Hybrid Production : Mix and Match Printing
Having added standard- format digital printing to the firm's sheetfed offset services some five years earlier, last year The Kennickell Group, in Savannah, GA, extended its capabilities to large-format digital printing by installing an HP Scitex FB6100 UV inkjet printer. Banners, retail signage and even vehicle wraps are the typical types of work it produces, but the device's flatbed printing capabilities open up opportunities to print directly on a wide range of substrates, notes Al Kennickell, president.
Since the shop's sheetfed presses top out at 40˝, there wasn't any potential for offset/digital crossover in the large-format arena like with its toner-based digital printing. However, Kennickell estimates that 80 percent of the company's customers were sending large- format work elsewhere. "We passed break even the first month we had the flatbed, just by capturing the work that our clients were already doing and giving to other printers."
At the larger project level, though, the company has found opportunities to leverage even all three of its platforms. College hockey games are one example, Kennickell says, since they draw big attendance due to the lack of a professional team in the area. The shop has used its full range of capabilities to produce programs, tickets, posters and even under-ice signage. Trade show work and events like the fashion show staged by the local art college, for which it printed a 100-plus-page program and all the signage, are other good examples.
Jobs are processed via the same workflow, whether they are destined for either of the digital presses or sent to the computer-to-plate system. All of the devices sit on the network and receive PDFs from the prepress department.
Fulfilling Inkjet's Promise
Crossover of a different sort—between the company's extensive fulfillment operation and large- format digital capabilities—is what has Kennickell more intrigued at the moment. He sees potential in offering storefronts through which clients can order work produced on all three of the shop's platforms, either printed on-demand or inventoried and shipped out by the fulfillment department.