by Melissa Donovan
Narrow and wide format printing make for a powerful combination when operating under one roof. Many print service providers (PSPs) are in a position to offer printed goods as small as a business card to as large as a car wrap. Use a wide format hybrid device—one with flatbed and roll print capabilities—and you have a one-stop shop.
GAM Graphics and Marketing, based out of Sterling, VA, is one of those companies. It is a full-service design, print, sign, and mailing shop offering high-quality, cutting-edge design, print, and fulfillment services.
Serving clients since 1976 in verticals like property management, homeowner associations, banking, and credit unions to construction, restaurants, and non-profit organizations, the PSP employs 11 staff members that help the company produce a variety of products including business cards, letterheads, envelopes, brochures, outdoor and indoor signage, and vehicle lettering and wraps.
A 14,000 square foot location, which houses offices, a production facility, and a warehouse, allows GAM to provide these services to its client base, of which is concentrated in VA, MD, and Washington DC—but shipping is conducted across the U.S.
The production facility holds an array of technology. A client of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc.’s for over three years, it owns a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C14000, AccurioPress 6136 digital press, and bizhub Press C6000.
Of the three presses, thee AccurioPress C14000 is the newest. The CMYK cutsheet toner press offers new finishing options and enhanced media compatibility to maximize production and produce quality and consistency print after print. Included on the press is the IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer, which performs automatic density correction and front-to-back registration prior to printing.
For B&W work, the AccurioPress 6136 digital printing press offers a print speed of 136 pages per minute, with a duty cycle of over three million impressions, and real-time automated image density and registration adjustments maintain image stability over long press runs.
Rounding out the portfolio is the bizhub Press C6000, which is ideal for heavy-duty production and ensures short turnaround times are met. It features an output capacity of up to 60 impressions per minute in both full color and B&W, as well as paper and toner refill on-the-fly functionality.
Owning a First
GAM has been an all-digital shop since 2013 and added wide format in house about 20 years ago. Today wide format is about eight percent of its total sales.
The family-run business recently became the first company to install an AccurioWide 250 hybrid UV LED wide format inkjet printer from Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. The AccurioWide 250 is a versatile printer with superior image quality and high productivity for both outdoor and indoor job applications thanks to printing at up to 1,440 dpi using Konica Minolta 1024i printhead technology. This printer is equipped with UV LED lamps that allow users to print on a wider range of media, while simultaneously saving energy, time, and cost. It reaches speeds of up to 183 square feet per hour in high-quality mode.
GAM was looking to upgrade its current wide format printer when it turned to Konica Minolta. It required a device that could meet demand for faster turnaround times as well as the ability to print 4×8-foot panels with greater productivity and in landscape orientation.
Honing in on the AccurioWide 250 as a contender, it became clear that the printer would also offer further beneficial features. Nathaniel Grant, president, GAM, says that AccurioWide 250’s ability to produce textured prints was “very impressive” and a factor in procuring the machine.
Once installed, the printer was quickly up and running. “We found this to be one of the easiest machines to learn to operate. With two days of training, we had employees who had never worked in that department running the machines,” admits Grant.
Proof the AccurioWide 250 is a fit for the company is seen in multiple ways. For one thing, Grant says production turnaround times have increased by 100 percent. With the printer, GAM is able to print 4×8-foot panels at full bleed in less than five minutes. A 4×8-foot sheet of coroplast is printed in less than three minutes.
With the AccurioWide 250 a hybrid device, GAM easily switches between substrates like coroplast, aluminum, Dibond, and PVC for flatbed printing to perforated window films and vinyl using the roll capability. Grant notes that the hybrid nature of the printer is advantageous and the roll-to-roll option even more so because it allows for printing on wider material than the dedicated roll-to-roll printer it currently owns.
Between the increase in speed, ability to print on both roll and rigid sheets at width sizes of 2.5 meters, and the specialty features like textured printing, more wide format jobs remain in house.
“Since GAM prides itself on being a one-stop shop with the fastest turnaround, having the AccurioWide 250 has helped us maintain that as well as increase the quality and decrease our cost at the same time,” shares Grant.
Besides the AccurioWide 250, GAM installed Asanti Workflow software designed for the AccurioWide printers. The automated solution controls the entire printing process from prepress to finishing. In terms of finishing, GAM’s production floor is home to two products from Colex Finishing, Inc.—the Colex Applicator Table and Colex Sharpcut Digital Flatbed Cutter.
Combine for Success
Combining the wide format hybrid devices with automation software and automated finishing equipment makes hitting those quick turnaround times even easier. “The ability to combine speed, quality, and productivity is a home run for our sign business, and the AccurioWide 250 does all three extremely well,” admonishes Grant.
Jan2024, DPS Magazine