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Lucien Moons Business Accelerator current mission with Scitexvision-NUR-Colorspan (Now a HP company since Nov 2005) is to market High Volume large format digital printers and help accelerate the analogue to digital revolution for silk screen, offset and packaging companies in Central Eastern Countries. (Pol, CZ SK HU RO SLO Cro BH Ser Mace Bulg.)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

LMhttp://ht.ly/2lU9i if you want the news you need to come to you instead of searching for it? . But What the hell is Digital Intuition?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LM Marketers looking to use Facebook to grow their businesses should check out Facebook Success Summit http://ow.ly/2D43h
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

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The decision to use digital or offset affect the profitability of runs

   
Decide & Conquer

The decision to use digital or offset affects the profitability of a print run.

Part two of a two-part series

By Kim Crowley

Production output technology offers distinct advantages for the print service provider (PSP). The July/August issue of Digital Publishing Solutions featured From Offset to Digital, which focuses on the capabilities and benefits provided through the effective use of digital, direct imaging (DI), and offset printing. Offset produces long runs of high-speed, high-quality, static print. Digital offers zero makeready, the ability to add personalization, and an on demand print model.

The accessibility of capable print technologies provide choice to print providers as they adjust their business models for an industry in transition. Some invest in both offset and digital print capabilities, while others are limited to one technology. These investments are weighed based on a number of factors, including short- and long-term goals, application requirements, physical space, and total cost of ownership.

We conclude this series with perspectives on deciphering tipping points and print pricing. Determining which technology makes the most sense and what features customers are willing to pay for is based on a PSP’s primary concerns, ultimate goals, and available resources.

The Right Fit
Some PSPs are strictly analog or digital and many are hybrids. For all, there are occasions when incoming work is best suited for offset or digital production. PSPs offering both capabilities must determine which best suites the job.

With nearly 25 years servicing narrow and large format print customers in Manhattan, NY and beyond, Influence Graphics felt economic pressure following the events of 9/11. The company decided to weather the storm and rebuilt into a quality production powerhouse in midtown and Long Island City, NY. Today, the print provider relies on a range of equipment, including an Hewlett-Packard (HP) Indigo 5500 Digital Press, a two-color Heidelberg offset printing press, and a KBA 74 Karat DI press.

Ron Sizemore, partner, Influence Graphics, says the decision to use one technology over another varies by job. Sometimes it’s as simple as the application’s required sheet size. Often a job’s turnaround time is the first consideration. Approximately 75 percent of Influence Graphics’ jobs are delivered in 24 hours or less. Cost is a secondary factor. The shop decides whether a job is more cost effectively produced on one press versus the other based on the allotted time frame.

The selection of offset or digital also depends on the shop’s workload. Equipment is also a determining variable. A printer may be tied up or temporarily out of service, so a job might move to another running press. A printer’s ability to match a crucial color is another contributing factor.

Judging Run Length
Analog press investments reach into and above the million-dollar range. "There are a lot of expenses involved in getting an offset press up and running. For a press to run effectively, operators have to make plates; put the plate in the machine; stabilize the press by printing hundreds of sheets; and adjust color balance and ink levels. Because of the time involved in makeready on an offset press, the longer the run, the more efficient it is," explains Frank Drogo, research and development director, printing technology platforms, HP.

Longer runs sometimes cause complications. "With the KBA Karat our main limitation is run length. We find that if we try runs of more than 1,000 sheets we start to have problems keeping the plates at proper temperatures," states Sizemore. "We’ve found the niche job types and run lengths that fit the press and stay within those limits."

Shorter print runs are generally more cost effective on a digital press. Projects for direct mail, marketing collateral, TransPromo, and books drive the greatest page volume to digital. These presses are automated, and typically only require minor adjustments after the first page. "There’s no waste or makeready involved. When you’re talking a few hundred pieces it’s obvious that a digital press is more cost effective," adds Drogo.

Short run digital jobs typically fall between 100 to 1,000 pieces, but that number is changing. "Recently, we’ve seen the break-even point between offset versus digital printing rise from the traditional level of 1,500 to 2,000 pages to one approaching 3,000 to 4,000," says Forrest D. Leighton, director, product marketing, ISG Production Systems, Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Drogo explains that many customers find runs up to 5,000 to be economical on HP Indigo 7000 devices, while those ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 are possible with the T300 Color Inkjet Web Press. Runs over 50,000 are where offset comes into play.

Cost Considerations
It is difficult to put a definitive quantity or price tipping point in place to determine whether a job should be routed to an offset or digital press. "It is misleading to throw out numbers. Direct mail campaigns in the millions of impressions are produced digitally. Books or promotional materials are more likely to be in the hundreds or thousands when done on digital, but it depends on a lot of factors," says Jim Hamilton, group director, InfoTrends.

Canon’s Leighton agrees. "It is overly simplistic to say that if the job is static, it will be evaluated on run length and cost per page and where you end up on the break-even point determines which device to use."

