Stronger showing for large format digital print at the Print Show

Written by Gareth Ward on Wednesday, 19 October 2016.

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The prime position of Sign & Digital as the key show for the UK graphics industry remains unchallenged, despite a stronger showing for large format digital print at the Print Show in the NEC.

Oki’s position right at the entrance and Grafityp nearby delivered an impression that large format graphics might be dominant was quickly dispelled. Konica Minolta was hiding behind Oki with a line up of cut sheet digital presses and an MGI, but no sign of Vutek. And where Ricoh had a strong presence last time with a latex printer on show, this time the company had decided to focus on its own events.

Printmax brought Mimaki JV150 machines, including a small format UV flatbed in the special interests area. Colourbyte and Fujifilm provided Epson and Acuity roll-fed machines to examine and talk about while Grafityp had a number of machines and there were materials to talk about with Antalis, including new Drytac films, there was little to stretch the day for a committed graphics print business. Soyang offered the more unusual materials including floor coverings.

Spandex with a SwissQPrint Impala was the only company with a true flatbed printer with much of the stand given over to media.

Oki was demonstrating vehicle wrapping on an adjacent stand to promote its Print my Ride online competition, and had one of the few product introductions to discuss. Ahead of the official launch in December, it had brought along a ColourPainter E-64 a new model to build on the heritage of the M-64 and H3-104 printers. It has borrowed technologies from both ranges.

The E-64 uses the ECO solvent SX ink which is suitable for media ranging from vinyls, industrial textiles, clear films, wallpaper, canvas, hard PVC and more. An ioniser to cope with highly electrostatic materials is an option.

Large format featured strongly in the Printers’ Bazaar area which was intended to inspire visitors about new applications for printing. These included vehicle wrapping, textile printing and promotional branding. 

A number of online trade printers were looking to pitch signage products, with Marqetspace leading the way with its pop up textile displays closely followed by Ultima Displays.


TÜV certification showcases customer care at Italian w2p giant Pixartprinting

Written by Colin Gillman on Monday, 03 October 2016.

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Italian w2p giant Pixartprinting has been awarded TÜV certification that shows that its management system meets the requirements of UNI EN 15838: 2010 - Contact centre support services for clients, consumers and citizens.

The company says this certification is the result of a long process launched some time ago with the aim of optimising Pixartprinting's customer care provision, and TÜV, an international and independent body, has now provided tangible and verifiable proof of the quality of the service provided. The certification, which aims to define the levels of performance and quality offered in the customer care sector from the point of view of the service users, is valid for multi-channel customer care services.

"Our online shop is not just about the products on offer: our customer service is an integral part of what we sell,” says Andrea Pizzola, Sales & Marketing director at Pixartprinting. "The satisfaction derived from it is an extremely important tool for increasing customer retention and loyalty. For this reason, our customer care team is structured around the localisation strategy of our range, which has always been a fundamental part of our approach to the market. TÜV certification helps to strengthen the brand's value and the trust of our customers, as well as allowing us to take on specific orders that require this certification".

Pixartprinting's customer care team currently employs 50 members of staff, all based at the firm's premises in Quarto d'Altino. Every day the team responds to queries from the online shop's 250,000 customers with multi-channel support via telephone, email and social networks. The support offered covers three different phases: pre-sales, helping customers to browse the site and offering advice on products and materials; sales, assisting customers with changes to orders or non-compliant files; and after-sales, managing any complaints and providing information on delivery times and couriers.

Users in Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Germany, Portugal, Russia and Romania can call a national phone number, which will be answered by a mother tongue operator. This service will soon also be available in Catalan and Dutch. At certain times of the day, American customers can also make direct contact with localised operators in Italy, who work in partnership with their colleagues in the USA.

