25 Jun 2024

Variable Data brings new business and workflow efficiencies to Image Options

VDP from Image Options

Large-format Variable Data Printing (VDP) brings new business and workflow efficiencies to Image Options

Targeted campaigns hit the mark for Image Options and its customers

Objectives:

  • Raise value to customers by offering a cost effective way to target varied market segments.
  • Increase competitive edge by pioneering large format variable data printing (VDP).
  • Gain efficiencies in prepress, production and distribution.


Approach:

  • HP SmartStream Designer solution for innovative, cost effective versioned campaigns.
  • HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer with HP Scitex TJ Double-sided Printing Kit – For high-quality, productive printing of high-volume retail jobs on backlit media, vinyl, polystyrene, poster paper.
  • Inline automatic cutter enables timesaving finishing on nested POP and poster jobs.


Business benefits:

  • Cost-effective production of versioned campaigns prompts larger orders from existing customers and brings in new customers.
  • VDP workflow enables significant time and cost savings while improving service to customers.
    • Allows more innovative campaigns targeted to different audiences without adding production costs.
    • Reduced layout/prepress time on one regular test-marketing job by 80 percent (from 10 hours down to two) four days.
    • Prepress and layout for employee recognition campaign took three hours instead of 25 hours – an 88 percent time saving.
  • Image Options is able to print more jobs in-house vs. outsourcing to a screen printer, thanks to cost effective, high-volume printing on the HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer.


Variable data printing (VDP) is well established in small format printing, due in large part to the success of HP Indigo digital presses. When Tim Bennett, the CEO of Image Options, learned that HP was investigating bringing VDP to large-format printing, with HP SmartStream Designer, he saw it as an ideal way to advance his customers’ campaigns to the next level.

“Geo-demographic marketing in general is a big, pent-up need in large format,” he says. “For the most part, our clients were using one-size-fits-all campaigns because it was too expensive to do versioning for things like test marketing and pricing versions. I was aware of the success of the HP Indigo SmartStream Designer VDP solution and when I heard it could support large format, it just seemed logical for us and our clients to start using it as soon as possible.”

This kind of approach – of seeing beyond the boundaries of typical printing services – has been an effective success driver for Orange County, CA-based Image Options since it was founded in 1999. “A lot of people think we are in the printing business. But we’re not; we’re in the image communication business. If we can identify a solution for a problem, even if our customers don’t realise it exists, then we have an opportunity to go to a client and offer them something of real value.”

Both Image Options and its customers are seeing significant logistical benefits from its new large format VDP capabilities using HP SmartStream Designer. Image Options is enjoying a streamlined prepress process for existing jobs that used to involve setting up multiple files. Now, the designer builds a single template from their favourite Adobe InDesign software and, using the SmartStream Designer software plug-in, links it to a database to create the multiple versions, saving significant preparation time. VDP also makes packing and distribution go smoother. By tagging each print with its destination details and using the database to print labels for each individual box, it’s fast and easy to ensure the right prints are shipped to the right branch. And, at the store, the manager can immediately verify the package contains the correct signage. “The benefit is across the board,” says Bennett. “Time and cost savings, and also improved quality of service to our customers.”

VDP serves up fast food chain’s new posters in record time

Recently, using HP SmartStream Designer, Image Options produced backlit posters with 20 different price categories for 134 test stores in the Del Taco fast food chain. Each print had two price versions and all 134 stores had unique store ID numbers, to facilitate distribution. One price version was above $1 and the other below, which meant varying the dollar and cents symbols – a task easily handled by the software’s rules feature, which created the logic to parse the data.

HP Scitex TJ8500

This was a regular job that Image Options had switched from manual versioning to VDP, resulting in 10 hours of layout/prepress time being cut to approximately two hours. The 1 x 1m (40 x 40in) posters were printed on the HP Scitex TJ8500 Printer equipped with an in-line cutter – creating a highly efficient job from layout all the way to distribution.

