Europe’s first Screen Truepress JetSX B2 sheet-fed inkjet press has been installed at UK commercial printer RCS, based in Retford, Nottinghamshire. Managing director Michael Todd describes his latest acquisition as “a game changer for the business, a compelling and unique product that opens the door to more specialised applications and more rewarding business opportunities.”
RCS supplies a comprehensive range of print products, the company’s website lists over 50, sold through a UK-wide network of resellers, including copy shops, printers, print buyers and designers. With over 100 staff, the company will turn over around £7.5 million this year and is growing fast: it moved into the Retford plant in 2001 but had outgrown its 25,000 square feet by 2007 and had to add another 18,000 square feet.
RCS’s purchase of the press — the world’s first full-colour, duplex B2-size sheet-fed inkjet press — is the latest in a series of investments designed to cement its position as a leading supplier of high-margin, short-run personalised print products. Says Todd: “Traditional high-volume, low-margin print is declining while consumers’ demand for premium-quality personalised print is growing. Ideally, our target market is the high-added-value print run of one: in the future we would be delighted for every piece of print we produce to be different, a premium product commanding a premium price.”
In line with this strategy, the last couple of years have seen a rebalancing of RCS’s production firepower towards shorter run lengths with investment in several new machines to run alongside their existing offset presses and comprehensive in-house finishing capabilities, including two B2 Scodix 1200 UV digital embossers.
“The Truepress JetSX lifts digital quality and flexibility to a new level,” says Todd. “It is the only B2 inkjet press that can print onto pre-scored and pre-creased boards which allows us to produce dozens of web2print packaging solutions very efficiently and extremely competitively. In combination with the finishes possible with the Scodix 1200, the press is perfect for producing premium personalised and promotional print and gifts, such as playing cards, books and packaging.” (To demonstrate what the Truepress/Scodix pairing is capable of, RCS will send a free personalised sheet to the first 2,000 people in the UK who request one — just go to www.rcs.plc.uk/freebie).
The Truepress JetSX’s latest-generation high-precision inkjet head — minimum droplet size just 2 picolitres — can output at 1440 x 1440 dpi to produce text and images that rival offset for quality. The maximum sheet-size of 740 x 530 mm makes it versatile enough to print everything from standard A4, through calendars, folders and book covers, to A2/B2 posters. Plus the press also meets RCS’s strict environmental standards with its low energy consumption, efficient ink consumption and minimal waste features.
Among the other features of the JetSX that impressed RCS were the variety of media the press can handle — from 0.08 mm up to 0.6 mm — and the precision vacuum flat-bed paper transport mechanism, which is the same as used on offset presses. Explains Todd: “The straight feed means we can print on stock up to 600 micron thickness without bending it, which produces perfect print because the ink is always jetted from the optimum vertical position.”
He adds that it was also important that the Truepress JetSX integrates with RCS’s existing workflow. “The fact that the press is compatible with B2 and B3 stocks mean it fits easily with our folders, binders, laminators, and so on, and because the ink dries virtually instantly we can go to finishing almost immediately after printing.”
Kees Mulder, Screen Europe president, says that RCS is “the perfect home for Europe’s first Truepress JetSX. The response to the press has been especially positive among print providers who recognise that focusing on value-added, premium-quality work is the way to success and profitability. Many of these are established offset producers making a strategic move into digital and looking for a productive machine that not only matches offset for quality but also fits into their existing workflow.”