Production Inkjet Press Buying Advice

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The tips you need to know before you start the purchasing process for a high-speed production inkjet press.

By Denise M. Gustavson, Printing Impressions

So, you’re in the market for a highspeed production inkjet press.

With this segment of the industry on the rise, it’s no surprise that you might be looking to invest.

Evaluating and installing a digital press can be a complicated process. A lot can go wrong — or right. What can you
expect as you start down this road? Is it smooth sailing or are their speed bumps along the way you need to know about?

We spoke with Kirk Schlecker, VP of Operations of Canonsburg, Pa.-based Heeter, one of the RICOH VC60000
early inkjet adopters for his advice on the challenges, pitfalls and triumphs they had when the company first installed its highspeed production inkjet equipment.

1 How did you research and evaluate inkjet presses prior to making your decision?

Kirk Schlecker: We looked at it from a quality comparison to cut-sheet toner devices on the market. We knew we couldn’t go backwards from a quality perspective and this requirement ruled out most of the inkjet web presses on the market.

2 What would you do differently if you were buying an inkjet press today?
Schlecker: Since we were early adopters, today we’d be able to talk with more customer resources. Nothing else we didn’t understand or would have done differently.

3 What lessons have you learned after using your inkjet press for a while now?

Schlecker: Papers — Inkjet treated uncoated papers are our best quality option, use considerably less ink than untreated, color consistency across the web is better and the sheet is cleaner.
Inks — They are much better than expected. Probably the most durable ink on the digital market and they hold up to scuffing in the mail stream very well.
Speeds — We’ve had one speed upgrade to our press since purchase. Very pleasing … We are currently running 500 fpm at 600×600 on uncoated.

Expectations — Exceeding expectations.
Training — Training is on-the-job learning.
Maintenance — Daily and planned weekly with vendor resources.

4 Have you gotten the types of work and the volumes that you expected?
Schlecker: Actually, we are pleasantly surprised about the volume of static book work we’ve been getting.

5 Any other issues that you can caution other managers about?
Schlecker: Be careful with the heads as they are the No. 1 consumable item that customers don’t pay for.