Similarly, Image Option’s new large format VDP capabilities have transformed a quarterly employee recognition campaign for a major retailer. The first time this project was done using VDP; it involved 3600 banners of one size and 1500 of another, each of them unique. The changes included district, department name and dates, and there were seven different background themes. “We’ve produced similar campaigns for the past three years for the same retailer and it typically took in excess of 25 hours for layout and prepress,” says Bennett. “Using HP SmartStream Designer the time required to reproduce the identical job is approximately three hours.”

While Image Options is not currently charging a premium for VDP projects, being able to print versioned campaigns is nevertheless raising revenues, through larger orders from existing clients and by creating a new competitive edge that attracts new customers.

“This is an example of doing more for our customers. Being able to offer VDP makes us a better supplier, which means we’ll get more sales. It’s a way to take our clients to the next level, to keep them loyal and keep their business,” says Bennett.

“Having VDP capabilities is game changing. HP is the first to go bigger than 11 x 17in (equivalent to A3 size), and being able to bring this to our market is a big asset,” says Bennett.

Going the extra mile with VDP and HP

In addition to the kinds of campaigns described above, the HP SmartStream Designer solution can take targeted marketing campaigns far beyond the world of large format. By utilising various different mediums all designed from the same SmartStream Designer files, print service providers can create multi-application campaigns that include anything from large format posters for POS to flyers and postcards for loyalty and special offer campaigns.

German court declares EFI Victorious in important patent litigation with Durst

EFI logo

Electronics For Imaging, Inc., a world leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation, and its superwide format printer unit VUTEk today announced victory in its German patent litigation with Durst Fototechnik Digital Technology GmbH involving EFI's VUTEk QS series printers with white ink technology.

Durst brought the lawsuit in the Mannheim Regional Court on February 27, 2007, accusing EFI's VUTEk QS series printers of infringing Durst's utility model DE 20 2005 012 179 U1. From the outset, EFI has maintained that it employed the technology in its QS printers well before Durst obtained its utility model. Under German law, a utility model is an intellectual property right to protect inventions, very similar to a U.S. patent.

The expert appointed by the Court agreed with EFI that Durst's utility model claims were not novel and lacked any inventive step. EFI argued that Durst's utility model claims were therefore invalid and that Durst's infringements claims were meritless. On Friday, the German Court announced its decision, entirely dismissing Durst's infringement claims against EFI. A written judgment detailing the dismissal is expected to be released soon.

"Along with our recent patent victory in the U.S. over Leggett & Platt earlier this month, the German court's decision reinforces EFI's position as the worldwide technology leader in superwide format printing and inks," said EFI's General Counsel Bryan Ko. "Our robust and growing of portfolio industry leading patents continue to drive the print industry's transformation from analog to digital color."

"EFI has been a leading innovator in the print industry since our founding. We are very pleased that the German courts have shined a light on Durst's false claims that it invented the technology first," added EFI's President Fred Rosenzweig. "We look forward to continuing to bring our innovative customer-focused printing solutions to our customers throughout the world."

The victory substantiates EFI's innovation and continued success in the super wide format printer market, not only in the United States, but abroad. As the worldwide leader in grand format UV printer placements, EFI will continue to deliver its innovative wide format UV printers and inks worldwide.

Konica Minolta starting mass production of the KM1024 series printheads

Konica Minolta KM1024 Printhead

Konica Minolta Inkjet Technologies , Tokyo today announced production ramp-up of their KM1024 series printheads. The first introduction of the printhead was in DRUPA-2008.

The KM1024 series heads have been very well accepted in the wide-format and single-pass inkjet market places over the last year. Sales volumes have increased markedly and Konica Minolta has now moved the product line into full mass production.

The printheads are available in 3 drop sizes, 6pl, 14pl and 42pl. All models can be used in binary or greyscale mode (3 bit). Versions are available with built-in electrical heater for use with UV inks, or without heater  for Oil and Solvent ink.

