Cape Town-based commercial print business, Salty Print, upgraded its Konica Minolta bizhub PRO C6501 digital machine to a new Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C7000, a scalable digital production printing system that offers versatile media handling, professional finishing and simplified workflow integration.
“The cost effective digital press is well suited to Salty Print’s operations and customers, especially because the device’s superb image quality rivals offset printing,” says Leon Minnie, product manager – production solutions at Konica Minolta South Africa.
According to Stephen Bardwell, operations manager at Salty Print, the upgrade to the bizhub C7000 machine is the result of an aggressive modernisation strategy conceived by the company’s board to meet future challenges facing the printing industry.
“At present we look forward to the deployment of our customised web to print e-commerce solution for both trade and retail clients during December 2012, as well as the arrival of new offline finishing equipment in the form of UV varnishing and foiling. The C7000 joins other new arrivals at Salty Print, namely cutting and scoring equipment as well as perfect binding and laminating equipment,” says Bardwell.
From experience gained in the use of the bizhub C6501, Salty Print opted to have the bizhub C7000 unit coupled with Konica Minolta’s PF-602 high capacity feed unit rather than the company’s more conventional LU-202 unit.
“Salty Print has found that the advantages of this bulk unit more than justify the added expenditure. By using this unit, we are able to accommodate five different media types. The added benefit is that the built-in humidity unit in the tray allows enough paper to be stored under correct printing conditions to accommodate a full day’s production. With print runs getting shorter, it also facilitates changing seamlessly between jobs in the print queue,” explains Bardwell.
Salty Print has realised three particular areas of increased productivity besides the PF-602 over the C6501.
The first, and most important from a production perspective, is the ability to run media of higher GSM long edge first. Not only does this increase throughput on the machine, but it also eliminates the problem of banding associated with running a large percentage of media short edge first. This relates in particular to the production of short run book covers and business cards.
The second is a noted increase in throughput when printing SRA3 spreads. “With output activated to the sub tray on the finishing unit, we have noted an increase in speed of between 10 and 15 percent, coupled with a noted reduction of creasing and jamming of low GSM gloss art media, which would have had to have customised print settings on the bizhub C6501,” says Bardwell.
Thirdly, Salty Print has noticed a difference in the user interface, both on the machine as well as the new print driver of the bizhub C7000. Bardwell says that selection options for paper types, settings, as well as grammage are now combined on one easy to use screen, alongside all of the previous advanced features that are available to fine tune your print job. When this is used in conjunction with the paper library it saves noticeable time on spooling print jobs for printing.
“We have deployed hot folders from the new fiery to increase productivity even further,” he adds, and highlights a real production example: “Salty Print ran a variable data print job for a client that must be printed and delivered in four hours. Previously we would require all this time to produce the job. With the bizhub C7000 and our new finishing equipment, we completed the job in two hours, only to be told by the client they had provided us with the wrong data. We told them we could redo the job and still meet the production deadline. Obviously exceeding the client’s expectations in this regard lends itself to repeat business.
“At Salty Print we are excited about the future of printing and the print industry in South Africa. We look forward to the opportunities that our web to print e-commerce solution together with our bizhub presses offer, targeting printing for other printers, as well as wholesale and retail customers.”
Says Minnie: “Salty Print is a prime example and testament to the quality of Konica Minolta production equipment. We are pleased that our continuous commitment to innovation influences the production market positively.”