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Kodak’s Hybrid Imprinting Solutions Adoption Accelerates in the Sheetfed Market

Komatsu General Print Company in Nagano, Japan, is the latest company in the sheetfed market to offer the benefits of a hybrid inkjet-offset printing solution with its installation of the KODAK PROSPER S5 Imprinting System. Ryobi integrated PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems into a RYOBI 750 sheetfed press for Komatsu to efficiently produce personalized direct mail and other high-value applications in a single pass.

      Inkjet printing inline with offset printing delivers a number of significant benefits, including faster job turnaround time, lower costs and higher productivity for imprinting applications when compared to roll-fed laser printing. The typical production process involves printing direct mail shells on an offset press, letting the shells dry, and imprinting them on a laser printer. Hybrid printing eliminates drying time and enables imprinting on the sheets as they pass through the offset press, saving up to two days in production time.



      “The PROSPER S-Series has proven itself in the offset environment through its versatility in making offset presses digital and enabling customers to maximize the return on investment in their current web- or sheetfed equipment,” said Ronen Cohen, General Manager, Inkjet Technology Partnerships, Kodak. “The ability of the PROSPER S-Series Imprinting System to deliver high-quality monochrome variable data on much larger sheet sizes and to print on matte, glossy or classic offset papers opens up new types of applications for the sheetfed market.”

      Since their introduction in 2009, PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems traditionally were integrated with web-fed offset presses. The number of sheetfed commercial print customers using PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems continues to steadily grow as Kodak works with individual customers and their offset press manufacturers to develop custom hybrid printing solutions.

First Cut-Sheet Hybrid Solution in Asia

      Komatsu General Print Company specializes in the production of one-to-one marketing materials that feature variable content. As the business grew, Toshihiko Komatsu, President and Chief Executive Officer, sought to expand the company’s direct mail capabilities by moving into long-run production of personalized materials ranging from one million to 100 million pieces. Komatsu approached Ryobi, which worked with Komatsu’s team and Kodak to develop the first inline UV printing press with PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems.

      “The combination of a RYOBI 750 sheetfed press and PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems creates a hybrid solution that delivers higher throughput and achieves extremely high quality for short- and long-run jobs,” said Komatsu, featured in this video explaining the benefits of the PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems: “We have bolstered productivity in the printing of personalized materials by 300 to 400 percent since we installed the PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems on our RYOBI press. This capability provides us with tremendous growth opportunities across the entire direct mail and personalized printing market.”

      Komatsu’s custom hybrid printing solution includes four printing units for process color, two towers housing three PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems, a dryer unit for spot color and a UV varnishing unit. The system enables unique large B2-format applications for variable-data imprinting and the use of special coatings and techniques for the offset process that aren’t possible on cut-sheet laser printers.

      With the PROSPER Imprinting Systems, Komatsu achieves high throughput for direct mail production with the first two PROSPER Imprinting Systems covering an A4 sheet and the third printhead printing the address. Komastsu also prints A4 glued and folded sheets for direct mail using the RYOBI Press/PROSPER Imprinting Systems configuration.

Cut-Sheet Hybrid Printing Grows in Europe

      Kern GmbH, a print service provider in Bexbach, Saarland, Germany, recently overhauled its direct mail production with the installation of three KODAK PROSPER S10 Imprinting Systems. Kern GmbH prints direct mail and self-mailers for major cosmetic retail chains, consumer goods manufacturers, tour operators and insurance companies, typically in runs from 10,000 up to one million units. As its personalized direct mail business grew, Kern GmbH wanted to lower its production costs without compromising the quality customers demand, which led André Kern, joint Managing Director of Kern GmbH, to seek an affordable inkjet system.

      “We wanted to completely re-launch the mailer side of our operation with an end-to-end solution that would give us maximum flexibility regarding formats and paper types,” said André Kern. “The PROSPER S10 Imprinting Systems fit perfectly with this concept, combining laser quality with low costs per print, regardless of the substrate.”

      In a joint engineering venture involving mail table provider Popp Maschinebau, Heidelberg and Kodak, a unique imprinting and finishing system was installed at Kern GmbH, enabling variable data to be imprinted on both sides of color offset shells. Volume on this system is approaching 15 million A4 equivalent pages per month, backed by strong reliability and productivity. The PROSPER Imprinting Systems at Kern GmbH have been running for more than 1,000 hours at 180 m per minute.

      André Kern talks about the advantages his company has seen since implementing this hybrid printing solution:

      Other European print service providers that have recently integrated PROSPER Imprinting Systems into their cut-sheet presses include the Anton Group in England, Melter GmbH and Trebbau in Germany.

The PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems include the S5, S5 with CMYK, S10, S10 CMYK, S20, and S30. Each solution produces laser-like quality for imprinting at a range of speeds and resolutions, bringing high-quality personalization to offset print jobs. With the PROSPER S-Series Imprinting Systems, print providers are able to leverage their capital investments in offset presses and bridge the gap to digital in a one-step, inline process.

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