Veteran Inkjet Press Users Share Their Experiences With High-Speed Inkjet Printing
One of the best way to learn about a growing technology — including inkjet printing adoption — is to learn from the real-life experiences of those printers who came before you.
As such, Dave Johannes, Executive VP, Strategic Initiatives, at Moore Group in Tulsa, Okla., and Jeff Matos, Senior Director, Printing Operations, at Broadridge Financial Solutions in Edgewood, N.Y., were certainly well-qualified to share their triumphs and tribulations with production inkjet printing over the course of several years in a panel discussion held Aug. 20 during the virtual Inkjet Summit 2020.
With a resumé that includes, among other jobs, a long stint with Banta Catalog Group and then 12 years at IWCO Direct in Chanhassen, Minn., Johannes now serves at Moore Group, a large printer and mailer that caters to the largest nonprofits in the U.S. This ranges from fundraising packages (including 2 billion mail pieces per year), to creative services, television commercials, and much more.
Matos has worked for Broadridge Financial Solutions for more than 20 years. A global "fintech" innovator, Broadridge serves banks, financial brokers/dealers, and asset management companies. Along with its large digital printing footprint, the company also sends out 15 billion pieces of electronic communications annually. According to Matos, Broadridge first got into inkjet printing in 1999 with Scitex equipment, followed by Kodak printers, and then Ricoh 5000s in mono and full-color configurations. Today, it also houses the fourth generation, high-speed Ricoh VC40000 continuous-feed inkjet press platform in full-color, monochrome, mono with MICR, and full-color with MICR versions, among the more than 100 digital presses in its arsenal.
Johannes was first exposed to inkjet printing on inserters in the mid-'90s, and, while at IWCO Direct, helped usher in the first Canon ColorStream color inkjet presses, a Canon VarioPrint i300 cut-sheet inkjet press, Xerox CiPress technology, and eventually Screen Truepress Jet520HD inkjet printers. Moore operates five Screen Truepress Jet520ZZ models and a 520HD model, HP PageWide equipment, and most recently installed an MCS monochrome inkjet device for outputting labels and specialty products at speeds to 1,000 fpm.
He noted that — both in the cases of IWCO Direct and Moore Group — adding production inkjet presses didn't necessarily replace existing toner boxes; instead it helped drive market share growth and enabled new product applications. Even so, he pointed out that inkjet printing adoption has shortened cycle times, and made overall manufacturing more efficient by eliminating some process steps (such as preprinted shells, in-line finishing, and combining multiple versions into a single mail stream).
According to Matos, Broadridge is a 100% digital printing operation that will have replaced its remaining continuous-feed toner presses with inkjet devices by the end of the calendar year, although it will still maintain its cut-sheet toner printers. He said this was being driven by the higher downtime on the older toner printers, as well as ink cost savings Broadridge is achieving with inkjet to the tune of almost half.
Both veteran print professionals advised that fellow printers considering inkjet printing adoption carefully consider their end-to-end workflows, including front end and finishing processes. It is also critical to do your homework before pulling the trigger on an inkjet press.
"All of the [inkjet presses] out there have niches in the market, and all of them have advantages and disadvantages," Johannes said. "The key for anybody jumping into inkjet print is to do enough research to make sure you match the print device you choose with what your operation really needs and what your customers really want."
Matos agreed. "Make sure you do the right research so you can jump in with both feet. Really think about what comes before and after the press, and the possible bottlenecks," he advised. "Be prepared that you will be producing twice as much work as you were before, in the same amount of time. So look at your entire operation holistically."