Steve Bearden, president and CEO, Linemark, Inc., at Canon varioPRINT iX-series press
Established in 1985 as a family-run commercial print shop, Linemark, Inc., a Canon Solutions America, Inc. customer, installed its first digital press in the early 1990s and continued to progress as a go-to digital print shop ever since. By the early 2000s, Linemark, Inc. had expanded its offerings and market applications to e-commerce based on its custom books segment, high-end, customized direct mail market, and commercial print. After its latest installation of the varioPRINT iX-Series advanced sheetfed inkjet press, Linemark, Inc. continues to impress its customers with its fast turnaround times, flexibility in finishing, and quality of output.
Introduced in April 2020, the varioPRINT iX-series production inkjet press utilizes iQuariusiX technologies. The iQuariusiX features combines the image quality of offset with the productivity and cost efficiency of production inkjet, to support customers with production volumes of one to 10 million letter images per month. Offering an average 94 percent uptime and sharply cutting any need for daily calibration and maintenance, the varioPRINT iX-series streamlines productivity, and helps to improve overall running costs, differentiating itself from other market technologies.
“Our biggest challenge given all the various markets we serve was finding the proper technology to help increase productivity levels and lower overall costs and overhead,” said Steve Bearden, president and CEO, Linemark, Inc. “What we find to be most impressive about the varioPRINT iX is the excellent output quality in combination with color consistency and accuracy of the press. Our shop has gone day-to-day, week-to-week without color calibrations and adjustments, which is something we always had to do on other machines we’ve owned.”
“I was blown away by the varioPRINT iX3200’s output quality. The press is phenomenal and well-exceeds our quality standards and expectations. It did not take long before we purchased our first press and had it installed. What stands out with this press versus our other presses in-house is the uptime it allotted us. In our experience, we have been able to run our press non-stop day and night, which means that by the time the team arrives in the morning the night shift jobs are completed allowing us to meet our quick turnaround commitments. We have yet to worry about the machine malfunctioning overnight.”
In order to remain competitive in the print industry today, it is crucial for customers to be equipped with technology that delivers a balance of excellent image quality, media and application versatility, reliable productivity and cost efficiency – all in a single inkjet press. Through the press’s extensive media handling, and ability to handle short runs, switch jobs quickly, and produce finished documents with mixed media, the varioPRINT iX-series helps customers meet demanding customer deadlines with ease and confidence.
“Part of the decision process to purchase the varioPRINT iX-series was the demand to remain competitive when it comes to quality, speed and color accuracy, as well as our need for an inkjet press with optimal uptime and consistent color quality from job to job,” said Bearden. “In our toner-based system there is always that concern, and there was constant worry the machine will go down, and the cost of consumables are so high. The varioPRINT iX naturally became our go-to-press due to its ability to handle every job we’ve sent to it, including both toner and offset print we’ve transferred to it, plus new applications we can now offer our customers.”
With the increase in demand for short-run publishers during the coronavirus pandemic, Linemark was able to meet the high demand of its customers in a timely manner, including one-off book production.
“From a finishing perspective, our near-line finishing is able to do short-run, variable printed books in both soft and hard cover. One of the reasons we chose sheetfed over roll-fed is because we use a lot of different types of paper stocks, and with sheetfed, going from job to job is much more efficient. When one customer wants a 100-pound coated gloss and the next customer wants an 80-pound uncoated cover, we can go back-and-forth with sheetfed very easily,” said Bearden. “With roll-fed, we would need to change paper rolls two to four times a day over the course of a 24-hour day, which adds time and labor to the job. With our Canon sheetfed press, we simply need to change the paper in the PIM’s which takes almost no time. We run a lot of different types of stock through the press, which is one of the differences where the varioPRINT iX really shines, as it offers the ability to customize the end product.”
“The varioPRINT iX is very productive and fast, which has been instrumental to our overall productivity. This technology upgrade to our fleet allowed us to significantly increase our capacity. We now feel we are equipped to meet fast turnaround times and are now prepared to handle any ancillary requests from our customers. We know that everything needs to be personalized, customizable and catered to any request our customers demand of us,” said Bearden.
The press was installed during quite a hectic time for Linemark, yet has since set them up for success in a multitude of realms, even beyond its day-to-day applications. Bearden explained, “From a workflow perspective it was very easy to integrate the varioPRINT iX into our shop. We run a relatively automated workflow, so our operators were able to adapt very quickly to the new technology. We were extremely impressed with Canon’s Applied Inkjet Color (AIC) training, which educated our operators on inkjet color management workflows. This training was a phenomenal learning experience for us.”
“Beyond the technology aspect, we are very pleased with the service and support Canon Solutions America has provided our company. Not only do we feel confident in Canon’s technology, we are appreciative to also be backed by the company’s technicians and exceptional support staff who are always one call away. It is apparent that Canon truly cares about the success of their customers, and because of that support we will continue to invest in their products and solutions,” said Bearden.
“The varioPRINT iX-series press provides customers with advanced print quality, more media options and quicker turnaround times in order to help them grow their print volumes, as well as manage flexibility and profitability of smaller, more diverse jobs,” said Francis McMahon, executive vice president, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America, Inc. "We take great pride in introducing our customers to innovative technology and support solutions that will help them expand their offerings and diversify their portfolios. We are very excited to have our production inkjet presses with one of the leading book and direct mail manufacturers in the industry, Linemark, Inc.”
For more information on the varioPRINT iX-series, please visit pps.csa.canon.com. The views and opinions expressed here are based on the actual experiences of the customer. Testimonials are not claimed to represent typical results, and various factors can impact different customers’ results.