Howard Hunt secures UK first with colour Prosper install
By Simon Nias Wednesday, 04 May 2011
The UK's first Kodak Prosper 5000XL has been installed at Dartford-based direct mail specialist Howard Hunt, which has become a beta site for the inkjet web press.
Howard Hunt, which began installation of its duplex, full-colour machine at the end of February, is only the second printer in Europe to get its hands on the Prosper 5000XL, after Servinform Group in Spain.
Lucy Edwards, assistant managing director of the £60m-turnover firm, said the company had high hopes for the Prosper 5000XL, and could be in a position to decide whether to purchase the press, which costs up to $4m (£2.4m), by early summer.
"Adding a Prosper press is a strategic move for our company because we believe that Kodak’s Stream technology will revolutionise direct mail," said Edwards.
She added that the company had been satisfied so far that the press, which is comparatively untested in its sector, was sufficiently robust for industrial scale production.
"Time will tell but all the early indications are good," she said. "It’s currently only a beta test so we’re not up to full production, but we’re running ink on paper now and every part of the implementation has been successful so far.
"We’re checking it at every stage and the quality and speed is there, so it all looks very good from what we’ve seen so far and we hope to be running live campaigns on it within a month."
Edwards said that the firm, which had earmarked the 200m per minute press for use on single campaigns that combined a high degree of personalisation, was currently focused on getting a better idea of the cost-per-page benefits of different jobs.
"It’s not crystal clear yet but we’re getting a much better idea and what’s really good is it’s coming in where we thought it was going to come in, so all our models are coming true.
"Where we think we can really take advantage of it – which is a market we’re almost going to have to work with our clients to create – is high-volume, 100%-colour, personalised pieces."
Edwards said that the press was "very flexible" in terms of paper stocks. A Kodak spokesman added: "Kodak has a dedicated European business development team who are working closely with a number of major paper mills on appropriate substrates for the machine."
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