Global first for Bell & Bain with Fujifilm Jet Press 540W
Glasgow based Bell & Bain Ltd is the first company in the world to place an order for Fujifilm's digital inkjet web press, the Jet Press 540W. Founded in 1831, Bell & Bain Ltd specialises in the printing and binding of business, educational, financial, medical, scientific and religious books, and learned journals.
Stephen Docherty, managing director at Bell & Bain Ltd, says: "We first saw the press at Drupa 2012 as part of our initial research into new technologies on the market, with a view to understanding how our business could benefit from incorporating inkjet into the production environment. At the time, we felt that none of the inkjet devices we saw were quite up to the high quality standards that we adhere to, but happily this had changed when we took another look at the Jet Press 540W in January 2013 during a number of visits to Fujifilm's demo facility in Brussels. The consistent high quality output in combination with the 'no click' business model on which the Jet Press 540W is based, made it the most attractive investment on the market, and the decision making team here at Bell & Bain were confident enough to sign on the dotted line."
Due for installation in July 2013, the Jet Press 540W will replace Bell & Bain's incumbent black and white toner-based continuous feed device.
Ricoh Pro C901 helps transform Platinum’s business operations
Harrogate based Platinum prides itself as being one of the region’s premier design, marketing, print and direct mail companies. Occupying some 18,000sq ft the company recently transformed its business to offer, not just print but also a broad range of added-value marketing services.
The company is a 25 year old commercial printer turning over in excess of £3 million and, as well as traditional litho printing, offers design, marketing, large format, digital print and direct mail services. This covers a wide range of products such as business stationery, brochures, and booklets, right through to corporate gifts, exhibition stands and website design.
The move to broaden the level of its offerings away from being just another litho print company was taken by Platinum a few years ago following a shift in type of service and products its customers wanted. Customer expectation was changing from less high-volume work to demand for more complex, quality print jobs, with increased levels of personalisation and a faster turnaround.
Platinum actively sought to transform its business operations to provide new, added-value services. The company now encompasses all aspects of marketing and promotion and is constantly evaluating how it can deliver more new and innovative products and services, and digital printing is an important part of that strategy.
Mark Plummer, production director at Platinum Print, says: “We have taken what was a traditional litho printing company and turned it into a business that sells many different kinds of media solutions. We try and encompass all products that have a form of graphical content. The onset of digital printing has helped to focus on delivering products and services that our customers can use for their own sales and marketing.”
However, Platinum was being held back by its existing digital printing equipment. The machine was not particularly old, having replaced an earlier digital press, but it lacked the ability to deal with many types of paper stock, and the print quality was not good enough for the high quality colour work Platinum’s customers required.
Platinum considered almost every high volume digital printer on the market before narrowing the choice down to three suppliers. After careful consideration, the company came down in favour of Ricoh and its Pro C901 production print press.
The company has been particularly pleased with the print quality from the Ricoh.
“There are certain jobs where even I sometimes have to look twice – and I’ve got over 25 years’ experience in the litho market. Sometimes I can’t actually tell the difference without getting out a magnifying glass, which is pretty unbelievable in all honesty. We are used to printing very high quality work and when you see what the Ricoh digital press can do it’s quite astounding,” says Plummer.
The Pro C901 has helped Platinum to implement its business strategy to expand its portfolio and add value to its services through digital print and has given the company the confidence to take on more complex, and high volume, colour digital print work.
“The main thing the Ricoh solution has done for us is support the expansion of our service portfolio. We’re not just a printer anymore. Customers come to us for printing, but we can then teach them how to maximise sales and marketing using the different media and methods we are able to employ,” says Plummer.
By improving the quality, scope and reliability of its digital print capability, the Ricoh Pro C901 has enabled Platinum to offer customers a much wider ranges of services that go beyond print and into more creative, value-add marketing services. For example, it was able to help an existing customer, a holiday company, maximise its sales potential using the new press. Having previously just printed brochures with each customer’s name and address, the holiday company now personalises each individual brochure, with images changing in relevance to the customer and their previous purchases and interests, in print runs of up to 30,000 at a time.
“The Ricoh solution has helped us in three ways. First, our digital print can almost match our litho print for quality. Second, it gives us the capacity to handle more complex digital print jobs, and third, there’s the wide variety of print stock we can now access. For instance, we can do high quality duplex work using heavy card, up to 350g – booklets with a cover, accounts portfolios and so forth. And we can sell new products without restriction, confident we can offer a 100 percent high quality, reliable service,” concludes Plummer.
North Print & Pack scrapes home with show deals being done
After the roller-coaster ride leading up to the event, North Print & Pack went ahead with subdued expectations.
North Print & Pack closed its doors on Thursday to relief all round. Visitors had turned up, maybe not the 4,000 that had pre-registered for the event, but enough to place orders and seal deals and to ensure that exhibitors went home relieved.
The show had not started well, with a scarcity of visitor traffic on the first day, at least after lunch. But the middle day of the show provided compensation with the sorts of numbers that kept the stands occupied for most of the day. The large stands from Ricoh and Konica Minolta enjoyed good business with deals being done as well as new contacts made.
