Amherst College Installs Latex Printer, Digital Presses
The staff at the Amherst College Campus Print and Mail Center see many familiar faces throughout their busy five-day schedule. But there’s one face the in-plant sees every single day: the mammoth.
“We changed our mascot over a year or so ago to a mammoth,” says Manager Rod Squier. “We were [printing] mammoth footprints around the college, in and outside of buildings. There are delivery trucks on campus, [and] we have a six- or eight-foot mammoth on either side of them.”
But mammoth graphics weren’t all that customers were requesting.
“A lot of people expressed an interest in doing cloth banners to take away for shows … instead of roll paper banners,” Squier explains. They also asked for floor and window graphics. Squier realized the shop would need to upgrade its wide-format printing capabilities to meet the demand.
So in June, the Campus Print and Mail Center installed an HP Latex 365 printer with Onyx RIP software.
“We were looking for something that would let us do more outdoor work,” Squier explains. “We had, up until then, three other aqueous machines — two HPs and a Canon — and they were good for short-term, outdoor use, but we just needed something that we could [use to print on] nicer substrates, on cloth.”
The 64˝ wide-format printer uses scratch-resistant HP latex inks for better durability for outdoor use. The HP Latex Optimizer immobilizes pigments on the print, enabling long-lasting color saturation. Squier says there are many reasons to love this new installation.
“We can do more substrates,” he says. He also appreciates that prints on the HP Latex 365 last longer.
“When we do an outdoor banner, it doesn’t fade after a month or so,” he says. “It’ll last a little longer compared to our aqueous machines that we had before. It’s just more durable.”
The shop has used the new device to print fabric posters for campus buildings, permanent adhesive stickers for recycling and trash bins, and outdoor signage.
Wide-format work isn’t all the in-plant does, though. Theater programs, annual reports, booklets, business cards, envelopes, table tents, course packs and more make up the bulk of its volume. The in-plant also produces work for various nonprofits in the area, including flyers and newsletters.
To print these items, the shop recently replaced two Xerox digital printers with Konica Minolta AccurioPress C3080 and C3070 digital color presses. The in-plant already had two black-and-white printers from Konica Minolta: a bizhub PRO 1100 and an AccurioPress 6120.
Squier says a significant determining factor in purchasing the color printers was their ability to print the school’s official purple.
“We have a hard purple to match,” Squier says. “We were having real trouble with the Xerox machines to get the purple and keep it. Right out of the box, the Konica Minolta hit it.”
The selection of the Konica Minolta was also a cost-effective solution, saving the in-plant money in production and about $2,000 a month on lease charges. The four printers target one of the in-plant’s biggest markets: booklets.
“They can all make booklets,” Squier reports. “A couple of them have a heavier-duty bookletmaker than the others. On the 3080, we’ve also got a three-side trim, and on the 6120, we’ve got a perfect binder in-line unit.”
With the newest additions to the facility, the in-plant is looking to the future. While Squier is interested in a flatbed printer and cutter, the facility doesn’t have room for them.
“We’re just looking for new enhancements to what we can bring in-house versus people going out-of-house, like dye-sublimation that we added a year or so ago,” Squier says. “Just new ideas like that, new services, and new products like that.”
Related story: It’s All About the Color at Amherst College