HP Indigo Digital Press:
The HP Indigo is the Rolls Royce of digital presses. It uses liquid inks and offset technology to produce a beautiful result. It has all the advantages of offset quality with the added benefits of digital flexibility and cost effectiveness. It makes variable data and short run jobs possible, without having to compromise on the quality of the print.
The results on uncoated paper are truly outstanding. We have a bit of a love affair with paper and we really love the way our inks mesh beautifully with the fibres of a fine, uncoated paper, rather than obliterating them the way most toner based machines do. (See here the research done before we invested in the HP Indigo.)
The Mimaki 8-colour wide-format machine prints amazing colour and definition and is suitable for outdoor signage and displays, as well as car wraps, banner stands, backlits and decals.
The vinyl cutter uses a stylus (knife) which operates in a plotter fashion to kiss-cut labels from sheets of self-adhesive label stock. Normally it’s used for larger format jobs, but it has been useful on occasion to do small runs of labels which have needed to be cut to a custom shape. (Higher quantities would normally be kiss-cut on Maggie).
The vinyl cutter is particularly good at cutting out letters from solid vinyl for signage applications.
Built in 1965, the Platen is a gorgeous piece of technology. We affectionately call her Maggie (our Iron Lady) and she’s responsible for things like die-cutting, embossing, and the more complex of the perforating and creasing jobs that the more modern machines can’t cope with.
She cuts a striking, contrasting figure in our modern plant, and when she’s running the symphony of sounds from her are truly beautiful – in case you haven’t figured it out already, she’s a clear favourite here.
The Horizon SPF10 is the main workhorse for saddle stitching books. This machine can handle booklets from A4 size down to A5 and can handle paginations of up to 60 pages, although once you get beyond 44 pages we recommend you switch to PUR binding (anything more than around 44 pages is getting quite bulky and will likely not sit all that nicely.)
This is our Machine Rescue project – it might challenge Maggie as being the eldest in the factory, but despite her age there are things this machine can do that the Horizon stitcher can’t. Those small, fiddly little books are perfect to stitch on this machine, and if you have a run of just 5 or 10 books it can be so much quicker to fire them through here rather than set up the Horizon.
PUR Binder (Perfect Binding):
The term Perfect Binding isn’t about boasting how good it is – it just happens to be the term used when talking about pages that are glued into a cover wrap.
There are two main types of perfect binding – that which uses EVA Glue and that which uses PUR glue. The glues aren’t interchangeable between machines. PUR is by far the strongest and most aggressive glue. It sticks to almost anything and makes for the strongest books. Naturally when assessing which machine was right for us we went with PUR. The downside, if we can call it that, is that the books can’t be opened for 24 hours after binding, but there’s no reason that they can’t be on board a courier during that 24 hour period, so we haven’t found this to be an issue.
When folding any kind of printed material, getting a good solid crease first is essential, and that’s where the Horizon creaser/folder comes into its own. We can send a sheet through the machine and can place several creases on the sheet in one pass, or by swapping out the creasing bar for a perforating bar, we can apply a perforation anywhere on the sheet. Very lightweight papers can be folded without creasing, so they fly through the machine at blistering speed.
The Cutting Edge:
Whether we’re printing cut-sheet digital (small format) or reel-fed digital (wide-format), having the right gear to cut with is crucial. In our cut-sheet digital area we have an Ideal LT7228-06 guillotine – a seriously heavy piece of kit for square and accurate cutting.
In our wide-format area we use a Fotoba Digitrim machine – we feed a reel of paper or vinyl into the machine and a sensor inside the trimmer reads the trimming marks on the sheet and makes a cut in exactly the right spot. The Fotoba trims a single sheet at a time, whereas the Ideal Guillotine trims paper in a large stack, so as you can imagine trimming of wide format posters and banners etc is a much slower process, but the Fotoba at least makes the process a whole lot quicker and more accurate than traditional methods.
We use a 2 loop metal wire for wiro binding and there are many applications where it is still clearly preferred over other methods – for example, note books that you write in work well because you can fold the pages all the way back.
Clever design also helps to make a wiro bound book stand apart – remember the old school clear plastic covers and black backing boards that you used to see on wiro bound documents. These days we encourage customers to print the front and back covers and then we use a heavy matt laminate (covers only) and bind together to give the document a much more polished finish – matching the colour of the wire also helps and we find that the heavy laminate on the covers makes it a really tough and durable document – perfect for pitch documents that are likely to be thrown around a boardroom table.
We have a couple of wide format laminators – a reel to reel machine for laminating rolls of paper or vinyl, and a flatbed laminator for bonding laminates to flat sheets of substrate (like sign board). The flat bed laminator also allows us to bond graphics direct to flat sheets such as ACM board or corflute.
In our cut sheet area, we have small format laminators for laminating menus, business cards, book covers and any items that need that extra bit of durability.