The new Ricoh C5100S in particular attracted a great deal of attention. Next door was EFI which gained from the attention as the Fiery linked to that press was an obvious next step. But these were rivals too. With Ricoh demonstrating the PTI MarcomsCentral product to be launched in the next few months, EFI clinched two sales of its OPS application, which is also designed to manage multimedia marketing campaigns. This will be more closely integrated with other EFI products in due course the company says.
Konica Minolta offered a combination of a new press variant, the 8000e, with a partnership with VPress to market the Coreprint web to print application as an entry level product, and samples from the KM1 B2 inkjet press which was seen at Drupa and will return to Europe at Ipex next year. Another part of the stand played landlord to Taopix and its web-based photobook software.
Both digital press suppliers showed that they could produce packaging, either printing directly onto lightweight board, or else by creating a sleeve to wrap around an existing carton. GMG also entered the spirit of packaging with the introduction of Open Colour, a proofing tool which accurately represents what a digital file will look like when printed on a substrate by a chosen process using a colour sequence. The company has devised a way to predict the effects of material and colour sequence on spot colours, especially where over printed.
MIS software vendors are adapting to the mobile world with Imprint and Tharstern having tablet entries to the management information system. Imprint also demonstrated a new version of its Sentinel machine monitoring device able to work with digital presses where such information has been difficult to obtain. Tharstern’s application of an iPad is designed as a tool for a field sales person. It will allow him to create an estimate (within preset limits) while in front of a client, has access to full CRM data, including maps to show location of clients and prospects and will quickly become a widely used adjunct to the main MIS.
The finishing stands offered folders, laminators and binding equipment. Morgana had interest in its move into higher volumes of booklet making with the 2000 device, IFS demonstrated the landscape possibilities of the Horizon 200 and Perfect Bindery Solutions, playing host to a disparate range of companies including MGI, sealed the first UK sale of the Ribler lay flat perfect binder. It would probably have happened regardless of North Print & Pack, but was nevertheless the sort of deal that justified the expense of returning to Harrogate.
Over the next few weeks overall reaction and return on investment will be gauged. Informa is convinced that the show will return in two years, hopefully in a more auspicious economy. However, that is for exhibitors to decide.
French printer makes a date with Fujifilm Jet Press 720
Calendriers Alexandre, a printer and publisher of calendars and wall planners for both the French national and global markets, has invested in a Fujifilm’s Jet Press 720 and plans to transfer 75% of the work currently produced on its offset presses onto the new digital printer.
Calendriers Alexandre was founded 27 years ago by Christophe Bourné and Stéphane Mariot, and today produces the largest range of wall planners and multi-page calendars on the French market. Based in Le Mans in France, the company employs 11 people and has a turnover of €3.6M.
“This year, part of our portfolio was printed on the Jet Press 720 at Fujifilm’s showroom, which confirmed for us the quality and the productivity of the machine,” says Mr. Bourné. “After that we had no hesitation in making our decision.”
The investment in the Jet Press 720, which was installed in February 2013, is one built around a long term vision for the company. Co-manager Stéphane Mariot explains: “If we had chosen to invest in an offset machine we would make more money in the short term. But, the Jet Press 720 can be used to print many more applications, with the potential to take us into new markets which we believe will make a massive difference in the longer term. Two years ago we invested in a stationary company and this press will be perfect for developing this particular market. We are also looking at other B2 digital applications, including posters, diaries and hard-back comic books, as well as exploring a B2C business model to supplement our focus on B2B.”
Ricoh boosts its light production market portfolio
Ricoh is adding two new models - the Ricoh Pro C5110S and Ricoh Pro C5100S digital colour cut sheet production systems - to its portfolio of production printing solutions. The company says these light production models are a versatile choice for print rooms and central reprographic departments (CRDs) seeking high quality in-house print capability or digital and quick printers.
With output speeds up to 80ppm (Ricoh Pro C5110S) and 65ppm (Ricoh Pro C5100S) they are ideally suited for the production of on demand marketing material, collateral or client mailings. Both models also feature a new toner formulation and broad media handling. In addition, the small footprint makes them ideal where space is limited.
Ricoh says a newly developed toner formulation has increased the colour gamut by 10 per cent for the Pro C5110S and Pro C5100S and these are the first Ricoh digital production printers to feature enhanced toner transfer technology which delivers high quality print results on heavily textured stock – ideal for direct mail and marketing applications.
Both printers will easily integrate with Ricoh’s TotalFlow software portfolio. They also incorporate a number of technologies developed for the flagship Pro C901 Graphic Arts +. Among them is the new FS100 platform from EFI Fiery, which is used for the new E42B server. It delivers professional colour management and a fast ripping speed for improved productivity as well as an enhanced Media Library for the storage and recall of a wide range of substrates.
User flexibility is further enhanced with a wide range of compatible finishing options such as folding, booklet making and punching. This includes the Ricoh SR4100 Booklet Finisher with a new square fold capability.
Ricoh has also ensured the new systems are optimised for productivity and improved uptime. LED indicators and synchronised animated instructions act as a helpful guide for operators should they need to intervene during a print run. In addition there is a variety of status lights to keep the operator continually informed. These new systems also have a number of Operator Replaceable Units, enabling users to make necessary replacements quickly in-house.