New NexPress Brings New Features to Knoxville
According to Jack Williams, staying on the cutting edge of technology is essential to keep his in-plant’s customers coming back.
So when it came time to replace his shop’s seven-year-old Kodak NexPress 2500, Williams wanted more than a few fun new bells and whistles; he wanted practical, productive features. And that, says the director of University Printing and Mail at the University of Tennessee, is what he got with the new NexPress SX3900 that his shop installed in January.
Namely, the extended sheet feeder, which extends 14x39˝, will allow the in-plant to digitally print some larger-sized jobs, Williams says, while reducing the quantity of short-run jobs being run on the shop’s four-color Heidelberg offset press.
The NexPress SX3900 had only been up and running for a few weeks when IPG spoke with him, but Williams says he hopes to soon see it producing brochures, landscape saddle-stitched books, perfect-bound books and posters.
“We’ve had situations where we had to run short-run jobs like that on the big four-color press we have here just to get it done,” Williams says. “It’s not the most economical way to do it. It’s going to be nice having this option.”
While the extended sheet feeder will allow the in-plant to expand its digital printing capabilities, the Knoxville-based print shop’s SX3900 also will provide its customers with Kodak Dimensional Printing. This spot-coating technique uses Kodak Clear Dry Ink to add a three-dimensional, tactile element to printed pieces that Williams hopes will entice his customers. For example, Williams explains, an image of a basketball would feel like the surface of an actual ball.
Because the technology is so new for the in-plant, Williams says he is still getting the word about this new capability out to his customers.
“We’re in the process now of just doing some test samples so we can actually show customers that we have this available,” he explains. “I already have some of the designers pretty excited about it.”
The new features that the SX3900 brings to the in-plant are not the only reasons it was added, though. Williams explains that the staff was already familiar with the NexPress interface from having worked with the 2500. The upgrade has also brought an overall better-looking print quality that Williams says approaches that of the offset work the shop does.
“It has excellent detail and quality,” he praises. “We’ve been real pleased with what we’re seeing thus far. The images seem to be sharper and the solids look pretty good.”
While the new press is a substantial addition to the in-plant, it’s not the only change in Knoxville. Williams also got a package deal on a new Kodak Digimaster HD150 that he says has provided the in-plant with higher-quality printing compared to the Digimaster 9110 that it replaced.
“This one does have a little bit finer detail,” Williams reports. “The halftones look real good with it.”
In the mailroom, Williams says, the in-plant will be upgrading its inserting equipment with a new Neopost DS-200. He says the new inserter will add some automation to the mailing section of the in-plant and will be able to save time with its capability to store jobs in its memory. Williams says he was also attracted to the inserter’s modularity and ability to add on feeder stations.
The in-plant has also recently sold two Heidelberg two-color presses that had seen a significant reduction in work. Williams says having that space available will allow University Printing and Mail to expand its wide-format production.
“Wide format can take up space in terms of finishing and the printers as well,” he explains. “Especially if you’re running flatbed—they can require quite a bit of space. I thought it was best to go ahead and move those [presses] on out.”
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