Real Digital takes next step in its evolution

By Darryl Danielli, Wednesday 20 September 2017

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Real Digital International has continued its 2017 re-equip with a brace of HP Indigo 12000s as it looks to target growth in new markets.

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Laybourne: Looking to evolve the business beyond its core markets

The two B2 Indigos were commissioned in July and replaced five Xerox iGen4s at its Croydon site.

Managing director David Laybourne said that he and production director Barry Stephens first began looking at options to update the firm's sheetfed digital capabilities almost two years ago, talking to variety of manufacturers of inkjet and toner-based systems.

However, after reviewing the market, he said that the Indigo B2 technology was the best fit for the business in terms of print quality and productivity, adding that the 12000 was also a significant step-forward on the Indigo 10000 in terms of robustness and operator interface.

“At the moment, it’s the standout technology in the market place and I think HP are going to rule the roost, because I think for the next three to five years there aren’t a lot of options,” said Laybourne.

While he was full of praise for the two “superb” Screen Truepress Jet520 web-fed colour inkjet presses installed in 2014, he said that the management team felt that the Indigo technology complemented the Jet 520s and by offering both technologies the business could serve a broader mix of clients and product types.

“Inkjet certainly has a place, but given the current paper and ink limitations it’s not the be-all and end-all. We wanted a different technology to really give us the breadth of services and output that our clients want.”

One of the key drivers for the spend was part of a “strategic evolution” of the circa £18m business, rather than simply increasing capacity.

The two B2 Indigos effectively match the output of the five iGens.

“It was about how we take the whole business forward and the reaction we’ve had from when we’ve taken clients around the business has been fantastic,” said Chris Tagg, sales director.

While Laybourne and Tagg didn’t want to reveal too much, they hinted that they wanted to increase the business’s footprint beyond its traditional direct marketing and transactional sectors.

They said that markets that were of interest included event ticketing, consumer sampling sets, ‘light’ packaging and home healthcare screening kits.

“Because in all of these markets, data is still at the core of everything,” said Tagg.

The firm’s 3,450sph 12000s are configured to run six-colour IndiChrome, but so far have been used for four colour CMYK.

The digital spend follows a £1m post-press spend earlier this year on an Ibis Smart Binder and Böwe Systec Fusion Cross enclosing line, which were installed in March and May respectively.

"It’s been a busy year, and really productive. You go through a period when there aren’t necessarily enormous opportunities with changes in technology and steps forward, but we feel that what we’ve been able to bring on board this year, the presses, the stitcher, and the enclosing line in isolation are all good bits of kit – but put them together then it’s a tremendously strong package,” said Laybourne.

He added that the firm hoped to unveil another significant post-press spend in the coming months that was another crucial part of its evolution.

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