The KM1024 series heads pack a large number of nozzles into a very small space. They have excellent drop-placement accuracy and drop velocity consistency making them ideal for high-quality single-pass applications.

The KM1024 requires only a very simple and elegant  ink supply system. It is also suitable for use with white ink.  The .KM1024 is easy to use and gives very high reliability and so is ideal for industrial inkjet applications.
The KM1024 series heads have a new low-capacitance architecture which reduces power consumption by upto 50% compared to the KM512 series heads, making them the "environmentally friendly" choice.

A full set of peripheral components is available from Industrial Inkjet Ltd. Industrial inkjet can also supply complete single-pass inkjet print engines,  using the KM1024 heads, to OEM partners.

New models of the KM1024 series head are becoming available soon – contact Industrial Inkjet Ltd for details.

Tone Digital Adds Capacity with New HP Printing Solutions

HP Scitex XP5300

Company targets international sports events for business growth

Tone Digital (Pty) Ltd, of Edenvale, South Africa, has installed the country’s first HP Scitex XP5300 Printer. The printer is enabling Tone Digital to meet new demands for large format graphics and capture business from upcoming international sports events including the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Established in 2000, Tone Digital is a leading sign and display print service provider (PSP) specialising in a wide range of indoor and outdoor branding solutions from billboards and building wraps to expos and event branding.

With the five metre (16.6ft) HP Scitex XP5300 Printer, Tone Digital has increased its capacity and turnover thanks to high volume production that enables better production planning. The company can now provide a turnkey service and support demanding requests from public services as well as event companies working on the upcoming World Cup.

Gary Catterick, CEO for Tone Digital, commented, “After thorough research, we felt that HP understood our requirements for quality, productivity and versatility and we decided that the HP Scitex XP5300 Printer was the most suitable five meter solution for us. Capable of producing high quality digital prints up to 300m2/hr (3200ft2) on a wide range of substrates for various applications, the HP Scitex XP5300 will help us to support major upcoming projects.”

The World Cup represents a unique opportunity for Tone Digital to leverage its work at an international level - seen by millions of football fans throughout the world. With its new HP Scitex XP5300 and HP Designjet L65500, in addition to its HP Scitex TJ8300 and the HP Designjet 9000 Printers, the company will produce a major part of the event’s signage in conjunction with the support provided by HP South Africa.

“Sporting events can be very demanding projects and usually call for thorough planning and attention to detail. We are confident that we will achieve major successes in conjunction with HP and produce durable, high quality billboards and signage whilst ensuring a high level of productivity,” Gary concluded.

Tone Digital recently produced a campaign for an American rock group’s South African tour, printed on PVC and vinyl with HP Specialty Billboard Scitex Ink at 180m2/hr (1940ft2). With the HP Scitex XP5300, the company managed to produce the job in 24 hours, half the normal turnaround time, exceeding their client’s expectations.

Apart from the HP Scitex XP5300, Tone Digital has a new HP Designjet L65500, which utilises Latex Ink Technology and promises an environmentally responsible solution with broad industry applications. With its wide range of HP printers, the company is now able to extend its client base within the media industries.

Tone Digital has become a market leader in the local digital printing industry and produces a complete range of branding solutions in-house. Its know-how and market knowledge enables the company to work with well-known media and advertising agencies to bring their campaigns to life.

Océ Arizona 350 XT Printer produces print for Birds-of-a-Feather fundraiser.

Oce Arizona 350 XT printer

Océ, an international leader in digital document management and delivery solutions, was recently called upon to help create a stunning tablescape to support the DIFFA Chicago Chapter’s Dining by Design 2009 event held in the Chicago Merchandise Mart, November 5-7, 2009.

DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS), through fundraising events and grants, supports HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the U.S. Founded in 1984, DIFFA has granted more than $38 million to hundreds of community-based organizations. The DIFFA Chicago chapter recently held its 8th annual Dining by Design event that showcases individuals in the Chicago design community and pairs them with generous table sponsors to create three-dimensional dining suites that are works of art.

