By: David Zwang, originally published at WhatTheyThink
Feeding envelopes through a printer is not necessarily an easy task, especially since there are so many sizes, configurations, and variations in thickness — even batch to batch. Yet, Printlink has found an exceptional bespoke press solution that highlights what can be accomplished with production inkjet.
After seeing an early prototype of Kirk-Rudy’s FireJet 4c, Printlink thought it might be exactly what they needed to open up new opportunities, so they decided to purchase the press and become one of a select few beta sites.
Printlink, located in Battle Creek, Mich., does everything from business forms, checks, and other business support printing through a network of distributors, printers, and direct end users around the country, with envelopes accounting for about 50% of their volume.
They have been using their four-color Ryobi offset presses to try to keep up with the increasing volume of orders, and even added two tabletop inkjet presses to address the shorter-run jobs, but according to the President of Printlink Paul Punnett, they realized they just needed a better solution. They looked at other high-speed envelope printers, but couldn’t justify the expensive price tag.
The Powered by Memjet FireJet 4C Press from Kirk-Rudy is a unique, heavy-duty full-color inkjet printing system that is designed for production environments to handle a wide variety of applications from envelopes and sheets, to bags, napkins, coasters and more making it the most universal low-cost inkjet system on the market today, starting around $70,000.
At two to three times faster than Printlink’s tabletop presses, the FireJet can do up to 15,000 four-color envelopes an hour. Not only is the performance impressive, but it’s also less expensive to operate than the Ryobi’s since there are no plate costs or makeready. Thanks to the impressive Memjet DuraFlex® technology and the color control of Global Graphics’ Xitron DFE, the quality of the print and the color matching is exceptional — also important to clients. The FireJet can even print full bleed on a coin envelope, with the first and last envelopes always looking exactly the same.
DuraFlex-powered printing solutions like the FireJet 4c offer new long-life, four-color printhead to minimize intervention rates, resulting in higher productivity and profitability for print providers. The water-based pigment inks have been developed for food packaging safety and are lightfast, water durable, and scratch resistant.
According to Punnett, “We will probably want to add another FireJet so we can just leave it set up for number 10 or catalog envelopes and go.” In fact, he sees several of these FireJet presses in their future as the older presses start to reach end of life. Importantly, since it is a digital press, it makes it easier to bring a new labor force up to speed as older pressmen are retiring. He said he could train an operator to run the press in an afternoon.
As print providers look for affordable printing solutions to expand their business and revenue streams, capitalizing on new innovations like the Kirk-Rudy FireJet 4C Color Inkjet System can provide printers a low-risk way to make the move to inkjet or expand their existing product lines with new solutions.