Johannesburg, 25 Apr 2017
SE Litho, one of South Africa's longest registered printing companies, has expanded its already substantial digital printing services with the purchase of a new Xerox Versant 2100 digital press from Digilogix and Bytes Document Solutions.
The Versant 2100 was chosen for its ultra high-definition output and advanced colour registration and automation capabilities, giving SE Litho the tools it needs to increase capacity, reduce costs and improve reliability significantly.
SE Litho's Andrew Armstrong says the printing market has evolved to the point where designers are no longer interested in the limitations of litho printing and expect equal or better printed products from their digital suppliers.
"When we first entered the digital printing market a few years ago - also with a Xerox machine - litho printing was still 'king of the hill' when it came to producing high-volume professional output for corporate clients and designers," says Armstrong.
"Today that's all changed, and the new generation of digital presses like the Xerox Versant 2100 makes it possible to deliver litho-like quality and volumes at a lower cost and more efficiently," he says. "It's a fact that some litho printers don't readily admit, but the results we're already getting shows us that the future of printing - particularly in the fast-paced, entrepreneur-driven South African market - is digital."
The Xerox Versant 2100 keeps digital printers competitive with features that ensure less waste, less downtime, improved efficiency through reduced operator intervention, shorter turnaround times with less trial and error and an automated workflow that lowers labour costs and delivers more accurate output.
An Ultra HD engine combines rendering resolution (1 200 x 1 200 up to 10-bit) and imaging resolution (2 400 x 2 400) with expanded halftone screens to yield smoother, crisper objects and improved graphic fill sweeps. Two 2 000-sheet trays support lightweight, heavyweight and specialty stocks from 52gsm to 350gsm, with auto-tray switching and reload-while-run capabilities that optimise press time.
"Print resolution is the standout feature for us, a big step up from our previous digital printer-copier," says Armstrong. "Add to that the built-in spectrometer, and we can be certain that the prints we give our clients are 100% accurate every time - from registration to bleed to crops to colours. It's streamlined the way we work, and the litho printers are getting less runtime as the digital press ramps up production."
Digilogix's Jason Patch says digital printing has matured to the point where the difference in quality between traditional litho output and advanced digital presses has diminished, and the difference in cost-per-click, even at higher volumes, is starting to favour the digital press.
"Digital has long held the edge over litho when it comes to short-run printing, given the complexities of the litho workflow, but new-generation digital presses like the Versant 2100 have all but eliminated the cost differential at higher volumes as well," says Patch.
"For companies like SE Litho that have a long history and established client base built on a heritage of higher volume, cost-effective quality printing, it means more choices and more opportunities to better service their existing customers."
Armstrong concurs: "We've been around since 1903, so tradition and loyalty are two words we regularly use to describe our business," he says. "That holds true even as companies like ourselves face the reality of transitioning to newer, modern printing technologies."
"What's important is that the quality, speed and service don't change - if anything, they all need to improve as competition from smaller, cost-driven business increases due to the rapid advances in affordable printing equipment."
SE Litho does a lot of work for clients in the hospitality sector, and according to Armstrong, they can - and often do - decide in the morning that they want to do something, and by the afternoon he's expected to deliver it.
"That's where working with service providers like Digilogix and Bytes matters even more than equipment," he says. "It makes all the difference to our business when we know that no matter what, we can deliver on our promises to clients, and if need be, our suppliers will work with us around the clock to get a job delivered on time."