for us at this point. That said, as we have used the Xerox and the Duplo machine more, you inevitably want it to go faster the more work you are putting on it and the more you understand the digital market. As for quality, the machine does what we expected. It would be great if we could stitch thicker books or heavier covers, but that is not what this machine was designed to do."Currently, 70% of the work that comes off the Xerox machine goes onto the System 5000 and the System 5000 itself is running at around 15% of capacity, according to Irving. There is plenty of room to grow into the machine, then. However, how well a fit the machine will continue to be for the business depends on how successful the digital market proves to be for PCP and what digital products are being requested, says Irving. "How we progress depends on how the market for digital in this sector develops and the type of work it demands," he says. "If the business turns out to be up to 500 pages of stitched product, it is ideal. For our budget and point on the digital transition timeline, it was this machine in conjunction with the Xerox that was the best fit."For now, then, the machine is perfect for PCP's requirements and has been a successful tool for its first foray into digital. What the future holds for PCP remains to be seen, but it's fair to say that both Duplo and Fuji have put their names forward to partner any future digital growth.
SPECIFICATIONSMax speed 5,000 A5 booklets per hourMax sheet size 358x508mmMax untrimmed book size 254x356mm Max stock weight 300gsmPrice from £91,000Contact Duplo 01932 263 900 www.duplouk.com; Fujifilm 01234 572 000 www.fujifilm.eu/uk
COMPANY PROFILEPrecision Colour Printing (PCP) is based in Telford, Shropshire and has been producing magazines and catalogues for more than 30 years. A past winner of PrintWeek Awards in both the Consumer Magazine and Catalogue Printer categories, it operates an extensive array of both conventional and, more recently, digital kit. Why it was bought…PCP was getting more and more requests for shorter-run work and was finding printing that work on conventional machines inefficient and wasteful. It therefore opted to move into the digital sphere, buying a Xerox Color 1000, and it needed a finishing solution to match. It opted for the Duplo System 5000.How it has performed…Technical director Warren Irving says the machine has been the perfect match for the company's first foray into digital print, providing good quality and speed and fast set-up times, as well as flexible output.
|Me & My... Fujifilm Euromedia
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 01:04:00 GMT
Starting a print business from scratch, with no client-base and just one press, is a story that will be familiar to many in the sector. So when Neil Buckingham opened a bank account under the name Artisan Litho in 1995 and received the keys to his first business premises, he certainly wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary.
What was slightly unusual about Buckingham's situation was that the keys he'd received were to a Second World War aircraft hangar, and only half of one at that. Just as unusual, the next premises the company moved to had previously been a chicken shed.
Today, however, the company inhabits a purpose-built, 650m2-plus building on the same site at Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, and has changed its name to Artisan Print Solutions to reflect the addition of wide-format, web-to-print and cross-media services to what started as a traditional litho print house. But its ethos still nicely encapsulates the firm's humble roots, according to managing director Daren Elsley, who joined owner Buckingham at the company in 2009. "We base our business on a friendly, get-the-job-done, hands-on kind of attitude," he says, reporting that this is very popular with the range of charity, education, hotel and other SME customers the firm caters for.
And, unsurprisingly, this approach is something Artisan values highly from its suppliers. It is certainly a quality the team value in the supplier of their Euromedia substrates, Fujifilm. In fact, this was one of the main reasons the firm chose to use these substrates when it first branched into wide-format printing three years ago, with a Roland XC540 printer.
"I was at a show and got talking to Fuji and it's just gone from there really," reports Elsley. "With Fuji, it's a really welcoming experience. If you ever have an issue with how to work with a certain substrate, Nigel Briggs [UK sales and product manager, Fujifilm Graphic Systems] is at the other end of the phone. He really knows what he's talking about."
"We have trialled materials from another large supplier and the materials were good, but it's more about the support to be honest; we just found that we didn't have as good an experience with them," he adds.
Elsley says he could quote many examples where Briggs' in-depth knowledge of which wide-format substrates work best for what applications and with what kit, has been invaluable. He relates an instance when the company needed to produce crease-resistant, flame-retardant flags for a new client and, never having produced this type of product before, needed some advice. "I gave Nigel a ring and he sent over some samples of Dreamtex FR. The customer liked it and it worked well on the machine," says Elsley. "We've been offering wide-format for three years now, but there's a learning curve and you really need the support of your suppliers to offer a professional finish."
Another example of Fuji being very willing to lend support, was where Artisan was having problems with pop-up banners. "One of the things we were getting on our printer was bit of stretch, only by a mil or so and with most pop-ups you maybe wouldn't notice it. But on a pop-up with very busy graphics and split over a couple of panels, you'd get some fit issues where you could see the graphics didn't match up," says Elsley. "Nigel told us that this was because we were using a PVC product, which will stretch where there's a heated element, and that we really needed to switch to a polyester product."
