By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Direct imaging (DI) technology is a hybrid printing approach that combines digital with traditional offset printing. Environments producing longer runs of full-color printing that may not be cost effective on smaller digital presses invest in these devices to reduce click charges while maintaining ease of use and automation.
Located in Greenacres, FL, the graphics and marketing services division of the public affairs department for Palm Beach County provides and coordinates quality printing and publication services to Board of County Commission departments, divisions, offices, and taxing agencies.
Acting as an in-plant print shop, the division offers graphic design services and assistance with marketing campaigns and events, forms, brochures, publication layouts, and logo and branding design work.
The Graphics and Marketing Services division has ten employees and uses a variety of printing methods to efficiently serve the public affairs department. Digital copying and printing are produced on high-speed electrophotographic printers with inline finishing options. Bindery services include cutting, folding, perforating, scoring, booklet making, and specialty die cutting. The division also offers mailing services with variable data printing, mailing list address quality management, and Every Door Direct Mail service.
The Graphics and Marketing Services division originally produced its color printing and digital work on a Canon imagePRESS C7010 and C7011. When the C7010 lease ended in 2017, the division decided to replace it with a new solution.
“We realized that our customers required more color work than anticipated and both Canons were used beyond their rated capacity,” explains John D.L. Johnson, manager, graphics and marketing services division, public affairs department, Palm Beach County.
At the time, the Canon imagePRESS devices continually ran 12×18- and 13×19-inch gloss cover and text with heavy coverage and high-end graphics. Both devices experienced downtime due to volume, with many in the 10,000 copy range. “Work that would be better suited for offset,” admits Johnson.
In 2018, the division invested in DI technology with the Presstek 52DI using Yoyo King Aqualess Ultra ink. Based on extensive and comprehensive marketplace research, Johnson says the Presstek 52DI was the only digital offset printing system compatible with the division’s existing Momentum Pro RIP and the Presstek Dimension 524 CTP plate maker, which it uses for its traditional offset presses.
“Our offset presses can’t produce the quality of long-run, four-color work we create. However, they are already busy doing single- or two-color work,” comments Johnson.
The Presstek 52DI is a four-color, waterless ink press that handles sheets up to 14×20 inches with a maximum print speed of 10,000 sheets per hour. Four spools of media are inserted into the press and automatically tensioned, imaged, cleaned, and advanced with media changes every 44 jobs.
Its digital finishing systems include a Duplo 646 slitter/cutter/creaser machine and Duplo System 500 booklet maker with three ten-bin towers, saddle stitcher, three-knife trimmer, and a square backer.
From a cost perspective, Johnson says the division paid roughly $4,000 per month for each digital device plus five cents per color click. Most months the click charges ranged from $4,000 to $9,000 per machine.
Since its investment, the division now completes most long-run four-color work on the Presstek 52DI. After five months of operations, it has produced 2.3 million impressions and consumed 855 plate images on the roll plate material. This gives the in plant an average run length of 10,870 four-color impressions per set of four plate images.
“When you compare the variable costs of operations on the Presstek 52DI—plates, ink, wiping cloths—to click charges, we are way ahead of the game with the Presstek 52DI,” shares Johnson.
For its short-run work, the division uses a Canon imagePRESS C7011 with an EFI Fiery networked printer controller. Most of its high-end jobs are processed through the Momentum Pro RIP workstation for imposition and sent to either the Canon imagePRESS C7011 or Presstek 52DI.
A Variety of Capabilities
The Presstek 54DI press offers many benefits to Palm Beach County’s in-plant print operation, including reduced costs, fast speeds, and the ability to handle long runs of color printing. With this technology complementing its offset and digital equipment, the division offers full customization cost efficiently.
In part two, we feature a newsletter producer that invested in DI technology to produce millions of impressions per month.
Apr2019, DPS Magazine