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Flagship wins new digital and offset business with FineEye Color's ICEserver Litho

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Grand Rapids, MI – Customer satisfaction is paramount in any shop and becomes  more important when the customer is actually still a prospect.  Determining a shop's ability to deliver the level of quality they expect is one often-used test.  While various substrates do pose unique print challenges, lighter weight stocks that absorb ink readily and wrinkle easily can be particularly vexing.

Such was the case at Flagship Press, Inc., earlier this year reports Marc Forest, Director of Technology for the North Andover, MA firm.  Founded in 1950, Flagship is one of New England's largest privately owned full-service commercial and documentation printers, serving clientele for the past 14 years from an 85,000 square foot facility.  Since 2008, the entire shop and its print-production equipment have been 100% powered by the wind, with clean, renewable energy purchased from nearby Community Energy, Inc.  Flagship's stable of presses includes nine offset and several digital machines producing an extensive and highly diverse range of material.

The specific job in question, says Forest, was being run on Flagship's recently installed SCREEN USA Truepress Jet520 digital web.  "We were doing some tests for a prospective customer for student books.  Their stock is very thin, almost 'Bible thin', and they were getting a lot of ink saturation.  We were looking for a product that would strip out some of that ink, so we wouldn't get a lot of page wrinkle.

"Inks for digi-web presses are much more expensive than offset inks, so we were also looking for a product that would alleviate that cost,"  Forest said, noting the helpful folks at SCREEN "were trying to set up some paper profiles to solve our saturation problem using an ink saver software, but they weren't having much luck."

ICEserver arrives in the nick of time

Enter, Kevin Twombly, Eastern Regional Manager for Grand Rapids, MI-based FineEye Color Solutions and ICEserver Litho 2.0.  "Kevin showed us some samples, we decided on a 30-day trial and immediately started testing the ICEserver Standard and Expanded Gamut (XG) settings," Forest said.  "The expanded setting was indeed better than what the other software was doing, so we proceeded to use that setting and did the job."

While that success certainly started ICEserver on the right foot, Forest said it was just the opening round.  "What ultimately sold us on ICEserver was when we were in the middle of a really critical job for a big customer of ours, a UV job on uncoated stock.  This was an offset project running on our 40-inch, 8-color Komori press with in-line coating.  The client did not have a lot of experience with UV or with uncoated stock.

"The job was running OK but ICEserver had just been loaded into our system. At the tail end of that job we decided to test the product by running the last form with ICE'd files.  We literally took the standard set of plates off, put up the second set of ICE'd plates and started running with the same settings.

"We did a few tweaks and minor adjustments and were very excited by the results.  So was the client, who was present for the press OK.  All the colors -  the blues, the bricks on an old building - just jumped right off the page, even with the saturation on uncoated stock.  For an uncoated sheet, it was beautiful color.  That really sold ICEserver for us."

Significant ink savings and award-winning success

Since becoming a full-fledged member of the Flagship team, ICEserver finds itself employed on myriad digital as well as conventional projects.  "Everything running offset gets ICE'd, and all digital web jobs get it with no questions asked," asserts Forest.

Acknowledging that ink savings of around 25% typically achieved with ICEserver would likely apply at Flagship, he said "dollar savings add up even more when running more-expensive digital inks, but quality output is the biggest thing for our customers and us."

Forest recalled another situation, a product catalog on coated stock with both gloss and dull UV varnishes.  "A sales person joined us bringing a client that had been unhappy with the previous shop.  This was our first job for the customer and there was a lot of nervousness going around the building.  It's a company that sells motorcycle wear: helmets, clothing, accessories and lots of leather - red leather, blue leather, purple leather, black leather - men's and women's jackets, all really nice items."

Forest had no qualms about the project, but he nevertheless "ran proofs with standard files and ICE'd files to show the salesman we would not have a problem on-press moving the colors up and down on this job.  We ran the ICE'd job and it had 'pop' in the reds, and 'pop' in the blues, all with the little (ICEserver Litho XG) extra gamut push."

In early October, Flagship was informed the catalog had earned an award from the Printing Industry of New England (PINE).  It's their first for a job using ICEserver Litho, joining a long line of awards earned by the shop over the years.  "We'll be winning more," Forest said.

Although Flagship has not made a point of telling customers about its use of ICEserver Litho, long-time clients do notice the difference when jobs are rerun or art from previous printings is reused in updated material.

Looking forward to ICEserver Litho 3.0

"I saw FineEye's (soon to be released) 3.0 product at Graph Expo," Forest added.  While the new open architecture with XML for easier workflow communication on multiple levels is a key advantage in the eyes of many prospective users, Forest gravitates toward further improvements in day-in, day-out job production.

"What I like about 3.0 is I'll have even more control over the black, which will allow us to run the standard setting on most conventional offset projects.  On the digital side, we'll be able to take out even more ink to avoid wrinkling and save even more money on our most expensive inks."




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