Fujifilm North America Corporation has announced that commercial printer Excell Color Graphics of Fort Wayne, IN, has installed digital production and wide format solutions as part of its strategy to remain competitive since the turn of the economy, which has spurred the demand for short-run printing. In October 2010, the printer installed a XeroxColor 800 Press to accommodate quick turnaround, short-run jobs that are replacing traditional, high-volume, offset work orders. To compete even more aggressively, Excell Color Graphics has also entered the wide format printing space with the December 2010 installation of a Fujifilm Acuity Advance HS UV flatbed press, enabling the traditionally offset printer to produce posters and signage for customers.
"The shift in the economy prompted us to start implementing digital solutions into our workflow to supplement the loss of offset volume," said Tom Parrot, president, Excell Color Graphics. "Currently, 20 percent of our volume is printed digitally, but 40 percent of the jobs that come through the shop is now printed digitally."
In 2007, Excell Color Graphics began to explore how digital printing could impact business with the installation of a Xerox DocuColor 5000 Digital Press, the first piece of digital equipment the company had ever purchased. It was an entry level way for the offset printer to experiment with digital.
The Xerox Color 800 Press has now replaced the Xerox 5000 system and has integrated seamlessly into the shop's workflow because of its 2,400 x 2,400 dpi, offset-like image quality. It has streamlined production with production speeds of up to 80 pages per minute and has also given Excell Color Graphics more flexibility since the device can print on thicker sheets, perform duplex printing and offers a clear ink option that promotes new and creative techniques for unique, eye-catching output that particularly appeals to the company's advertising agency clientele. The device's primary function in the shop is to fulfill orders for short-run marketing collateral including post cards and proposals as well as four-colour printed envelopes that would normally be printed offset and would need to then be converted.
"A perfect example of how this device is ramping up production for us is that this afternoon I received a call at 1pm to produce 100 28-page photo books by 5pm," said Parrot. "Before installing the Xerox 800, I would not have been able to do this, but now I can offer our customers enhanced services for quick turnaround, short-run fulfillment."
A survey of Parrot's customers also showed a unanimous need for a wide format solution which prompted the printer to install the Fujifilm Acuity Advance HS UV flatbed press, which boasts speeds of up to 430 square feet per hour and helps commercial printers expand their business with high-quality flatbed printing. While Parrot admits they are still experimenting with the capabilities of the device and the substrates it can print on, he is confident that the Acuity is going to open the door to new markets as well as offer his current customer base new printed products not previously possible with offset equipment. Already Parrot has seen immediate results, as the Acuity has increased the quality of the posters Excell Color Graphics can produce for its customers with its photographic print quality, precise registration and edge-to-edge printing. In the past, when the shop received an order for a poster, they would print it offset and mount it to foam core.
"While these are large investments, in today's climate this digital equipment will play a significant role in our strategy to meet the needs of the market," Parrot explained. "If I'm going to stay in business, I better find some cool ways to print, and unique substrates to print on, to keep our customers interested. The digital devices are giving us this competitive advantage, keeping us relevant, and are also putting us on the cutting edge of the industry."
"Traditional offset printers are finding ways to remain competitive in this changing print landscape,' said Todd Zimmerman, vice president of sales and marketing, Graphic Systems Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation. "Those who are adopting digital and wide format solutions to their workflows will flourish because they are adjusting their business strategy to the current needs of the marketplace, which are and will continue to be short-run, fast-turnaround, high-quality printing."
Excell Color Graphics has been in business since 1990 with a focus on colour separations and film production. By 1997, the company's focus widened to include print production. Today, Excell Color Graphics operates out of 27,000 square foot print facility.
"Our goal since opening in 1990 up shop has been to provide outstanding customer service and quality work," said Parrot. "The investments we make support this promise to our customers and we are looking forward to what the future has in store for our business as we start exploring new opportunities that only digital printing can deliver."