Kent printer takes UK's first Versant 180

Max Goldbart
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Smart Print Services has become the first UK printer to install the new Xerox Versant 180 digital press.

Smart Print Services took the most recent addition to the Versant family six to eight weeks ago, investing around £42,000 for the machine complete with Xerox Performance Package. It is now looking to double its £500,000 turnover within 12 months.

Smart Print Services was previously called Cousins Print & Design but was acquired by  Kent-based printing kit reseller Smart Office Solutions last February and set up as a subsidiary print shop.

Smart Office Solutions managing director Gary Smart said: “The Versant 180 is pretty much the Rolls Royce of printroom devices.

“We’ve been a Xerox partner for 18 months and have about 10 Xerox Versant 80s out in the field and it was such a good machine that when we purchased the business [Cousins] and the 80 was being upgraded we waited to have the 180 to be at the forefront of technology in our print shop.” 

The 180 was launched in April, along with the Xerox Versant 3100. It runs at a top speed of 80ppm, taking paper weights from 52gsm to 350gsm at a maximum sheet size of 330x660mm. 

As with previous Versants, it comes with an inline spectrophotometer for increased colour automation and is suitable for a wide range of media types, including coated and uncoated papers, bright papers, labels, business cards, glossy brochures and window decals.

At the time of its launch, Ragni Mehta, vice-president and general manager of Xerox’s cut-sheet business, said the new machines would add enhanced automation features to “maximise uptime, reduce waste and deliver faster turnaround times.”

The Xerox Performance Package allows Smart to print faster on higher paper grammages (350gsm at 80ppm maximum). It has been configured with a high-capacity stacker, a two-sided trimmer and a perfect binding module will be added to it later in the year. Other optional modules include a full-bleed bookletmaker, basic puncher and square-fold trimmer.

Smart added: “To the naked eye you can’t tell if it’s digital- or litho-quality print, unless you have an eye glass. We can do short runs at litho quality and it’s obviously cost-effective for the end-user to get that quality at that cost per page.” 

Previously, Smart was having to outsource longer-run book work to litho printers.

Newly appointed Xerox UK managing director Andrew Morrison said the installation was “an exciting time for all parties involved and a great milestone for Xerox”. He said prior to installation Smart Print Services had not had a production machine of this size and calibre.

Smart said his team “overhauled the premises” when Cousins was first purchased and it now runs Ricoh large-format kit, Konica Minolta production kit and Morgana finishing kit. It has five staff, two of which were previously with Cousins. Two other staff left Cousins when it was acquired. 

Smart Office Solutions employs 40 staff overall, turning over around £5m. It provides managed print services along with selling and leasing kit from the likes of Xerox, Konica Minolta and Ricoh.  

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