ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — For Phoenix Innovate, evaluating new printing-related technology is a continuous process. The Troy, Mich.-based firm watches, waits and, once it identifies the next best thing, springs into action.
Phoenix Innovate recently adopted what its founder and CEO, Kirk Vercnocke, considers the next best thing in production inkjet systems — the Screen Truepress JetSX sheetfed inkjet press.
“We have been looking for an improvement over toner-based tools for several years,” Vercnocke explained. “When Screen approached us about the Truepress JetSX, we were ready for a commercially viable inkjet solution to fit in a high-quality print environment. Screen did not really have to sell us on the technology. We tested the press and decided that it could dramatically change the marketplace.”
Established in 1987 as a commercial sheetfed printer, Phoenix Innovate, through a process of ongoing evaluation of its business model, has evolved into a full-service marketing company.
“We are experienced in a broad range of marketing support services and have managed numerous marketing programs for business-to-consumer and business-to-business clients, as well as small and large ad agencies,” Vercnocke said.
Six years ago, the company began offering clients marketing materials, postcards and self-mailers containing variable print.
“What attracted us to variable data printing was the concept,” Vercnocke said. “We were drawn to the marketing benefits and return on investment that VDP afforded our clients.”
Fifty employees staff Phoenix Innovate’s 40,000-square-foot headquarters. The facility houses two 40-inch sheetfed presses (a two-color and six-color) and a small-format sheetfed with two printing units. A cut-sheet toner press complements the offset equipment, delivering short-run commercial printing and VDP.
Annual sales rose by 15 percent in 2012 and are on track to repeat those gains this year. Vercnocke said conventional offset currently represents 70 percent of his business, noting that “most of the new work is derived from our data-driven marketing services.”
After unhappy experiences producing clients’ variable data jobs on toner equipment, Vercnocke was receptive to an alternative.
“The unreliability of toner machines in terms of downtime is frustrating,” he explained. “You cannot count on them not to break down. That not only affects delivery commitments but also our ability to honor contracts requiring specific delivery turns without fail for every client file.”
The Truepress JetSX combines a 20.8 x 29.1-inch format, duplex variable printing capability and print quality to rival offset.
“We are mainly an offset printer, and our clients are accustomed to offset print quality,” Vercnocke said. “The quality of the Truepress JetSX is very impressive.”
Vercnocke said the press widens the gamut of work that is competitive at 2,500 to 5,000 sheets.
“The larger sheet size is ideal for short-run static materials and short to medium-length VDP projects,” he said. “The Truepress JetSX is the most cost-effective digital device for four-color text and image swapping.”
The Truepress JetSX incorporates the same paper handling and positioning systems as offset presses. The piezo drop-on-demand printheads achieve 1,400 x 1,400 dpi resolution. A postcoat unit applies a thin spot coat to seal and protect image areas. The infrared drying unit cures Screen’s water-based pigment ink almost instantly after four-color printing so sheets can continue straight to finishing.
“The Screen ink is more flexible than toner inks,” Vercnocke said. “The ability to fold and insert marketing pieces without the ink cracking is a big advantage.”
The range of choice in paper stock is enormous. The Truepress JetSX prints directly onto gloss, matte and wood-free offset paper, among others. A straight-feed, precision vacuum flatbed paper transport mechanism enables it to accommodate paper package materials, coated board and cardboard up to 24-point in the simplex mode and 16-point in the duplex mode.
“We envision many new opportunities to print posters and short-run folding cartons,” Vercnocke said. “When the awareness of all the capabilities of this press permeates the marketplace, it will allow people to think way outside the box. Clients can design really creative projects like personalized packaging.”