Book manufacturer TJ International has branched out into short-run digital colour production for the first time after installing a Canon Océ ColorStream 3900 inkjet printer.
The device, which was installed at the start of October, will enable the Padstow, Cornwall-based firm to meet customer demand for full-colour books in print runs of fewer than 200, something it has previously been unable to offer economically.
“This purchase marks another milestone in our 16-year relationship with Canon since we embarked on a journey of digital production in the late 1990s,” said chief executive Angus Clark.
“The ColorStream 3900 is a strategic move into inkjet and demonstrates that, as a customer-focused business, we have again listened to what our customers need and are making the appropriate investments to help them succeed.”
Digital book production currently accounts for 25% of TJ’s turnover. The firm anticipates that this will increase to 50% of total output within the next three years with the new technology in place, split between 60% of the volume for mono work and 40% for colour.
"The new system will enhance and complement the capabilities of our existing technology portfolio. We produce a lot of two-colour books very successfully and have done so for many years. However, historically if a customer needed to take the print run below a quantity of 200, we had to turn work away,” said Clark.
“The new ColorStream 3900 will not only allow us to say yes to this type of work from existing customers and keep colour titles in print indefinitely, but will also give us a competitive edge to attract new business that was previously inconceivable.”
The 540mm-wide, twin, roll-to-roll ColorStream 3900 can print at 127m/min at 600x480dpi or 100m/min at a perceived image quality of 1,200dpi.
According to Clark, TJ looked at "everything equivalent on the market" but found the Canon machine to be the best fit for its requirements. The firm created a new hall in its factory to accommodate the device.
"The service and support Canon offers is unparalleled. As well as initial operator training on the new ColorStream 3900, it has provided a course for our sales team covering how to sell short-run colour print. This will prove invaluable as it is an entirely new realm of business for us,” said Clark.
The business also operates a Canon Océ ColorStream 10000 Flex and two Océ VarioPrint cut-sheet monochrome printers as well as Konica Minolta digital equipment. It also runs KBA and MBO offset machinery and finishing kit including binders, guillotines and casemakers.