House of Print expands it digital print capability
House of Print is so much more than a commercial, litho printing company. It was one of the early adopters of digital printing realising early on that the potential offered by digital printing to supplement its extensive litho capacity meant that it could offer a complete solution to its clients.
The combination of black-and-white and full-colour digital printing meant that short-run jobs could be handled quickly and efficiently, while complementing the longer runs which were handled on the litho presses. As the demands on the printing process continue to change and develop, there is a growing demand for short run, full-colour work but with the added requirement for special colours, finishes and techniques to offer enhanced and unique printing.
As a company House of Print is constantly looking for new technology which can add a new facet to its product and service offering to clients. It was for this reason that it has placed an order for a new Xerox Color 1000i digital colour press, which was recently launched into the local market at FESPA Africa held at Gallagher Convention Centre.
This is the first order for a Xerox Color 1000i press in the EMEA region. What makes this press so unusual is that it has a fifth printing station which allows it to print Silver, Gold and Clear inks as part of the run. Usually, handling these inks would require a separate pass through the press or to be handled as a separate process on a different device. In addition, the clear ink can be printed in a multipass mode which allows for the creation of a raised image in the clear ink to resemble the effect achieved with raised varnish. The sheet can pass through the press up to seven times to achieve the raised effect.
Speaking about the order at the press conference, Andre Bam said, ‘We are always looking for new ways to improve and enhance our service to our customers and new technology is one way of doing that. We do not install new technology lightly, but when it offers us a strategic advantage as this press does, then it makes sense for us to do it. We are looking forward to the arrival of our new machine and being able to offer our clients even better print quality.’
Printing with 200 years Of experience behind us
It is generally accepted that all printing presses manufactured around the world are capable of producing high quality work. Every press manufacturer strives to ensure that their presses are of the highest quality. What is not as well-known is that all modern printing presses are based on a design that is 200 years old and which was developed by a single company.
Here at House of Print, our flagship press is the KBA Rapida 106. KBA is the oldest press manufacturer in the world having developed the first steam-powered, double-cylinder printing press which went into production at The Times in London on 29 November 1814. The development of that first cylinder printing press paved the way for the democratisation of print. This process of developing the rotary printing press was just the first step in the many hundreds which the company Koenig & Bauer or KBA has undertaken over the years and it still forms the basic construction of all modern lithographic printing presses.
That first printing press marked a major leap forward in technology from the hand-powered printing press developed by Johannes Gutenberg 360 years earlier. Gutenberg’s press was capable of 240 sheets per hour while the new press was able to achieve a speed of 1100 sheets per hour. Increasing speed has always been an important factor for KBA and our Rapida is now capable of achieving impressive printing speeds up to 18000 sheets per hour in full perfecting mode.
Over the past 200 years KBA has made constant improvements in the design and construction of its presses and the result is a range of printing presses for a variety of different printing process from newspapers through to conventional sheetfed printing and even digital printing presses. The Rapida 106 is still KBA’s flagship press for the sheetfed market and it is this machine which forms the centre of our printing capacity here at House of Print. So, not only do we have extensive experience of our own, but we also rely on the very best technology the industry has to offer to achieve the highest standards for you – our customers.
Printing showing signs of improvement
There are, at long last, positive signs that the international printing industry may finally be heading back to a more solid position. Two of the major press manufacturers have announced that they are showing the results of the stringent restructuring programmes they have carried out over the past few years.
The negative aspect of this has been that both of these companies have been forced to reduced staff numbers quite considerably at all of their production facilities to reflect the lower demand for printing presses, both in the sheetfed and webfed markets. It has even resulted in some consolidation of product ranges or seeking supplementary products which can complement the core markets.
The fact that both of the press manufacturers have announced more positive results in recent months could mean that the printing industry is starting to see a possible turn. The past few years have seen major contractions in the volume of material being printed, with the exception of packaging. Even here, paper-based packaging has also been affected by a shift to other materials such as plastics and foil. There has also been a shift from metal decorating printing to other materials.
The packaging sector is the one area where there has been some growth but this too has shown signs of slowing. It is therefore, encouraging that the major press manufacturers are announcing improved results for the first half of the 2014 financial year.
Here at House of Print we finding this positive news encouraging and trust that the improvement which is being experienced in the printing industry in other parts of the world will soon be mirrored here in South Africa.