NELSON, an international design and consulting firm based in Chicago, contacted the Océ Wide Format Printing Systems office to inquire about helping create an elemental piece for the tablescape. Jim Pelletier, Senior Project Designer at NELSON, had previously worked on the design and build-out of the new Océ Solution Studio in New York City. Seeing the capabilities of the Océ Arizona® 350 XT printer during that project, Jim thought it would be a good fit to create a one-of-a-kind tablecloth for the event. Jim and his team worked with Jeffrey Brito, Manager of the Display Graphics Knowledge Center at the Océ location in Itasca, IL, to print a full-size, round tablecloth with a birdseed image keeping with the “Birds of a Feather” theme of the dining suite. Because of the oversized table on the Océ Arizona 350 XT printer, the tablecloth could be produced in one piece, without seams.

Jeff and his team went to work on the project when they received a tightly-folded, white cotton tablecloth, which had been purchased at a local linens store. It was professionally cleaned and pressed, and the cleaner rolled it onto a large core for transport. The Océ Arizona 350 XT printer was prepared by placing self-adhesive vinyl (SAV), sticky-side up, on the vacuum table. The tablecloth was carefully placed on the SAV and a manual roller was used to smooth it out. The birdseed image was then printed directly onto the tablecloth.

“Océ’s effort, time and the Océ Arizona printer were a tremendous help with our design,” said James Pelletier. “It was a huge success, and our entry stood out among the others. A number of guests asked about the tablecloth and where we got it. When we explained that it was printed on an Océ Arizona printer, they were amazed and very impressed.”

The “Birds of a Feather” table was a collaboration between NELSON and Coalesse®, Inc. (Chicago), a supplier of lifestyle furniture for home and office. Three DIFFA events were held over three days: the first event, “Cocktails by Design” attracted more than 700 visitors. The second event was a private affair attended by 200 people. The third evening was the “Dining by Design” gala event where dinner was served to approximately 450 people in each sponsor’s dining suite. A total of more than 1,350 design professionals attended one or more of these events.

Beyond display graphics applications
The Océ Arizona 350 XT printer is ideal for producing a wide variety of display graphics such as event graphics, point-of-purchase displays, limited-term signage, banners, backlit and reflective rigid displays, transit advertising, and directional signage. But because of its ability to print on a range of materials not predetermined simply by “square, flat and thin” and its support of white ink, the Océ Arizona 350 XT printer can produce applications beyond the norm including custom furniture, glasswork, tablecloths, fixture enhancement, fine art, or nearly anything that the imagination can conceive.

About the Océ Arizona 350 XT printer

The Océ Arizona 350 XT printer offers versatility to produce nearly any display graphics application. It can print onto a range of rigid and roll-based media and is ideal for producing a wide variety of display graphics such as event and exhibit graphics, point-of-purchase displays, limited-term signage, banners, posters, transit advertising, and directional signage. The Océ Arizona 350 XT printer uses UV curable inks and Océ VariaDot™ imaging technology to deliver near-photographic image quality for nearly any application.

Lohrer Werbung Increases Production Capabilities with Second HP Scitex FB950

Lohrer Werbung HP Scitex FB950 Printers

Investing in new technology in the current economic climate seems a daunting prospect for most. However, due to the success of its first HP Scitex FB950 installation, German advertising agency, Lohrer Werbung, recently installed its second HP Scitex FB950 Printer. As a result of these HP investments, the company has increased its productivity, flexibility and ultimately its profitability.

 

Challenge

  • Enhance production capabilities and capacity to accommodate an increasing workload
  • Offer an end-to-end solution for advertising and marketing materials
  • Provide a more flexible, digital technology offering for its in-house design team


Solution

  • 2 x HP Scitex FB950 Printers


Results

  • HP Scitex FB950 Printers provide media versatility, increasing design creativity, business revenue and customer satisfaction.
  • Increased production capacity enables Lohrer Werbung to take on more jobs and improve turnover.
  • Utilising the new HP Scitex FB950 Printers, customers now experience an efficient, hassle-free print.


