Xeikon and Optichrome have announced details of the installation of the UK’s first Xeikon 8500 digital colour press, along with details regarding the now 50% contribution being made to company turnover by its digital operation.
Commenting on both the new equipment and the advance in digital production, John Heywood, Managing Director of Optichrome, said: “As a business we have made a conscious effort to expand our digital presence in recent years. The decision to upgrade our original Xeikon DCP/50D to the new Xeikon 8500 model in 2012 has been a major step forward in that process.”
The £5.5 million turnover business is delighted with the 50% contribution from digital. “Digital print production is very different to the “pile it high, sell it cheap” mentality of far too many litho print businesses. The digital work that we handle requires a lot of data manipulation to achieve the sophisticated level of personalisation required by our clients. This work cannot be handled any other way, and it is the level of expertise provided by Optichrome that delivers some 80% of the profit that we are enjoying,” said Mr Heywood.
The introduction of the Xeikon 8500 came at just the right time for the company. “Our previous Xeikon machine, the DCP/50D, had been a tremendous servant to our business, producing a large percentage of our digital output for the last ten years, but the technology was beginning to look a little dated,” said Optichrome Chairman Ted Stephens. “We purchased it initially as no other digital product could produce quality, colour duplexed six-page work – a popular format in the financial sector. What really surprised us is that when we were seeking a replacement machine at Drupa 2012, we quickly realised that Xeikon was still the best option available on the market today at a realistic price, so we opted for the latest version of the Xeikon web fed press, the Xeikon 8500.”
The web fed architecture of the machine provides significant productivity benefits to Xeikon digital colour press users. This, coupled with the data integrity benefits of single-pass duplex printing, gives Optichrome a significant advantage when talking to the financial community about variable data print production. “Our sales team can approach such businesses with confidence, knowing that they are able to talk to the client about a very unique solution. Where work involves variable input front and back it is “mission critical” that the right data is printed on the reverse of the sheet. By printing them at the same time, as happens on the Xeikon, such mistakes are eliminated from the printing stage,” said Mr Heywood.
Such works comes to Optichrome from the City of London, and from what is viewed by many as the new centre of the pensions world, which focuses itself on Worthing and Reigate. Run lengths of the work handled vary wildly, as is typical in the digital world, with a recent job requiring just 20 copies sitting alongside a print run of 40,000 – a pensions based publication consisting of 28 pages, all containing variable data. “Financial information is rarely easy reading for most people. Our customers are working closely with graphic designers to help illustrate the information in a more accessible way. The graphic designers are beginning to understand the capabilities of our Xeikon equipment, and are getting to know how well their work can shine with the product that we are printing on.”
In addition to all of this digital excitement, Optichrome is this year celebrating its half-century as a business. The £5.5 million turnover company has organized a series of events involving both staff and customers throughout 2013. “We are especially proud of this landmark when looking at the huge number of casualties that the world of print has suffered in recent years. This is testament to both management past and present, and the current team of employees,” added Mr Heywood.
Commenting on the installation at Optichrome, Danny Mertens, Business Development Manager Document Printing at Xeikon, said: “Naturally we are delighted that John and the Optichrome team were able to put their faith in the latest generation of Xeikon technology. Being a loyal customer for many years it is good to know that Optichrome is still convinced by the capabilities and print quality of Xeikon products. Xeikon always aims to build a product portfolio that our customers can grow with. If Optichrome find a need for increased productivity they can add up to 60% more capacity by upgrading in the field to the Xeikon 8600 or 8800 models.”
The Xeikon 8500 models offer significant speed increases over previous models, with throughput now up to 160 A4 per minute. Incorporating the latest toner technology along with inline colour control, the press is capable of handling prints of up to B2 in format with a virtually unlimited length for the sheet. The 8500 model features dry-toner electrophotography, high-speed printing and refined screening library. It can handle sheet weights from an ultra-light stock of 40gsm up to paper stocks of 350gsm, and image with a high quality 1200 dots per inch resolution.
For more info see www.xeikon.com.