Hybrid Production : Mix and Match Printing
While the company's specialty is very targeted, highly variable pieces of communication in specific vertical markets, its clients also have a need for static printing. Doing that work on an all-digital press isn't necessarily the most efficient solution, Fogel asserts. "We have a couple of clients that have (short-run, static) work available that's a perfect fit for the DI."
Another aspect of MSP's digital foundation is having a common workflow that extends not only across press platforms, but also across plants. Jobs, or portions of them, can be transferred between plants to take advantage of their different production capabilities and for load balancing, Fogel notes. The New Jersey facility also has a common pressroom, with the Presstek DI alongside the HP Indigos, and the operators are being cross-trained.
Putting inkjet heads in-line with a web offset press or binding line has been done for years. What's new is the resolution and color capabilities of the heads now being used by companies like Specialty Print Communications (SPC) in Niles, IL. SPC was one of the first installation sites for the CMYK configuration of the Kodak Prosper S10 imprinting system with a 600 dpi resolution. The web, sheetfed and digital printer also runs monochrome versions of the Prosper S10 and Versamark DS6240 heads in-line with its four web presses.
"We call it four-color, hybrid imaging," says Dustin LeFebvre, executive vice president of marketing. "We're combining the operational efficiency and functional versatility of web in-line printing with the variability and relevance of digital imaging."
LeFebvre sees this capability as an alternative to the fully inkjet production web presses now on the market. The latest generation of imaging units produce four-color process printing at a quality and resolution level that customers accept for printing variable content, he notes, while the web offset press and in-line finishing combination provides greater format flexibility "at a really good price point."