Fast Impressions with Digital Printing

by: Glenn Schelich, Trends Presentation Products

Can we get 4-color process? What is the smallest quantity that can be ordered? We need a different name on each item, can it be done? How soon can we get a quote? How soon can we get a press proof? How soon will the order ship? HOW SOON, HOW SOON, HOW SOON!!!!

Sound familiar? These are everyday questions that have to be answered at Trends Presentation Products, and have been since the company first started producing digitally printed, turned, and glued products. The nature of the press (in the case of Trends Presentation Products, a Xeikon digital press) is synonymous with speed of proofs and orders, small runs, and additional artwork opportunities, specifically 4-color process items. As today’s presentation needs become more and more on demand, these questions relating to the characteristics of the digital press are more prevalent in the industry’s everyday business.

Why A Digital Press?

The market is trending towards shorter turnaround times, smaller production runs and the need for full color graphics similar to the art that can be created on computers. Shorter turnaround times and smaller production runs can be challenges for offset printing in a turned edge manufacturing environment.

Digital printing allows companies to be “trend setters” in the loose leaf manufacturing business. Many of the expenses associated with offset printing are eliminated. Gone are film, contract proofs, and printing plate charges. Also, with large format digital printers (18.7 inches wide by 36 feet) and the machines’ accompanying duplexing capabilities, both sides of the sheet can be printed at the same time.

Another advantage of digital printing, specifically with the Xeikon press, is the ability to process art files directly from prepress computers. A series of jobs can be prepared and run simultaneously with minimum upfront costs. This technology is more efficient than the traditional manufacturing process of ruling the sheets, then printing the headings, and finally page numbering each sheet of the fillers. Digitally printing both sides of the sheet at the same time with the capability to consecutively page or case number the fillers is a huge advantage available with some digital printing machines.

Small production runs with several versions of artwork are ideal for the digital press, as is the opportunity to personalize each ring binder, desk folder, certificate holder or any number of presentation specialty products.

Speed and Efficiency

Each order for a digitally printed product starts with the correct artwork template sent to the graphic designer to lay out the art. Trends Presentation Products has further simplified the process with a designated “FTP” site that allows for the art to be sent in without any e-mail hiccups. Once the artwork is pre-flighted and the job is queued up, a press proof is generated and sent to the customer for approval. This gives the customer the opportunity to see the actual wrap that will be used on the presentation product. Upon approval, the job is processed and shipped, in many cases in as few as ten working days or less depending on the additional “bells and whistles”.

As noted in the opening paragraph, speed of delivery has become in many instances the driving force on many projects – occasionally, more so than price. The “on demand” generation is looking for the highest quality product in the time frame of the project’s needs. Production time is rarely given enough thought when it comes to servicing customers’ needs. Digitally printed wraps and liners allow more variety of decoration choices, and the added fact that it cuts down on production time greatly benefits this new generation.

A digital printing press that prints at 600 dpi provides a print that is hard to differentiate from an offset printed wrap, unless you have the trained eye of a printer. Very few projects, if any, have been turned down due to wraps not meeting the print quality of the graphic designer or end user customer.

Opportunities

Utilizing the digital press is advantageous in producing turned edge presentation items. Any type of custom turned edge product can be produced, ranging from the typical ring binders, slipcases, slantboxes, all styles of post binders, menu covers, tote boxes, and certificate holders to the more technically-produced point-of-purchase displays.

Many of the orders command more than just a digital wrap or liner. Customers today also may incorporate foil stamping, blind debossing, screenprinting, or specialized diecutting. Besides the standard wrap lamination (gloss, satin, or matte), a post-embossing pattern can be added to create a more unique look and feel to any digitally printed wrap, allowing even more variety for the graphic artist’s imagination.

Trendsetter is a loosely-used word that applies to many companies on an ever-changing scale. Yesterday’s trendsetter is today’s dinosaur, trying to find a way to make its operation fit in the new technical world. Investing in new technology and equipment can allow a business to conform to the quickly changing needs of its customers.

If you would like more information on Trends Presentation Products and its production capabilities, please contact Glenn Schelich, regional sales manager, at [email protected]. Trends Presentation Products produces turned edge binders and poly products, selling them exclusively to resellers, including other manufacturers who do not produce turned edge binders and presentation items.