"What struck me when auditing Pixartprinting was the international vision of the customer care service, which is seen as support for the firm's clients, an integral part of the printing service they are buying online. I was also struck by their ability to provide information in the customer's own language" explained Maria Teresa Cordasco, Lead auditor from the TÜV Italia auditing team. "Users worldwide receive a customised service close to their expectations from Pixartprinting. The operators' technical ability in graphic design, politeness and promptness to respond are constantly monitored, as set out in UNI EN 15838: 2010.”

Before joining the Pixartprinting customer care team, operators must go through a rigorous training programme. This includes theory sessions to acquire knowledge on the website, localised sales policy and the products; practical sessions with the manufacturing department to get to know the graphic design programs and the CRM system; and, finally, on-the-job training alongside trained members of staff. The workers' skills are not limited to a meticulous technical knowledge and the necessary language skills, but also personal skills such as politeness, empathy and stress management.


Print and display printer extends its cut sheet digital printer fleet with Ricoh

Written by Colin Gillman on Tuesday, 26 July 2016.

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Northumberland printer B Print and Display Group (BPDG) has invested in two Ricoh cut sheet digital production printers, the Ricoh Pro C9110 and Pro C7110x. This is the company’s second investment in Ricoh printers following the acquisition of a Ricoh Pro C901. 

BPDG is a retail-brands focused business with over 30 years history in successful delivery of brand-related POS & Print services to best-in-class clients, across a variety of markets, and this investment is an extended commitment from the Northumberland printer towards transformational digital technology. Through Ricoh’s help and support, the company has deepened its relationship with Ricoh in learning to sell digital print successfully. 

BPDG’s use of only one machine meant an increase in workload and increasing wage pressures for weekend overtime. Having recently won a three year retail contract, the addition of the new printers ensures the company can now handle large complex volumes and have back up technology to deal with any last minute requests. 

According to Ricoh the C9110 will take over the volume of work from the Pro C901. While the Pro C7110x’s 5th colour toner capability elevates the firm to a level where they can do brilliant effects with the extra colour, which are not common with digital printing. This opens up a portfolio of choice for clients and will help Print B and Display win more business. 

Will Skelchy, managing director of B Print and Display, says: “We were looking for a better balance of technology to help support our growth targets. Our goal was to work with a partner who understood our capacity expectations as well as the need to future proof and create compelling extra value. That is what we have come to expect from Ricoh”

B Print and Display’s has also strengthened its sales staff’s knowledge by educating them on using the new digital paper to specifically deliver the benefits of the five colours on the Pro C7110x. This commitment, says Ricoh, underlines the need for printers to have a robust approach to maximising digital technology beyond the initial purchase.


Ricoh announce strategic global wide format distribution partnership with EFI

Written by Colin Gillman on Tuesday, 07 June 2016.

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Ricoh announces strategic global wide format distribution partnership with EFI

Ricoh has declared its intention to move further into the wide format sector by adding EFI VUTEk flatbed printers to its offering. The announcement made during Drupa 2016 means that Ricoh’s graphic arts offering is expanded further and is now a complementary product range encompassing flatbed, large format, continuous feed, cut sheet, software and consultancy services.

Benoit ChatelardBenoit Chatelard, Vice President, Production Printing, Ricoh Europe, says: “This is a natural progression for Ricoh for two reasons. First, we have a long-standing relationship with EFI, who provide EFI Fiery as a digital front end for our cut sheet products. Secondly, we have already had a successful roll-fed large format offering in our portfolio (Ricoh’s AR Latex roll-to-roll Ricoh ProTM L4100); and the addition of UV flatbed options broadens the market possibilities our print service providers can embrace. We have been receiving client requests to expand our portfolio, and we are delighted to be able to do that with a long-time partner that is so well-respected in the industry. With this exciting announcement, we are again making clear our commitment to providing print service providers with a broad and comprehensive, integrated solution set.”

Among the VUTEk flatbed printers included is the EFI H1625 LED Hybrid roll/flatbed UV printer, featuring four colour print plus white with single pass and multilayer capabilities. Variable droplet sizes provide eight levels of grayscale. The 1.65m-wide printer also enables fast changeovers between rigid and flexible materials for optimum operational efficiency.