The price per page a PSP is able to charge is broad. It is the result of many variables—from quantity to turnaround time, size, personalization, media, finishing, kitting, shipment location, and more. "The more value-added services such as data management, fulfillment, or multi-channel campaigns, the more latitude the PSP has in pricing," says David Davis, Director, INTERQUEST, Ltd.

A legitimate, blanket cost per page is elusive due to a myriad of project requirements. Costs to the PSP include service and consumables plans, click charges, and other variables. "In general, shorter runs demand a higher cost per sheet," says Brian Wolfenden, director of marketing communications, Presstek.

The Presstek 52DI and Presstek 34DI are rated for color printing runs of 500 to 20,000 and have no click charges or special paper requirements. Wolfenden says the average all-in cost-per-letter-size page, including service and consumables, works out to less than two cents on these devices.

Influence Graphics estimates pricing using a click cost figure of nine cents per press sheet side or .045 cents per letter size sheet. Their actual cost fluctuates based on overall click volume and dips as low as six cents per side or three cents per letter-size sheet. "We use the nine cents for estimating just so we are covered and to offset any cost associated with wasted prints. We include the service costs for the Indigo in our overhead calculations—as opposed to consumable costs—since it is the same whether the machine is running or not," says Sizemore.

The shop considers the size of the job, paper choice, finishing, turnaround, and other factors to determine a price for the customer. "It can range anywhere from thirty cents to three dollars a sheet. That’s the advantage of digital printing. If a customer needs a job fast and is willing to pay a premium we can accommodate them. If they have a smaller budget and more time, we work with them to keep costs down. It requires a constant juggling of the job queues but being flexible is really our specialty," he explains.

Wolfenden suggests that PSPs move away from charging by the sheet. "Look at the entire value of the job and whenever possible, bundle print with other services to take the focus off of cost per piece or sheet. Bidding the lowest possible cost per sheet is a quick way to go out of business," he says.

Tracy Yelencsics, VP, production segment and programs marketing, Xerox. agrees, "Instead of talking about cost per page or cost per printed sheet, PSPs change the discussion to cost per lead, especially on direct marketing campaigns, cross-media campaigns, and variable data jobs. They’re more focused on ROI."

Weighing Cost and Quality
Digital print quality has come a long way, and most agree that it is on par with offset. "When you look at digital versus offset, the quality discussion is almost nonexistent. The quality of high-end digital color presses compares to four-color offset. That includes resolution, color gamut, and media latitude," says Yelencsics.

Despite the advances of high-end digital production, print buyers may be willing to sacrifice quality to save money. For projects that don’t require a high-end look and feel, they may choose a lesser weight or lower quality stock or eliminate special effects with ink or finishing. "Even for offset printing, it’s clear that print buyers sometimes sacrifice quality by using a cheaper paper to save money," states Hamilton.

"Print buyers look at the marketing spend and the allocation of dollars. Like many providers in this space, Canon sees traditional marketing pieces heading online or to some alternative media. That’s if they are being done at all," says Leighton.

There is not much loss of print quality between toner-based digital, DI, and offset. Cost savings can be made—sometimes with a very slight quality sacrifice if at all—in choosing high-speed digital inkjet products or digital duplicators.

Alternative printing options include digital duplicators from Duplo, Ricoh, RISO, and Standard. "Digital duplicators use screen printing technology to produce a quality image very quickly and at a low cost," explains Raymond J. Bauer, product marketing manager, digital duplicator systems, Ricoh Americas Corporation.

The speed and cost per page of these units is attractive. They fit the needs of educational, religious, government, and transactional environments where there is less demand for high image resolution and color perfection. The quality is satisfactory for some customers, but the units may deliver lower text sharpness and occasional banding, and there are some substrate limitations.

A wide range of duplicators are available. Bauer explains that lower quality output units produce 300x300 dpi for small schools and faith-based groups where cost is the overriding factor. Mid-range models offer a good balance between cost and quality. High-end, production-rated devices offer output at up to 600x600 dpi to attract print-for-pay, central reproduction departments, as well as large faith-based groups, and school boards. Output speeds reach up to 135 pages per minute (ppm).

RISO also offers a cut-sheet inkjet solution with its ComColor devices, which run at 125 to 150 letter-sized ppm. They utilize inkjet technology to offer affordable color production printing with a small footprint. RISO provides an example of a FL-based quick printer that is able to sell ComColor prints for about 20 percent less than high-quality glossy toner-based output.

The decision to print to a device that outputs at a lower print resolution, or order cheaper paper is often based on the print buyer’s budget and the intended purpose of the application. The quality of the print piece should match the offer or communication to the recipient. Documents and forms with little or no graphics or planned for short term are examples of projects suited for this type of output.

