The In-Plant Inkjet Printing Opportunity
The challenges of cost-effective short run production, just-in-time delivery, and customized print applications are seemingly universal across the printing industry. But the ways in which today’s print challenges impact in-plant printers are unique to the segment. To rise to the occasion, in-plants across the country are investing in digital printing platforms, and as they seek to optimize their workflows, production inkjet has proven to be an advantageous choice.
One of the benefits of in-plant printing operations, is their ability to deliver printed communications to their parent company faster than a traditional commercial printer. Given their integration and proximity to the organization, delivery times from an in-plant are already reduced. With inkjet’s ability to print at high-speeds, investing in the technology can offer in-plants a leg up against outside influences competing for their work.
The in-plant at FastCap, LLC., for example, saw a 500% increase in its productivity after transitioning from in-line flexographic printing to production roll-fed inkjet. The Ferndale, Wash., in-plant provides more than 800 print products to support woodworking professionals and homeowners. Since installing the SCREEN Truepress Jet L350UV+LM, FastCap has transferred approximately 60% of its jobs, with an expectation to eventually move the entirety of its work to inkjet.
“The quality is better, the ink is more durable, and it is faster than my other presses,” FastCap Founder and CEO Paul Akers, says.
Why Inkjet is the Right Fit for In-plants
While the advantages of inkjet are spreading throughout the printing and packaging industry, there are some common misconceptions about the technology and its potential fit in in-plant printing operations.
As it pertains to in-plants, which may not always have the same volume of production as commercial print shops, some in-plant managers may be concerned that their volumes are not high enough to support an inkjet press. This line of thinking is likely a carryover from the early days of inkjet, when presses required millions of monthly impressions to be cost effective. However, with the substantial technology advancements made in inkjet, production costs have dropped. Additionally, with the ability to migrate jobs across multiple platforms onto inkjet, in-plants will find that their volumes are more than adequate to justify the investment.
Inkjet may be a newer technology on the scene, but digital printing has been in use at in-plants for decades. Many of these digital systems are toner-based, and in-plant managers that are accustomed to toner may have a hard time letting go of these legacy systems, believing inkjet to be a risk. The reality however, is that the inkjet process involves fewer moving parts than toner, providing increased uptime, and minimal time offline for maintenance.
For in-plants, continuity and reliability are essential, and for those with an offset-based shop, there may be concern that these offset operators will not be accepting of a transition from conventional technology to digital. This is an unfortunate frame of mind however, as countless offset operators have successfully transitioned to inkjet, and have honed their new skills to master the technology. Additionally, as many offset operators are approaching retirement age, the ease of use that inkjet provides makes for a strong recruiting tool for new staff members.
In-plant Applications Shine with Inkjet
Since it has burst on the scene, production inkjet has demonstrated its speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness in a variety of applications spanning publishing, direct mail, transactional, display graphics, and many more. Depending on the parent organization they serve, in-plants may specialize in a certain application, or need to be flexible and produce several. Across the board however, inkjet has demonstrated its prowess.
One in-plant that dove full-on into inkjet, replacing the entirety of its toner devices, is Shelter Insurance Companies’ Records and Mailing Department. With the install of its SCREEN Truepress Jet520NX, the in-plant moved all of its transactional applications to the inkjet platform, including declarations, cancellation and renewal notices, premium notices, and claims letters. An advantage of the Truepress Jet520NX is its printhead design that provides monochrome and full-color options, allowing Shelter Insurance Companies to print marketing messages onto its transactional documents.
While transactional documents are a key application produced by many in-plants, the high-end, full-color applications produced by a variety of in-plants are also poised to benefit from inkjet. High-end publications that are produced on continuous feed inkjet platforms for example, can take advantage of the technology’s ability to provide variable data and print on a wide variety of available stocks.
Meanwhile, direct mail, which is largely predicated on fast turnaround times, is an ideal application for high-speed inkjet printing. While personalization of printed communications has proven to be a highly-effective marketing approach, personalizing direct mail with digital printing is especially advantageous, providing a one-to-one touchpoint between a brand and its customer.
Enter SCREEN Americas
SCREEN Americas, part of the SCREEN Graphics Solutions Group, is among the leaders in production inkjet solutions for the in-plant printing industry. The company’s Truepress platform spans the gamut of common in-plant applications including publishing, direct mail, and transactional, in addition to a lineup of roll-fed inkjet presses for labels and packaging.
For the in-plant printing segment, the Truepress lineup consists of the Truepress Jet520HD Series, which provides high-definition inkjet printing for high-end publications and commercial applications, the Jet520NX, which provides full-color variable printing to serve the transaction market, and the Truepress Jet520ZZ, which provides economical, high-speed production in full color.
Though inkjet may be newer to the in-plant segment compared to conventional printing processes, technological advancements across production inkjet have made it an essential tool for in-plant printers. With its high-quality results, production efficiency, and variable printing capabilities, production inkjet is poised to remain a mainstay throughout in-plant print shops.
For more on how in-plant printers can benefit their organizations with inkjet printing, download our FREE white paper.