OPM Looks to Prosper in Digital Book Sector
arvato USA/Offset Paperback Manufacturers (OPM), part of the Arvato Print division of Bertelsmann AG, recently held an open house for select industry journalists in conjunction with Kodak. Both the Prosper 1000 (monochrome) and 5000XL (color) digital inkjet web production systems were the main focus of the day, and our group had the opportunity to see live demonstrations of both presses at the company’s printing plant in Laflin, PA.
Since July, OPM’s Prosper 1000 reportedly has been producing books for sale without a single reject. Now, its Prosper 5000XL is set to produce offset-quality, color books for the next book season.
Mitch Weiss, vice president of sales at arvato, explained that the most important advantage of the Prosper Press platform is that it can deliver four-color printing in short runs, offering a continuous workflow.
“Many customers have been forced to go offshore and endure long lead times and pay high unit costs to replenish their four-color inventory,” Weiss asserted. “Kodak presented the Prosper Press into the market at a really good time for our customers.”
One Prosper Press has reportedly replaced three competitive digital presses in OPM’s workflow. So far, the company’s first Prosper has produced about 400,000 books and achieved an uptime of 75 percent, with capacity for producing between 4,800 to 6,000 books per shift. Target run lengths range from 500 to 3,000 books.
While OPM’s work is currently about 94 percent offset, Weiss envisions short-run jobs being produced digitally and sees further opportunities for customized publications. He also expects the Prosper platform to allow the company to enter into additional markets such as healthcare, education enrollment and journals. Weiss likened the Prosper press to a digital warehouse containing libraries of PDF book files that a customer can have output on-demand.
OPM’s operation is profiled in this video produced by Kodak, including interviews with David Liess, president and CEO of arvato Print USA/OPM; and Mitch Weiss, vice president of sales at arvato discussing the Prosper Press platform:
Other presenters included Randy Vandagriff, general manager of Kodak’s Graphics Inkjet Platform Center, who recapped the introduction of the Prosper Press into the market—from concept to reality. Vandagriff noted that OPM has already used the Prosper Press to produce half a million books that have shipped to customers.
Bill Schweinfurth, Kodak’s customer development director of digital printing solutions, Graphic Communications Group, then gave an overview of Kodak’s digital printing solutions and its various integrated workflow solutions for both offset and digital platforms.
According to the Kodak representatives, the Prosper 5000XL adds color output to OPM’s digital capabilities at rollfed speeds identical to the Prosper 1000 (up to 650 fpm). Both presses print web widths up to 24.5˝ and can produce 8-, 12- and 16-page signatures.
At OPM’s digital printing facility, live demonstration of both the Prosper 1000 and 5000XL presses were conducted. This included four-up printing of a mass market paperback on the Prosper 1000 and a two-up printing of an educational book on the Prosper 5000XL color press.
Both machines are used in conjunction with a Muller Martini SigmaLine in-line finishing system. The two interconnected systems bring together digital printing and finishing in a fully automated book production line.
The Prosper Press platform can handle a variety of substrates, including uncoated and coated—even glossy—papers from 45-300 gsm in roll widths from 8-25.5”. The platform also features the Kodak 700 print manager, a front-end system that provides high-speed data delivery, even when printing 100 percent variable jobs.