By Cassandra Balentine
Digital print capabilities expand as print technologies continuously advance. In addition to mastering the ins and outs of the print engine, other factors—including finishing and substrates—play an important role in print possibilities.
Kristopher S. Gasch, director of marketing, Fey Printing, is a third-generation employee at the family owned and operated print business. The company started in 1932 as a letterpress shop and publisher in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. It continuously evolved, operating several locations throughout the city. Fifteen years ago, it combined all of its operations into one 104,000 square foot facility.
Today, the company’s roster includes a staff of approximately 60 to serve five primary divisions, including Fey Digital, Fey Printing Services, Fey Bindery, Fey Fulfillment, and Fey Communications. The print provider utilizes a range of printing and finishing technologies from digital and offset printing to foil stamping and binding to test the limits of print for its clients.
Gasch stresses that to them, printing is much more than business cards and brochures. It is about creating a lasting impression. He adds that many of the jobs the shop produces touch many—if not all—of its divisions.
As the advancement of digital printing progressed, Fey Printing decided to bring on the technology in 2010. The need for digital was apparent as they noticed common indicators such as requests for short-run, faster turnaround work.
To embark on its digital path, the company conducted a lot of research. It eventually selected the HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press. The A4-size machine offers production speeds of up to 120 pages per minute. Fey Printing utilizes the press at seven colors, which includes white ink.
Gasch suggests that the ability to print opaque white on color stocks opened up a world of possibilities. “In the offset world, it’s a challenge to do this. Once you get into digital it does take a little bit of tweaking, but it is certainly worth it when you get there.”
The press offers a 13×19-inch sheet size, enabling production of four-up, 6×8-inch applications. It accepts coated paper of 55 lb. text to 130 lb. cover, and uncoated paper from 40 to 120 lb. cover, and media thickness of 3 to 16 pt.
The HP Indigo 7000 handles all of Fey Printing’s digital work. The device is versatile and tackles the shop’s variety of jobs, from color business cards to high-end, short-run packaging applications. “It fit into our existing offerings in the offset world, blending seamlessly with what’s coming off of those presses, and it also fits into our traditional finishing capabilities.”
Gasch notes that plenty of projects put its digital and offset output side by side in a book without an issue. To ensure color quality, the shop’s prepress department fingerprints and calibrates everything.
Digital is an important and growing part of Fey Printing. It changed the business in the sense that they can now offer short runs of high-quality pieces. “You don’t want to invest in a print run and have to stock too much. The HP Indigo 7000 gives us an inroad into digital, but it also provides a new perspective on how we produce some of our most complex pieces, and how we may be able to better create these and still maintain the quality,” says Gasch.
In Mill Town
Fey Printing benefits from its geographical location in central WI, which is surrounded by paper mills.
“A great deal of the work we do is for the paper industry. Projects like samples and swatch books have led us down the road of high-end finishes,” says Gasch.
Gasch highlights a recent project created for Neenah Paper’s Explore Digital promotion, which is a series of promotional pieces that showcase the capabilities of digital print with Neenah products.
Gasch says the Explore Digital projects requires applications that are odd shapes, boxes that are flattened off of the press and folded out into a working package, hang tags, and more. “The project shows how impactful print can be, and the quality the HP Indigo achieves.”
The Explore Digital projects are output on the HP Indigo 7000 within four to six weeks, including fulfillment. Depending on the specific order, runs are typically about 7,500 pieces, but vary depending on the distribution needs.
A Lasting Impression
Fey Printing understands that there is more to printing than ink on paper. It’s about creating a tangible piece that provides a meaningful experience.
Gasch suggests that print can fit right into the locavore movement, where people are looking for sustainable, local products—a return to the craft style. “That’s the future of print. It has to be memorable, tactile—not as fleeting as email,” he comments. “If people are going to invest in print, it has to be something special.”
The scope of possibilities is something Fey Printing appreciates with digital capabilities. It is the ability to produce the same high-level product in runs of 50 or 100,000—and everything in between—that give its clients the opportunity to stand out. dps
Sep2015, DPS Magazine