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Clays Ltd. opts for Digital Book Production with the SigmaLine

Press release from the issuing company

Clays of Bungay in the United Kingdom is investing in a Muller Martini SigmaLine with an integrated inkjet printing system, the Versamark VL6000 from Kodak.  The company will expand its digital book production capabilities and capitalize on revenue opportunities in short run book printing.

Established more than 200 years ago, Clays is the UK's leading book printer, producing more than 170 million books per year.  The company, part of Europe's St Ives PLC, enjoys international recognition and is the first-choice supplier for many leading publishers, including Penguin, Virago and Bloomsbury.

Positive Message to Customers

"We're entering a new phase of our business," explains Kate McFarlan, Managing Director of Clays Ltd.  "The market for short run books is growing rapidly, driven in part by increasing online book purchases.  Our investment sends a positive message to our customers.  Whether the order is for 20 or 20,000 books, we'll soon be able to satisfy any request.  Integrating the Kodak Versamark VL6000 Printing System and the Muller Martini SigmaLine means we will have a 'best-in-class' fully automated and integrated digital production solution."

Scheduled for installation at Clays in September 2009, the Versamark VL6000 Printing System prints up to 150 m/min at 600 x 600 dpi and is integrated into the Muller Martini SigmaLine book production system.  The SigmaLine combines prepress with digital printing and finishing in a unique total system.

SigmaLine:  Intelligent Networking for all Subprocesses

This fully automated production line will provide Clays with a complete solution – from a PDF file to the finished book – in a single operation.  The Muller Martini Connex workflow system and the continuous line control means that Clay can now produce classroom-size runs or several thousand copies in a short timeframe.  The intelligent networking of all of the sub-processes on the SigmaLine will include digital printing, signature folding, gathering, perfect binding and three-knife trimming.

Clays initially plans to produce runs of up to 500 copies on the SigmaLine with the VL6000, depending on the page count, and expects an average output of 500 books an hour.

SigmaLine with Stream:  Technology for the Future

"We plan to continue expanding our digital production line so we are very interested in Stream, Kodak's new, revolutionary inkjet digital printing technology in conjunction with Muller Martini's SigmaLine platform," comments Ms. McFarlan.  "This integrated digital print solution will allow us to go much further than any other digital printing technology.  With these kinds of benefits and the scope to grow our business even further, SigmaLine with Stream is exactly the kind of innovative technology that we could migrate to in the future."

Dragan Volic, Vice President Marketing and Sales, On-Demand Solutions, Muller Martini, is also convinced:  "Our long-term relationship with Clays and our position as their preferred supplier for finishing equipment gives us an exact understanding of the challenges of Clays' market environment and their needs.  By introducing the SigmaLine technology, Clays establishes a basis with scalable technology for their current digital book production initiative and a migration path for the future, no matter what performance level or finishing style is required."