“LED curing is a tremendous benefit since inks are cured using EFI’s Cool Cure technology,” says Chatelard. “This means that thinner substrates can be used, reducing material, shipping and energy. This makes it one of the most environmentally friendly flatbed printers in the market, which we believe will be important to our clients in making their buying decisions.”

“The agreement continues Ricoh’s commitment to offering print service providers the opportunity to evolve into a one stop shop fully supported by tried and trusted solutions and services. Adding these outstanding printers gives our clients a wider range of choices while still taking advantage of Ricoh’s territory reach to support them fully no matter where they are located geographically,” he concludes.

This global agreement with EFI is set to kick off with availability through Europe and Latin America, with North America and Asia Pacific to follow.


Xerox iGen4 pushes CityDocs print production volume beyond 365m prints per year

Written by Colin Gillman on Friday, 03 June 2016.

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CityDocs, a London-based managed print and document solutions company, has invested in one of Xerox’s flagship production print presses, the iGen4, to push the company’s print capabilities past 300 million mono and 65 million colour copies per annum.

The combination of the iGen4’s vibrant image quality and market-leading productivity to deliver high-end collateral and promotional publications was seen as a perfect addition to the existing print technology at CityDocs, which also includes one of only 6 Jetrix KX7 in the UK. With a robust print engine capable of nearly 4 million pages per month, the iGen4 enables a cost effective digital solution to highly customised work specifications.

Richard Slater, Production Print & MPS sales manager at CityDocs, says: “The Xerox iGen4 Press brings powerful benefits to CityDocs. The excellent image quality, automation and productivity of the Xerox iGen4 is simply outstanding.”

The large format division of the CityDocs Group, where the iGen4 currently resides (at Willow Graphics), was launched last year to build upon the creative print and visual communications solutions on offer.

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OKI Europe is a division of OKI Data Corporation, an OKI group company that has been leading the world in customer-led innovation for over 130 years. Employing more than 18,000 individuals in 120 countries worldwide, we bring together the support of a global organisation with the approach of a local business.

The OKI Group is founded upon the principal of delivering products and solutions that are dedicated to business customers through a consultative and innovative approach to service, design, manufacture and implementation.

OKI Systems UK is part of OKI Europe, a division of OKI Data Corporation, a global business-to- business organisation dedicated to creating professional in-house printed communications products, applications and services designed to increase the efficiency of today’s and tomorrow’s businesses. The company is well-established as one of the UK’s leading printer brands. OKI Systems UK’s award winning product portfolio comprises of a wide range of printing solutions. From our range of smart managed document and print solutions, colour and mono printers and multifunction printers, and dot matrix printers for business, to our highly innovative colour printers which enable printing in white, clear and even neon colours all from a desktop printer. We have also recently added a range of large format printers to this exciting portfolio.

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Much of the success of OKI can be attributed to the OKI family made up of highly experienced, innovative, dedicated and customer focused professionals across the EMEA region.

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OKI are pioneers in innovative print technologies from digital LED to High Definition Colour, we have a portfolio of award winning products and solutions enabling businesses to achieve both image focused, vibrant, quality print communications and budget flexibility.

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Read more about the collaboration between OKI Europe and Save the Children

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For over 20 years, OKI has led the way in the use of digital LED printing technology which offers sharper, more vibrant High Definition Colour printing. The first to introduce this technology, OKI has continued to develop digital LED printing, offering businesses of all sizes the opportunity to print many of their documents to a professional quality - in-house. With the addition of many technologically advanced features that improve efficiency and document management our devices truly offer a smarter way to print. We don’t view printers as ‘peripheral’ to business; we see them as integral to business communication and success.

In addition to a vast portfolio of award-winning printers and MFPs, OKI Europe offers a range of solutions to help optimise print and document workflows. This, together with an integrated suite of software technologies and tools, can help businesses take control of their print and document costs in a secure environment, whether office based, mobile or in the cloud.

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