Direct marketing specialist VPrint has installed eight KODAK PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems for continuous colour printing. The investment has enabled VPrint to produce image quality that rivals offset, and the company is using the imprinting systems to deliver top-quality, high-volume jobs.
VPrint specialises in high-volume personalized direct mail. Its production plant is located in Mouscron, Belgium but the printing house also has reconciliation and envelope insertion machines at the site operated by its partner MDO in Tourcoing, France.
VPrint produces three million direct mail pieces a day, employs 140 people and posts sales of 25 million euros. In recent years, the company’s customer base has expanded beyond leading names in the mail order industry, and today includes French and European clients in the telecom, banking and insurance, and consumer retail sectors.
A 20-year partnership with Kodak
“Our partnership with Kodak goes back a long way,” says Roby Van Daele, VPrint’s CEO. VPrint’s historic equipment inventory includes 60 KODAK VERSAMARK DS6240 Printing Systems enabling 4.27-inch (10.85 cm), 240 x 240 dpi monochrome printing on a 37.8 inch (96.0 cm) preprinted web width. The KODAK PROSPER Printing Systems are fitted on 10 finishing machines, and imprint the output from three web-fed presses for personalisation.
VPrint also has 16 KODAK VERSAMARK DS9050 Printing Systems enabling 8.96-inch (22.76 cm), 300 x 300 dpi for process work—also on a 37.8 inch web width—which are part of an integrated system.
“Our large inventory of machines means we have one of the largest inkjet printing operations in Europe,” comments Van Daele.
A move towards KODAK Stream Inkjet Technology
Since installing the eight KODAK PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems, VPrint has been breaking new ground. “The rationale for choosing the PROSPER S5 Systems was based on technical continuity,” explains Van Daele. “This new generation of PROSPER Imprinting Systems delivers image quality that rivals offset at 600 x 600dpi. Such advanced technology puts us at the peak of technical performance in this niche.
“We’re currently the only printing company to supply finished end products with in-line colour personalisation in a large web width (37.8 inch), which means no waste. Initial feedback from our customers has been very positive.”
A leap in quality
The KODAK PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems use KODAK Stream Inkjet Technology. They combine the benefits afforded by offset printing for fixed-image sections with high-quality variable-data colour printing applied at the same time on the finishing lines.
“You can really see the difference when producing personalised direct mail jobs at 600 dpi—it’s a significant leap in quality,” continues Van Daele. “The KODAK PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems can handle speeds of up to 500 feet per minute (152 mpm), making them perfect for our finishing lines.
“And they can be moved to different positions on the line. This gives us a great deal of flexibility in choosing which areas to personalise in colour, in duplex printing on our lines.”
It’s not just direct mail where the KODAK PROSPER Imprinting Systems are having an impact: “It’s not always easy for customers to supply colour files that can be used by the reading systems in place,” says Van Daele. “However, the PROSPER S5 Imprinting Systems have been designed to accept heavy and complex files.”
A bright future for variable-colour printing
Van Daele is convinced that variable-colour printing has much to offer in the long term: “If the market avoids focusing exclusively on the internet and adopts a cross-media rationale, as appears to be the case, it’s probably safe to assume that variable-colour printing has a bright future.”