Bringing print in-house

Established in 1993, Lohrer Werbung quickly became the agency of choice for a number of high-profile blue-chip brands, creating corporate identities, marketing campaigns and collateral. Indoor and outdoor signage, show-room design and interior design are just a few of the many products and services that Lohrer Werbung has added to its portfolio.

Production of its clients’ marketing materials was initially outsourced to local print service providers, but this led to a lack of control over pricing, print quality and delivery schedules. The answer, Lohrer Werbung concluded, was to invest in in-house printing solutions. As the benefits of having its print production onsite became apparent, this initially small-scale venture evolved into the 1500m² (approximately 16,000ft²) production and office facility Lohrer Werbung operates from today.

“The design team at Lohrer Werbung would often come up with innovative and highly targeted marketing solutions and advertising campaigns that could not be produced on our existing screen-print systems,” explains Thomas Lohrer, manager and owner of Lohrer Werbung. ”Therefore, we decided to invest in a digital, wide format printer and the HP Scitex FB950 seemed to meet all of our requirements.”

“In 2008, our production facility installed the first HP Scitex FB950 Printer in Germany and we haven’t looked back since! The printer ran extremely smoothly, which is a real testament to the machine as it was a brand new product at the time. In March 2009 we installed our second HP Scitex FB950 Printer to increase our production capacity and enable us to meet growing demand. As a result, I would say that the flexibility of our offering has increased by 100 percent. We can now print onto one substrate on  one machine and a different substrate on the other, or set the machines up to do different jobs at the same time.”

Eradicating limits on creativity

Thomas Lohrer also believes that having the HP Scitex FB950 Printers on site has enabled his designers to be more creative with their campaign and signage ideas.

“Not only can the designers see that virtually any rigid or flexible material can be printed on and  the print still be cost-effective, but being in the same building as the HP Scitex FB950 Printers, they can test new ideas and see the print quality first hand,” Lohrer explains. “We print on glass, aluminium, acrylic, wood, textiles and a lot of other materials. Now that we print in-house, our customers can come to us with almost any idea and our team can confidently say that we can produce it. In a way, this has redefined creativity for our design team as it has allowed them to extend their imagination beyond the previous screen-print based production limitations.”

The HP Scitex FB950 Printer has an industrial vacuum belt system that enables printing on warped, uneven or heavy media up to 125lb (56.7kg), making it extremely versatile. With automatic printhead height adjustment, it can also print on rigid media up to 2.5in (6.3cm) thick and produce great detail with up to 1200 x 600 optimised dpi and smooth colour transitions.

“We have a showroom with a lot of examples of signage and materials from previous marketing campaigns. Among the more unique applications are graphics on trailers, floor tiles, glass doors, and stone. When our customers look around the showroom, they are always thoroughly impressed with the intricate details captured in the image, no matter what the substrate or size of the application.” Lohrer continues.

Meeting the customers’ needs

Adding print to its list of services, Lohrer Werbung now provides a complete end-to-end solution, from design to production and installation.

Lohrer says, “Our goal is to provide customers with a one-stop, hassle-free solution. They may have little or no knowledge of how to produce the campaign they have in mind, and we are happy to be able to offer technical advice and make their ideas into a reality. Now that we have the two HP Scitex FB950 Printers, we can also produce cost-effective, short test runs, printing onto different substrates to experiment with what will provide the required impact.”

The future

“Looking back just two years ago, I would not have guessed that we would be doing what we’re doing now. I think being as flexible as possible with our product and service offering is a must for the future,” explains Lohrer. “Our recent HP investments have already increased our flexibility significantly, enabling us to deliver a wider range of products and fulfil a larger amount of jobs. This will definitely have a positive impact on the success of the business for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, the possibilities are infinite.”