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Inkjet 2012: Commerical Print

Mar 30, 2012 12:00 AM


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Game Changer: CGX’s Veritas Advances Commercial Inkjet With HP T200 Press

Buffalo Grove, IL, is home to Veritas Document Solutions, a Consolidated Graphics Co. The company recently installed an HP T200 Color Inkjet Web press, a 20.5-inch wide machine that can produce 872 four-color pages per minute (200 fpm color; 400 fpm mono).

Targeting health care, financial, insurance and gaming/casino sectors, Veritas will use its high-volume, variable data print capabilities to:

  • develop more opportunities in high- and mid-volume digital printing, including fast-turnaround, full-color print-on-demand publications, web-to-print marketing collateral and other commercial print applications;
  • streamline bill and statement offerings by replacing two-step color offset shell printing and monochrome digital imprinting with one-pass, full-color digital production; and
  • enhance direct marketing programs.

DYNAMIC PERFING OPENS NEW DOORS

Veritas installed a substrate conditioning system from WEKO with the press, as well as two inline finishing units: a Tecnau dynamic perforating solution and Standard Hunkeler paper handling systems comprised of an unwind module, a rotary cutter module with stacker, and a rewinder, giving Veritas the flexibility of different finishing options.

When the HP T200 debuted at Ipex 2010, most observers homed in on its duplexing innovations: There’s no turn bar on the press. That remains a remarkable achievement. But at the T200 customer event, dynamic perfing was the hot topic. The Tecnau unit at Veritas is the first U.S. installation on an HP T200. (This past June, Tecnau acquired Lasermax Roll Systems.)


Veritas demonstrated a personalized job for a casino customer. A roll of white paper enters the press—fullcolor, variable-data coupons are then cranked out on the fly. One customer might get as many as eight coupons on a perfed sheet, each specifically tailored to the recipient. The next customer might get only two coupons. Press speed isn’t compromised.

Aurelio Maruggi, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Inkjet High-speed Production Solutions Division, joined Veritas’ Michelle Steinberg and Consolidated Graphics’ Joe Davis to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new press last fall. “The partnership between HP and Consolidated Graphics is long standing,” he said. “In 2009 Consolidated Graphics extended the partnership, becoming the second beta for the T300 Inkjet web press. With the investment in a T200 at Veritas, Consolidated Graphics is paving the way to general commercial printing, moving the boundaries of digital printing.”

From that first handful of installations, HP has dramatically expanded its reach. “We’ve passed the 50-machine mark,” says Maruggi. “I’m not talking about engines but full presses, installed worldwide.”

VERITAS: THIS PRESS CHANGES THE GAME

“We knew this needed to be our next step,” says Veritas President Michelle Steinberg. “Once we saw the quality was there, that we could have an offering comparable to offset, we wanted to take the technology to the next level. We're excited to be bringing this to the commercial world. We clearly state our commitment to technology in our contracts with customers and the HP T200 is evidence of that commitment."

Veritas is helping clients leverage the new capabilities. "We're saying, 'You can sell things your competitors can't-let's change how you do business,'" says Steinberg. "We're not getting low hanging fruit-we're re-evaluating how verticals do business."

Over the past four years, Veritas sales have grown from $10 million to $23 million. Steinberg credits the 131% increase to the company's entrepreneurial drive as well as its commitment to customer service.

Veritas currently produces 5,000,000 color pages and 11,000,000 black-and-white pages per month. It is fully prepared to tackle the data mining and related tasks required to support high-volume personalized print production.

The 175-employee operation includes a 22-person IT department, which includes web developers, network administrators, database administrators, variable data programmers, QA testers and project managers. An additional 100 programmers are onsite at Consolidated's Houston headquarters; there are also two teams in India.

"You have to take care of the data," says Executive Vice President Ric Davis (no relation to Joe). "You can't start the conversation unless you have that. That differentiates us."

With 70 companies spread across 27 states as well as an international presence, Consolidated Graphics has equipment from virtually all of the leading digital press vendors. It has five digital print centers with 220 digital presses and produces 30 million four-color pages every day.

BEYOND BOOK PRINTING

CEO Joe Davis explained the 30- inch press is best suited to the book work done in Colorado while the 20.5-inch T200 was the logical choice for Veritas.

He stressed customer requirements as the driving force behind Consolidated Graphics' equipment decisions. "We'll continue to use the manufacturer that best fits the ultimate needs of our customers," he says. "In some cases, that's a combination of equipment."

Davis said the quality, speed and flexibility of the HP T200 Color Ink-jet Web press will appeal to clients, as will the efficiency of its inline finishing capabilities.

Ric Davis cited scale as another compelling factor. "This press will do the work of 15 other machines," he says. "We have customers today that come to us with really big jobs that we have done at multiple sites, sometimes in multiple states. Being able to run those jobs all on one machine at one location in a couple of days-we have a lot of customers interested in that."

Although Consolidated Graphic's pro forma sales were down 21% as a group, Joe Davis reports some CGX companies are growing. "In [Q3 2011] our same stores sales increased 1.5%," he reports.

"We find if we bring new technology to our customers along with great service, we can take market share. We want to be able to serve our customers very well regardless of the economy. Fortunately, we have the financial strength to continue investing in technology and that is what we are doing."

SEE YOU IN DUSSELDORF

What can we expect at drupa? "A lot of sales," says Maruggi. "We have a full portfolio of products ready now and with proven performance."