Digital and Offset Convergence -- Going Long on Shorter Runs
Variable covers and surveys inserted into offset catalogs are two examples of hybrid jobs. “Our bigger wins are probably coming in that area, and being in the same campus is going to bring us production synergies.”
Just over a year ago, the company purchased two new 40? Heidelberg Speedmaster sheetfed presses and took three other machines out of production. It now operates all 40? equipment, with eight, 10 or 12 colors and perfecting capabilities, including a couple of presses with rollfed units.
Work that previously was produced on smaller sheetfeds can now either be pushed down to a digital press or moved up to one of the 40? machines because of their efficiency, says the printer’s chief exec.
St. Joseph, which currently has a mix of Xerox iGen3 color presses and Océ equipment, plans to upgrade its digital capabilities as part of this latest $25 million investment program. Customers generally are willing to accept the most efficient production method, Gagliano says, but the company occasionally still has to do some convincing for a buyer to go digital or web over sheetfed.
One Full-Service Printer
Product size is mainly what dictates if a job is printed sheetfed or web. “If it fits the cutoff, odds are the work will go web,” he adds. Even a 5,000 run of a 64-page magazine or catalog will routinely be put on a web press, but a piece 13? on the spine that can be run two-up will be put on a sheetfed press for runs of 5,000 to 500,000.
All three companies say they go to market as full-service printers, rather than individually branding any of their digital, sheetfed or web printing operations. The processes are also integrated internally.
“We have customers that utilize all three of our processes, but most utilize the various processes that we sell independent of one another,” reports Angstrom Graphics’ chief executive. “We match all of our presses to our platemaking curves on an ongoing basis so that our digital, sheetfed and web presses are as close to one another in capability as we can get them.” The same workflow, in terms of estimating, prepress, customer service, etc., is used to process all jobs, Angstrom adds.