Staying up with the play in printing tech

Benefitz tools up for full-service printing

Milford printing company Benefitz invested in a Fuji Xerox iGen 3 printer three years ago, primarily to be able to print at bigger sheet sizes than normal.

The iGen 3, which managing director Aidan Bennett calls a "glorified laser printer — but bloody good", can deliver oversize SRA3 (571mm long and 365mm wide). That capability means the output can be folded to A4 size with a spine, along with a fold-up pocket at the bottom for the production of corporate folders.

The iGen 3 isn't just about the hardware either. Benefitz' web manager Aaron Morrison says the XMPie software that comes with it, allows variable data to be accessed to produce highly personalised print jobs — one of the key growth areas in digital printing.

"It makes your material stand out and gets attention," he says.

The software allows customer data to be accessed from a range of databases to personalise marketing and campaign materials. Morrison says clients often don't have the kind of data that enables this approach, so the company encourages them to improve their databases and customer knowledge to take advantage.

Printed material can help this process to, for instance, by providing unique log-ins to website competitions where more useful data can be collected, Morrison says.

Benefitz has a wide range of printing technology, both digital and traditional, in use from many different suppliers. As a backup to the iGen there is a Fuji Xerox Docucolor 8000.

For offset printing, the company has a Truepress 344, from screen. Described as a "digital offset" the machine boasts a computer that images plates — effectively a built in imagesetter. Its printing area is up to 330mm x 460mm with a speed of up to 7,000 sheets an hour.

Bennett says digital print is generally economical at up to 1,500 sheets and after that conventional printing comes into its own.

Around the corner from the Truepress sits a Komori, which is for printing really big runs. It will print 15,000 sheets an hour at A2 sizes.

For banner printing, Benefitz has two Mimaki machines and an HP. The Mimakis print at 1.6 metres wide, while the HP Scitex flatbed FB6100 can print at up to 2.2 metres for roll-fed material. They can also print on a wide range of rigid material including PVC, board, glass and wood at 1270 x 800 dpi.

Companies like Benefitz are the main route to high-quality digital printing in New Zealand, says Fuji Xerox's Murray Miskelly. While in the US many big corporations can run their own in-house print shops, in New Zealand that is almost unknown.

Miskelly says the market includes what he calls "essential mail" — transactional mail such as bills. This was traditionally done on offset printers with an overprint, but is now moving to digital to deliver full colour "transpromo", or transaction plus promotion. And, of course, the promotion can be personalised.

He says this kind of marketing can be more effective than direct mail by, for instance, adding promotional material to a bank statement that customers usually read and maybe read more than once.

Fuji Xerox has just updated its iGen 3 with the iGen 4, delivering faster printing speeds, an even larger stock size and faster throughput.

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