Hybrid Production : Mix and Match Printing

Overview shot of Specialty Print Communications’ Sunday 2000 web press set up with a U-shaped in-line finishing and imaging. (Double click photo to enlarge.)

Specialty Print Communications imaging tower concurrently simplex imaging multiple webs from different presses prior to the finishing lines.

The Kennickell Group installed an HP Scitex FB6100 UV large-format printer to complement its standard-format digital and sheetfed printing capabilities.

Hybrid print production, or the integration of digital and offset printing, can take multiple forms and be defined in different ways. Examples include digital imprinting of preprinted offset shells, running inkjet heads in-line with a web offset press or binding line, and building a common workflow for processing files output to a digital press and computer-to-plate system. While the concept may not be new, printers are finding ways to put a new spin on it.

MSP Digital Marketing, headquartered in New Canaan, CT, is making imprinting of static shells new again by inverting the usual workflow. The company recently added a Presstek 52DI-AC digital offset press to its all-digital press arsenal, which includes HP Indigo and Xerox iGen digital color presses. Part of its motivation was the ability to image variable data on blank sheets and then run them through the DI to print the static elements and apply a coating to add gloss and protection.

Jonathan Fogel, one of four partners, says the digital aspect of the press is what made the Presstek a fit for the company’s DigitalXPress operation in Rockaway Township, NJ. “MSP was started with the specific objective of not being a traditional printing company,” he explains. “We’re working as a resource for our clients to help them figure out the right way to communicate their messages in a digital format. We’re really not defining ourselves as printers, per say, any more.”

Playing the Shell Game

DigitalXPress now has the capability to run variable data in one color, potentially even on its HP Indigos, and then add full-color static elements on the DI, thereby saving click charges, Fogel points out. In addition, its sister company, TecDoc Digital in Hudson, MA, already has black-and-white variable data imprinting capabilities that can be leveraged. Similar capabilities are also under consideration for the New Jersey plant, he adds.

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