Basingstoke Press replaces existing equipment with 9 Heidelberg Digimaster systems
Press release from the issuing company
October 15, 2003 -- It’s no surprise that The Basingstoke Press, widely recognized throughout the world for innovative print solutions, became Europe’s first and largest user of Heidelberg’s Digimaster 9150i print system earlier this year.
The award-winning UK printer is raising some eyebrows, however, by replacing its entire line of digital equipment with nine Digimaster machines — including four of the Digimaster 9150 print systems.
For Basingstoke, it came down to performance and workflow efficiency.
“As far as we’re concerned, the Digimaster print system is a significantly better performer than the other digital machines we were using,” said Simon Bunyan, production director. “It hasn’t taken long for the machines to prove their value to us.”
Variable data printing a key to change
One of the primary reasons for Basingstoke’s Heidelberg conversion was the continuing emergence of variable data printing (VDP), which the printer predicts will be a key growth area. Headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire, a town of high-tech businesses in the South of England, the nearly 30-year-old firm employs 90 people at four production sites — three plants on the Basingstoke site and another facility at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The first jobs for the new Digimaster print systems were personalized registration packets, which included a variety of different pages and forms, along with nearly a dozen variable fields on each page and eight different paper types. Each packet’s size varied from 10 to 150 pages.
Employing its previous line of digital equipment, the job would have taken significantly longer to collate since it featured 56 variables. The Digimaster print systems came through in a big way by being able to handle the different paper stocks at the production engine’s full-rated speed, eliminating 100 hours of collation. Basingstoke, in fact, discovered that the Digimaster print system’s production on complex jobs surpassed that of its previous machines with higher-rated speeds.
The timesavings were significant, according to Bunyan. “Due to workflow efficiencies and dramatically increased uptime, the Digimaster print systems had increased output by 30 percent,” he said.
Bunyan noted that while its previous digital machines were using technology at least five years old, Digimaster print systems feature cutting-edge technology that enables a higher degree of variable data than before. Basingstoke also highlighted the Digimaster system’s short, straight paper path for superior paper handling.
Another key factor in switching to the Digimaster system is that it enables Basingstoke to employ a server-based system in which each machine can pull PDF files as they become available. With its previous equipment, each job had to be scheduled for a machine beforehand and converted to a proprietary format.
“Forwarding files to presses is far more efficient with the Digimaster system than before,” Bunyan said. “Now we can call up the next job on a print queue while another job is running and archive the previous job for future use.”
The increase in productivity has proven critical for Basingstoke — which averages 10 to 12 million impressions per month — whose clients are increasingly demanding same-day or next-day service.
“We took our time researching the market to see who offered the best technology to meet our clients’ changing needs,” Bunyan said. “Now, with Heidelberg and the Digimaster device, we’ve really changed how we are going to go after this new market.”
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.