An Auckland printer finds that his Fuji Xerox 700 fits the bill in satisfying his customers’ needs for print on demand, and says that the current economic climate is helping people realise the benefits of digital printingFour years ago, Peter Mills, manager of I Print On Demand (IPOD) in Auckland, gave up printing for a more relaxed lifestyle: importing Thai food at his own store in Mt Albert. That should have signalled the end of his time in print, but the ink that had seeped into his blood, during his 30 years in the industry, drew him back to what he knew best. He soon converted extra space at the side of the food business into a full production print shop, now known as IPOD.
With his experience in the print industry, Mills has developed a critical eye for print, along with exacting standards for work associated with his name. He says, “I’ve heard some printers say that it doesn’t matter if quality is lower as long as the customers can’t tell. But I know that I can deliver a high-quality job every time, and set about to do it.”
Mills has three machines tucked into his shop: a wide-format printer for signage, an HP Indigo press and a new Fuji Xerox 700 digital colour press. The latter two take the bulk of his work. He says, “I know if the Indigo doesn’t print something well then it will look great printed through the 700 DCP.”
His years of experience have also provided Mills with a stable customer base of big name brands and agencies. With his reputation for high-quality work, he finds himself quite busy, even in a time of recession. In total, he estimates the shop outputs 400,000 impressions per month, with the 700 DCP taking load from the Indigo.
He says, “I’m able to have both machines running at the same time, which is good because although the Indigo is a faster printer it takes a lot longer to warm up, usually about an hour, so often it’s easier to do a quick pushbutton job on the 700 DCP.”
Balancing jobs and time
AS a commercial print shop, where more uptime equals more pages printed and thus more revenue, Mills needed to find a way to balance output with uptime. He’s organised his shop so that he has one press for speed and another for detail to balance these attributes
The 700 DCP is the first Fuji Xerox printer Peter has owned, and he’s pleased with his new investment. He says the toner slots in and out with ease and he likes the fact that he only needs to buy two stocks for the shop (one at 56gsm and another at 350gsm), which simplifies ordering and saves space, a premium at IPOD. He says, “I’m getting to know the applications and the way the 700 DCP works. A lot of it is experimentation on my part. I’m very satisfied with the machine. If it was the only one I had I would be happy.”
He points to the simple overall operation, high-quality inks and tight registration as his favourite features and says, “The printing between the two machines is very similar. I am often suprised at how good the output is. It is very difficult to tell the differences these days and the results are superb.”
IPOD gets an ICC profile
FUJI Xerox created an International Colour Consortium profile for the 700DCP FreeFlow server to replicate the Indigo output, enabling Mills to split jobs between the two devices. He says that by printing a test chart on the Indigo, then using the patches, an accurate colour profile is created. He reckons that with a few tweaks on the FreeFlow server, the output is a very close match.
Mills believes that people are now just catching on to the benefits of digital printing and how, in this current climate, digital is becoming a way to cut costs by printing on demand to keep storage costs down and prevent waste. He feels it’s approaching a watershed moment for digital, where the benefits finally put the offset debate to rest.
Mills reckons he is the only one-man print shop operating in the country. However, with the volume of jobs he has coming in, he may have to surrender that title and hire a new employee to help keep up with all the work.