Häuser KG Broadens Portfolio and Adds Value with the KODAK NEXPRESS SX3300 Digital Production Color Press
Cologne-based Häuser KG has bolstered its operation after installing the KODAK NEXPRESS SX3300 Digital Production Color Press to its offset printing line. The system has enabled the company to widen its product range and increase profitability on smaller print runs.
Häuser KG also runs DruckDiscount24.de, one of Germany’s leading online printers. The two businesses have around 70,000 customers, based in Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, including 1,200 print companies and commercial resellers who outsource production to Häuser KG. The company’s client base predominantly comprises professionals operating in the advertising, marketing, industrial and commerce sectors.
Boosting revenue via the internet
In 2002, joint Managing Director, Heiko Mazur, explored the idea of creating an additional sales channel by offering the company’s print products online. A year later, the company launched its web portal, DruckDiscount24.de, which was developed and programmed in-house.
“The online business took off at a rate that none of us expected,” explains Mazur. “We were seeing sustained sales growth of 30 to 40% per year.”
Web to print now accounts for 80% of the company’s revenue. And it has had a beneficial knock-on effect too, stimulating growth in the company’s traditional business for the last few years. After being impressed by the quality delivered by the DruckDiscount24.de online print shop, satisfied customers often contact Häuser KG with requests for custom orders. These customers, who previously ordered only online, enjoy one-to-one support over the phone or on site, leading to additional sales and ongoing growth for the company’s traditional business.
Such strong growth has resulted in an increase in employee numbers. In 2004, Häuser KG employed 35 people – today, more than 200 staff work for the company, with many servicing demand from the online printing business.
In view of the very short lead times for orders, as well as customer demand for top-class print quality, reliable delivery and competitive pricing, this fully integrated organization carries out the vast majority of its work in-house. In the print and processing areas, production operates five days a week, around the clock in three shifts, with two shifts in the prepress area. Only for partial UV coatings and hardcover processing will the company be relying on external partners up to the last quarter of 2012.
KODAK Digital Printing Technology the perfect complement for offset printing
Häuser KG’s operations are carried out in accordance with ISO 12647-2 (PSO). The company currently prints on nine HEIDELBERG sheet offset presses, with a total of 56 imaging units for formats of up to 75 x 105cm.
In December 2011, Häuser KG added a KODAK NEXPRESS SX3300 Digital Production Color Press to its offset printing line. The digital press was delivered and installed by the local Kodak partner, Baumann & Rohrmann.
“In the past, the minimum starting level for our print runs was 100 copies. The KODAK NEXPRESS Press has allowed us to significantly expand our product offering, in terms of both run lengths and glossing options. We’re now producing digital print runs from one up to around 200 copies,” continues Mazur. “However, digital print runs can be considerably greater for orders with special glossing effects. Print runs of up to 100,000 copies are by no means uncommon.”
Häuser KG’s decision to invest in the NEXPRESS Press was spurred by three key factors. Firstly, the system’s quality and production-related features. Secondly, its sturdy construction compared with rival products. And thirdly, the professional support provided by Kodak experts.
Another important consideration for Häuser KG was the wide spectrum of paper and paper weights that can be used on the KODAK NEXPRESS Press: “The NEXPRESS Press can print on all the materials we use in offset printing,” says Mazur. “A key advantage of this is the customer can have a smaller, digitally produced print run, for example as a sample print, on the same material as a larger print run produced subsequently using offset printing.”
“The results of the NEXPRESS Press are comparable to those you see with offset printing. For some orders, we print the covers digitally and use offset printing for the contents. Images on the inside of the cover can overrun onto the first page of the contents without any noticeable difference in print quality.”
Large format enables product diversification
Häuser KG has equipped its NEXPRESS SX3300 Press with a long-sheet feeder, opening up a wide range of production possibilities. It allows the machine to print sheets up to 356 x 660mm, and achieve productivity of 109 A4 pages per minute.
Popular products such as six-sided A4 folders (folded brochures) and covers, as well as oversize format prints, can be produced digitally using the long-sheet feeder.
The NEXPRESS SX3300 Press has
found its place in the CTP prepress area, in the direct vicinity of the offset print room. Two employees take it in turns to operate the digital press. The Operator Replaceable Components (ORC) concept of the KODAK NEXPRESS Press means operators can replace components without using special tools, which minimizes downtime and call-outs to service technicians.
Adding value with inline glossing
KODAK NEXPRESS Fifth Imaging Unit Solutions can be used to produce elaborateglossing effects – such as ‘Dimensional Printing’, Inline UV and Spot Gloss Coatings – helping Häuser KG to differentiate itself from competitors and drive additional revenue.
Dimensional Printing, for example, can be used to produce relief coatings, lending a raised 3D effect to images, graphics and text.
Glossing is carried out in a single operation together with CMYK printing – no additional production step is needed.
“The glossing capabilities certainly influenced my decision to invest in the NEXPRESS Press,” says Mazur. “And after seeing extremely positive growth in digital print orders, the decision to invest was definitely the right one.”
Another added extra in the online printer’s product portfolio – the new ‘Inline UV Coating option – can also be produced inline on the NEXPRESS SX3300 Press. Red fluorescing dry ink is used as an additional colour in the fifth imaging unit, and is only visible under ultraviolet light (also called black light). Because UV light color is practically invisible in natural light, a black-light lamp is needed to see the printed areas. When viewed under a black-light lamp, the UV light colour in the print appears as a reddish-pink shade. This special dry ink can be used in a wide range of applications – for example, to print concealed security codes and seals, or to ‘jazz up’ flyers and business cards with eye-catching effects.
In addition to the brilliant spot gloss coatings, the NEXPRESS Press can create striking matt effects. One special inline matt effect suppresses gloss and backlight effects in the print image. A special locating roller with a matt-finish surface is also used to give the print image a velvety surface.
A promising digital future
Häuser KG’s online print shop receives more than 1,000 orders a day, and 50 to 60 of these are already being produced on the NEXPRESS Press.
Mazur has no doubt that digital production volume will continue to grow at Häuser KG: “The NEXPRESS Press has a pivotal role to play – its excellent quality and inline glossing effects will help us win and retain business.”