The perceived quality of the print should also mirror the sender and its mission. "A government agency, for instance, is not usually going to send out a glossy high-end color mailing for fear of giving the appearance of squandering tax payer dollars," explains INTERQUEST’s Davis.

On the flip side, some print projects require a luxurious look and feel to effectively represent the brand or product. "A financial services company proposing to manage an individual’s retirement account is not going to send a low-quality mailing, just as one of their representatives would not show up to a client meeting wearing jeans and a tee-shirt," notes Davis.

A high-end print piece also has the potential to gain increased response. "Print buyers are more conscious of quality for direct mail pieces in an effort to break through the mailbox clutter," suggests Wolfenden.

Kevin Kern, senior VP, marketing, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., notes that the Konica Minolta bizhub PRO C65hc uses an expensive pigment, but is a worthy investment for applications that require exceptional quality. "Think of what you can produce, and what customers are willing to pay," says Kern. Meanwhile, "Some print buyers just want it cheap and dirty."

Divide and Conquer
Lithexcel is a full service marketing and communication company in Albuquerque, NM. The PSP operates conventional offset, electrophotographic-based digital production presses, and dry ink inkjet equipment. Incoming work is divided among the equipment based on turnaround requirements, quality demands, and variability.

Lithexcel’s offset devices include a MAN Roland 500 with five-color plus aqueous coating, and three Heidelberg units. "Conventional offset presses are used for high-quality offset/lithographic prints and work that is static in nature with limitations, printing on mostly text and cover weights," explains Waleed Ashoo, president/CEO, Lithexcel.

Digital toner, full color devices at Lithexcel include a Xerox iGen 3 and Xerox iGen 4. This equipment is used for high-quality, short-run jobs that require variable text and images. The PSP is able to print on a variety of substrates such as synthetic papers, Mylar, acetate, PVC, plastic, and magnet sheets.

Lithexcel employs a RISO ComColor 9050 high-speed inkjet device and six HP monochrome inkjet printers. For book production, the shop utilizes a Kodak Ektajet printing system. Inkjet technology is used for printing direct mail projects that do not require high color fidelity.

Ashoo notes a few limitations of the inkjet technology. "Inkjet technology will not allow you to print on coated papers like the digital toner presses. And, because it’s inkjet, the colors and images are not necessarily vibrant," he states.

From Offset to Digital
Analog and digital presses each serve essential production needs. As PSPs look to invest in one or both technologies, they should consider current and future application requirements. Turnaround time, personalization, quantity, and finishing requirements are all key elements for deciding on the right press for a job.

"These technologies are all complementary, and most print businesses need a combination of them in play. Buying decisions are likely to be made based on the gaps that need to be filled in production portfolios," says Wolfenden.

As PSPs decide which device to output to or when to outsource, they need to account for much more than run length. "People try to simplify it down to 1,000 or less on digital, 1,001 on offset. That’s not quite right. There’s not a firm way to say yes or no to one technology. You have to look at what fits into the workflow of your shop and other projects in the pipeline," says Kern.

Read part one of this series, From Offest to Digital. dps

Want more information on print technologies? Click here to visit our Buyers' Guide!

Also, visit our special Target Chart segment for a comprehensive list of inkjet production presses.

Sep2010, DPS Magazine

Saturday, September 25, 2010

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LMhttp://ht.ly/2lU9i if you want the news you need to come to you instead of searching for it? . But What the hell is Digital Intuition?

Friday, September 24, 2010

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Marketers looking to use Facebook to grow their businesses should check out Facebook Success Summit http://ow.ly/2D43h
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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Meet me at the Bucharest International exhibition for digital printing and signage http://ow.ly/2xNhG

Monday, September 20, 2010

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LMQR Codes: What You Need to Know connect the world of print to the world of e-media. http://ow.ly/2rNdt

Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

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Friday, September 17, 2010

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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LM http://ow.ly/2oqNj ^LM "Turn knowledge into revenue -- sell "what you know" on the Net."

Monday, September 13, 2010

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

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LMCA: Engagement with Prospects and Customers Throughout the Buying Cycle! Join me on this engaging event ! http://ow.ly/2xLzj
CA: Engagement with Prospects and Customers Throughout the Buying Cycle! Join me on this engaging event ! http://ow.ly/2xLzj

Saturday, September 11, 2010

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

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Monday, September 06, 2010

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Meet me at Graphima Belgrade Fair

Wednesday September 29, 2010, 08:00AM CEST
Ends: Saturday October 02, 2010, 05:00PM CEST
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Meet me at the International exhibition for digital printing and signage in Bucharest

Starts: Wednesday September 22, 2010, 08:00AM EEST
Ends: Saturday September 25, 2010, 05:00PM EEST
Event Type: Other
Location: Bucharest Hall
Strada Garlei
Bucharest, ROMANIA RO
CA: Engagement with Prospects and Customers Throughout the Buying Cycle! Join me on this engaging event ! http://ow.ly/2xLzj