London –– Gosport Borough Council has installed a Presstek 34DI digital offset press with online envelope feeder from Presstek, Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of digital offset printing solutions. Since the installation, the UK printing company is running a far more versatile, quicker and cost-effective printing operation, and it has trimmed its costs by bringing in-house the short and medium-run jobs that it was previously outsourcing.
New Trends Require a New Solution
Graeme Jesty, Reprographics Team Leader, Gosport Borough Council, explains why the time was right to invest in the highly automated Presstek DI press, which is the most profitable solution for printing full-color in quantities of 500 to 20,000: "Six years ago, when we installed a four-color portrait litho press with a computer-to-plate system, our run lengths were far longer. We were printing 25,000 copies of a document, which could sit on a shelf until they went out of date. But those days are long gone. Today, for example, departments are constantly updating their printed material, which means far more frequent reprints of runs of 2,000 copies. We found that the makeready and set-up times were out of proportion to the number of copies we were printing, and it was difficult to meet our deadlines. The alternative was to print these jobs on our Xerox digital printer, but it wasn't cost effective for jobs of more than 100 copies."
However, it wasn't just run lengths that were problematic: "Our creativity was being stifled because the conventional litho press would not hold the consistency when we printed solid colours or graduated tints," adds Jesty. "For example we couldn't print The Council's corporate covers, which have a solid blue branding, and brochures with a simple graduated tint proved a challenge for us. However, by adding the Presstek 34DI press with an online envelope feeder and conveyor stacker, we could overprint the licence details, the logo and strapline in-house – previously all overprinting had to be outsourced."
Making an Informed Investment Decision
The Council looked at other equipment on the market before choosing the Presstek 34DI press. "We explored many options but found that only Presstek could provide us with the complete package we needed – the digital offset press, the software, the envelope feeder and the conveyor stacker," says Jesty. "Plus we liked the built-in colour calibration, which makes light work of the jobs that were previously impossible to print on a conventional litho press. The registration is very accurate with almost no paper wastage. The new installation means we can now run a wide variety of stock – including silk coated and recycled – and we're up to color within 30 sheets, whereas previously we encountered problems."
Easy to Operate
Despite its advanced technology and features, the Council has found the new Presstek 34DI press very easy to use. "The old process was very mechanical and laborious. Unlike the new system, which is really fast and has saved us a lot of time – we rip the job and the plates are imaged on press in a matter of minutes. In the past, if we had a problem with alterations on a plate it was a major headache to remake it – but all we have to do now is press a button and the 34DI takes care of everything."
The Council is in no doubt that the Presstek 34DI press was a sound commercial investment: "The results speak for themselves – the system regularly saves us time and money," says Jesty. "For example, it used to take us five days to produce 12,000 copies of a 28-page A5 brochure – the new DI press can do the whole job from start to finish in just one and a half days." Prior to the installation The Council was outsourcing one-sixth of their production capacity. "The cost savings we've gained by bringing all our printing jobs in-house is significant." The Presstek 34DI press is very versatile and enables The Council to print a wide range of jobs. As well as short-to-medium run four-color work, it is also possible to print spot colour, allowing runs of 40,000 single impressions from the same plate (even though the plate is rated by the manufacturer for 20,000 impressions). "We've been very impressed with the quality of the 34DI, particularly when we print solid colours and graduated tints – and our customers have complimented us on the improved quality," concludes Graeme Jesty.
Attracting New Business
The Council is confident that it will quickly see a return on its investment, particularly as it anticipates winning a lot of new work from other councils and local schools. As part of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight procurement group, it is already talking to a number of other councils about taking on some of their short-run, four-color printing.
"Such a proposal would have been impossible in the past, as we struggled to keep up with our own production," says Jesty. "But with the Presstek 34DI additional revenue opportunities are a real possibility. We expect the system to pay for itself within a couple of years. The installation has meant that we've been able to replace our large color copier with a small one for very short runs, with more and more work going across to the Presstek 34DI press.
"The system is ideal for printers who want a quick, clean and simple solution for high-quality, short-to-medium run printing with minimal operator intervention. Plus the 34DI is a chemistry-free, waterless press, which is important for a council like Gosport, which is always keen to promote its environmentally friendly credentials."
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