A3 hones high-end offering with Versafire buy

By Max Goldbart, Monday 27 March 2017

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A3 Design & Print has installed a new Heidelberg Versafire CP Digital Press, to aid with short-run digital work for high-end design agencies.


Pooles liked the Versafire's ability to hold spot colours

The £100,000 machine was brought in to A3’s Farnham, Surrey premises at the beginning of February.

It replaced two five-year-old digital machines, which had reached the end of their lives.

During the purchasing process, A3 chairman Tony Pooles considered machines from a number of different manufacturers, eventually settling on the Versafire after Heidelberg showed him a number of samples.

“As soon as you say we’ve put in a Heidelberg digital press that tends to speak for quality; I’m very keen to be an all-Heidelberg house,” said Pooles.

“It holds spot colours on CMYK very well, it gets really close to them. All machines do very good CMYK photographs now but as soon as you start testing with your own files to get the colours that the client wants, the job can take a long time. With the old machines you could spend ages chasing around for a very short print job and you lose hours of production time.”

Pooles, who has overseen high-end work for the likes of Stella McCartney, Burberry and Dunhill, cited a recent job that took seven hours to print 100 A4 landscape brochures, believing that it would take the Versafire less than one hour.

The four-colour machine uses a Prinect Digital frontend, printing at maximum speeds of up to 130ppm simplex at a maximum resolution of 1,200x4,800dpi. It prints on a variety of substrates at thickness of 52-400gsm, taking sheet size of up to 330mmx700mm.  

The machine has been brought into A3’s ‘DigiDen’, which also contains a Xerox J75 and a Polar guillotine. Poole said he is considering replacing the J75 by the end of this year, potentially also with a Versafire.

Traditionally a litho printer, 20-staff A3, which also trades as A3 Digital Print, runs a five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74, along with a raft of finishing equipment. It also has a design studio, housing a four-staff design team.  

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