This, along with all other issues Fuji has lent support on, was not a matter of anything being at fault with the Euromedia substrates, adds Elsley. In fact, he says, he can't think of an instance where Artisan has encountered an issue where the actual quality of the substrate - rather than the way it was being used or its suitability for a certain job - was at fault. "In all honesty we haven't had any problems," he says.
In fact, the quality of the substrates has really impressed Artisan, and, along with the helpful support given by Fuji, this has been a key reason for sticking with the brand. "Because we're getting a quality product, we don't have to reprint, we're not having problems with the finishing," reports Elsley. "It has allowed us to be more efficient and customers are happy with the product - that's obviously what you're aiming for."
So impressed has it been with the quality of each substrate, Artisan is using more and more of the Euromedia materials on a regular basis. The company now regularly uses Satin Photo paper, RollUp Film Premium, Pop Up Film Premium, Project Banner White banner material and, as of pretty recently, 2D Smart-Apply Vinyl, for the range of posters, roller banners, pop-ups, mount graphics, flags, and vehicle wraps it now offers. And the printer has plans to switch supply of laminates to Euromedia soon too.
There is, however, one product the company feels is missing from the range: "It would be nice if they offered coloured vinyl as we are starting to use that for decals," says Elsley.
He qualifies that by saying that, tempting as it might be to get all wide-format substrates from one trusted source, businesses ought to keep their options open. "It's not always a good idea to get all your supplies from one company," he says. "If you do, you can sometimes get a better price, but if there's a problem with the delivery, for some reason, then it can backfire. It's a balance."
And Elsley does concede that Euromedia products are "not the cheapest" on the market, and that, while most customers are willing to pay a slight premium for good quality, the company needs to be able to cater for slimmer budgets as well.
"We do have to remember what we're up against - when you look on the web, people are doing roller banners at ridiculous prices and it's because they're probably printing on low-quality materials," he says. "Some customers just treat it as a commodity so we try and offer a full spectrum if we can. If a customer just wants a cheap product tomorrow that's going to be chucked in the bin after one day's use, we need to be able to offer them that, using a cheaper substrate. But if a customer is really focused on the integrity of their branding and colour, then we can offer them the higher-end stuff."
And apparently most customers are more than happy to pay slightly more for high-quality products. "The products are still competitively priced and they pay dividends in the quality we can produce," reports Elsley. So with this in mind, he would certainly recommend other printers use this product, particularly as, offering materials to work with water-based, solvent and UV printers, the range has something to "suit any wide-format printer".
Certainly the range will feature more and more heavily in Artisan's operations, reflecting, reports Elsley, the company's shift away from conventional litho work to focus more on growth areas, such as wide-format digital.
One thing that will remain the same as Artisan's business model continues to evolve, however, is the kind of focus on being approachable and down to earth that can perhaps only grow out of once being based in a chicken shed. And Artisan is confident Euromedia suppliers Fujifilm will continue to reciprocate this friendly, down-to-earth ethos too.
Satin Photo paper Price £1.58/m2
RollUp Film Premium Price £7.40/m2
Pop Film Premium Price £9.50/m2
Project Banner White Price £ 1.45/m2
2D Smart Apply Vinyl Price £ 4.07/m2
Dreamtex Price £ 7.88/m2
Contact Fujifilm 01234 245245 www.euromedia.eu.com
Artisan Print Solutions was a very different company when it started life 18 years ago. For one, it was called Artisan Litho. But, more noticeably, it was based in an old aircraft hangar. The business then moved into a converted chicken shed and then a purpose-built 650m2-plus premises to become the £1m-turnover, 12-strong company it is today. Artisan has also now branched out into wide-format, web-to-print and cross-media, serving a range of SMEs, charities, schools and colleges.
Why it uses these products...
The company started working with Euromedia substrates three years ago when it started branched into wide-format printing with a Roland XC540. Artisan was attracted to the range not only because the firm felt its quality to be superior to other manufacturers' products, but also because it was impressed by Fujifilm's helpful, hands-on approach.
How they have performed...
Managing director Daren Elsley has been very impressed with the range. "Because we're getting a quality product we don't have to reprint, we're not having problems with the finishing," he says. "It's allowed us to be more efficient and customers are happy with the product - that's obviously what you're aiming for."
|Star Product: Xerox Color J75 and C75
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 01:04:00 GMT
What are they and when were they launched?
