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Webcom Doubles Its Inkjet Printing Capacity, Invests $20 Million in 18 Months

January 17, 2012
TORONTO—Jan. 17, 2012—Webcom announced its second major capital investment in the past 18 months, bringing its total to an impressive $20 million. The latest investment will involve installation of an HP T350 Color Inkjet Web Press to complement a T300 model installed just over a year ago. Uptake of inkjet print resulted in a 10-fold volume increase for Webcom in 2011.

“Not only do these commitments demonstrate our responsiveness to the needs of publishers today, they also exhibit Webcom’s flexibility in taking on the challenges of tomorrow,” commented Webcom’s President and CEO, Mike Collinge.

Set to more than double its inkjet capacity to 2 billion pages annually, Webcom’s Toronto plant now has the second largest book production capacity for inkjet printing in North America. The HPT350 inkjet press, which will be in full production by March, is a four color, wide width, 600 feet per minute inkjet press capable of producing more than 8 million customized books annually.

Dramatic shifts in the printing landscape toward inkjet also require a paradigm shift for systems automation. Included in Webcom’s $8-million investment in 2012 is a significant upgrading of hardware and software, both of which will drive efficiencies and lower publishers’ costs for custom, short run books.

“We’ve seen a 31 percent increase in the number of orders as run lengths continue to shift in favor of a short-run model and as color solutions are introduced,” said Gerry Cronin, digital product manager.

The BookFWD production model, introduced to publishers last year, is becoming ever more relevant in today’s book market. Specifically designed to transform the way publishers print and manage their inventories of books, catalogs and directories, BookFWD establishes a comprehensive program to balance the needs for offset and digital.

The shift in ordering patterns spans across all markets—happening with educational and trade publishers and also, increasingly, with directory and professional reference customers who are looking for greater efficiencies. For publishers like Pearson, BookFWD was a simple and compelling solution that translated into a multiyear strategic alliance. Educational publishers are experiencing exponential growth via new business models recently defined.

“Increasingly with custom printing, personalized course materials are being compiled for individual classrooms. Webcom’s BookFWD concept has given us a manufacturing approach that is flexible, agile and cost-effective, allowing us to manage classroom-size print runs with the most advanced press technologies,” revealed Neil Harris, director of operations at McGraw-Hill Ryerson.
 

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