At Iowa State, Things Get ‘Personal’ with NexPress
To handle the increasing demand for personalization at Iowa State University, Steve Weigel, director of Printing & Copy Services, needed a digital press with more speed. So in September, he decided to upgrade the in-plant’s Kodak NexPress 2100 to a NexPress SX3300 digital production color press.
“We needed new features and more speed,” Weigel explains.
Along with the in-plant’s four-color Heidelberg Speedmaster 52-4P, the NexPress is Printing & Copy Services’ busiest press, he says, running eight hours per day, plus occasional overtime. The shop prints everything from business cards to brochures, posters, reports and saddle-stitched booklets, as well as a lot of variable data work.
“We also produce jobs for the university’s admission department, for freshman recruiting, as well as [personalized] reports...that go out to all of the Iowa legislators,” adds Assistant Manager Robert Louden. “It is a two-signature, four-color booklet that contains financial information.”
Printing & Copy Services has 30 full-time employees, and also employs about 15 students that work part-time in the in-plant’s three copy centers. In addition to the NexPress SX3300, the in-plant also added a Duplo UV Coater within the past year.
The shop was able to purchase the NexPress SX3300 with existing funds, Weigel says. The margins are better on digital equipment compared to offset presses, he notes.
“ROI will be relatively quick with our moving more and more work from our offset presses to the NexPress,” Weigel says. “Quality has also improved over the 2100, with banding problems essentially eliminated.”
One of the features that Weigel likes on the NexPress SX3300 is its Dimensional Printing capability, which uses Kodak Clear Dry Ink to create a clear “raised” layer on top of a page for a tactile effect.
“Many departments are excited about this feature,” he says. “We also purchased the Gold Ink module and have been promoting that by using it on our 2014 promotional calendars and with postcards sent to staff. We anticipate it being used more and more as our customers see and feel the interesting results.” Weigel says the shop plans to add Kodak’s Red Fluorescing module, which will provide another security feature to offer for printing athletic tickets.
Though he looked at other manufacturers’ devices, Weigel notes that additional costly environmental changes would have been needed with equipment other than Kodak.
“We were able to pull out our old NexPress and set in the new one with practically no site changes,” he says. “Our operators needed very little additional training to operate the new press. We had Kodak in for one week of training on site, concentrating mostly on the new Dimensional clear-coat feature, and we were up and running chargeable jobs just three days after delivery.”
So far, Weigel says customers have responded well to the new press and what it can do. “Along with Dimensional clear-coat and Gold Ink options, our customers continue to be very pleased with the quality and fast turnaround time we have offered since replacing our original NexPress,” he concludes.
Related story: A Wide Variety of Services at ISU