The Xerox Color J75 and C75 combine duplex printing, copying and scanning and are capable of printing and copying at 2,400dpi on a range of coated and uncoated stocks from 64-300gsm at speeds of up to 75 pages per minute (ppm). Both devices are laser printers, utilising Xerox EA Dry Ink. They were officially launched in March 2013.Who are they aimed at? Ian Mitchell, high-volume product manager, Xerox UK, says that the presses are aimed roughly at the same markets: the C75 is aimed at in-plants, design agencies and existing or emerging digital print businesses; the J75, meanwhile, is aimed at similar markets but also commercial print shops and printers producing high-volume, high-value applications. How do these products differ from previous models?Mitchell is keen to counter criticism that these two presses are in fact very similar to the manufacturer's C700/C7002 models and stresses that these new products are significant improvements on those models.
"Xerox has improved on the hugely successful 700i and 770 platforms, introducing a number of new technologies to complement the existing rich set of features," he explains. "The new features are all designed to make the machines as productive and reliable as possible, as well as making colour management and profiling simple and effective."
He explains that along with the J75 now being able to run all stocks at rated speeds and providing "industry-leading colour management via the Xerox Automated Colour Quality Suite", there is also the new Simple Image Quality Adjustment (SIQA).
"SIQA is software that enables the operator to automatically adjust front to back registration and the uniformity of colour density across the page, by printing sheets and scanning them back using the integrated scanner. SIQA then makes the necessary adjustments to ensure your print is optimised," he reveals. "Previously, and on some competitor equipment, this would mean a lengthy delay and in some cases would require a site visit from an engineer."What are the products' USPs?Mitchell says that the above new features are, in Xerox's view, unique to the marketplace. What is the speed and quality of the machines? "The machines have increased in speed to 75ppm from the previous 71ppm. The C75 is positioned at the higher end of our Office Range, while the J75 is an entry-level unit in our Production Range," says Mitchell.
As mentioned earlier, both printers are capable of printing and copying at 2,400dpi on a range of coated and uncoated stocks from 64-300gsm at speeds of up to 75ppm. However, while the production-level J75 can handle all paper stocks at its top-rated speed, output on the C75 drops from 75ppm for uncoated stocks to 51ppm for coated.How easy is it to use?"They have a very straightforward progressive operator screen and all jam areas are clearly indicated by colour," states Mitchell. He adds that both presses are available with Xerox FreeFlow or EFI Fiery EX print server.
What support is on offer?As with all Xerox products, a full and extensive on-site training programme is available to new users. The devices are backed by the Xerox Customer Service Support Operation.
How much do they cost?The presses will cost £30,000-£60,000 depending on configuration.
Max speed 75 A4 ppmMax resolution 2,400dpiMax sheet size 320x450mmMax stock weight 300gsmAverage monthly page volumes 20,000-75,000Price £30,000-£60,000 depending on configurationContact Xerox 0870 873 4519 / www.xerox.com
Ricoh Pro C751There's not much in it in terms of speed, but this machine boasts a higher resolution.Max speed 75 A4 ppm Max resolution 4,800dpiMax sheet size 330.2x487.7mmMax stock weight 300gsmPrice £40,000-£60,000 depending on configurationContact Ricoh 0800 904090 / www.ricoh.co.ukHeidelberg Linoprint C751As an OEM version of the Ricoh, the Linoprint's resolution is also higher than the Xerox and its top speed is identical.Max speed 75 A4 ppmMax resolution 4,800dpiMax sheet size 330x487.7mm (330x630mm with bypass unit for banner printing)Max stock weight 300gsm (some 350gsm stocks also supported)Price £48,000-£85,000 depending on configurationContact Heidelberg 0844 892 2010 / www.uk.heidelberg.comCanon imageRunner Advance C9280 Pro/C9070 ProA slightly slower top speed but that is reflected in the slightly lower price. Max speed 70 A4 ppmMax resolution 1,200dpiMax sheet size 330.2x487.7mmMax stock weight 300gsmPrice 9280: from £45,930 / 9070: from £59,050Contact Canon 01737 220000 / www.canon.co.uk Konica Minolta Bizhub C7000The same copy, scan and print applications as on the Xerox, but with a slightly lower top speed and resolution.Max speed 71 A4 ppmMax resolution 1,200dpiMax sheet size 330x487mmMax stock weight 300gsmPrice £55,000-£80,000 depending on configurationContact Konica Minolta 0800 83 38 64 / www.konicaminolta.co.uk
"I was impressed with the Xerox Color J75 at first site. It offers many high-end press features in a smaller footprint with very impressive print quality"
Carsten Gaarde Printshop manager, Jyske Bank
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