Digital print solutions company Priority Mailing had a six-strong fleet of high capacity Konica Minolta digital presses supplied and supported by a third-party vendor. The digital print company opted for an early upgrade, to take advantage of the company’s strengthened mono range that now come equipped with EFI Fiery Central Solo controllers.
Mono production accounts for the vast majority of printed output at Priority Mailing - almost 28 million clicks per annum. Colour volumes currently sit around 1.5 million impressions per year and the company has a target to significantly increase that. The company was keen to investigate the latest technology solutions that would enable it to manage job throughput on the mono devices, in the same way as it did on the colour systems. In addition, it was looking for additional capacity and faster output speeds to support its target to double colour print volumes.
With a year still to run on the contract, managing director Paul Butcher went to Drupa to have a look at the latest systems.
“I was happy to see the contract out," says Butcher. "We had already decided that we wanted to continue utilising Konica Minolta systems and simply took the opportunity to go to Drupa to have a pre-look at what was new."
At Drupa, Konica Minolta announced the launch of a new strengthened range of mono systems equipped with Fiery controllers. Exclusive to Konica Minolta, the controller enables printer operation and control via the Fiery Command Workstation, it unifies the operational environment by managing multiple printers with one single intuitive interface.
“We were very excited about this development, we did have some issues with the third-party software we were currently running on the mono printers to manage jobs through the print area, and the process wasn’t as slick as it was on the colour presses,” Butcher explained.
Priority Mailing was also impressed with the fast print speeds, the ability to handle high volumes, reliability and quality of colour output offered by the bizhub PRESS C1085.
After seeing the new equipment on stand, Priority Mailing opted to partner with Konica Minolta directly and upgrade the fleet early, investing in four new bizhub
PRESS 1250e mono print systems which boast production speeds of 125 A4 or 70 A3 pages per minute and one bizhub PRESS C1085. All of the devices were equipped with Fiery controllers. Priority Mailing retained one legacy colour press with service provided by Konica Minolta as part of the deal.
“We really like the build of the Konica Minolta machines, they are metal and solid. Over the past four years, we have been delighted with the quality of output, speed and reliability, which made the decision to re-invest in Konica Minolta technology an easy one,” Butcher said, adding: “The addition of the fiery controller on the mono devices was the cherry on top.”
The digital print division is now a multi Fiery-driven engine environment, which has significantly enhanced job throughput and workflow. Priority Mailing now has administration transparency across the entire fleet, all presses can be controlled from one interface and there is also the capability for three engines to be connected and grouped for use in workflows, for example, colour split, volume balancing or automatic re-routing on job error.
“Productivity has increased, we now have full control over the presses and the jobs coming in and the RIP speed is now where we need it to be,” Butcher said. “Previously if there was an error in a print run, we’d have to go back to the beginning and re-supply the entire job. Now, with the Fiery on the front end, if there’s a fault, we can simply restart from the point it went wrong. That’s a huge benefit, it’s saving us time and money as well as reducing waste,” he added.
Priority Mailing runs the presses from 9am to midnight, five days a week. The requirement to meet the fast turnaround times demanded by its customers and keep the presses running in order to process the more than 29 million A4 and A3 mono and colour prints it produces each year, makes maximum uptime business-critical.
Colour is central to the firm’s growth strategy. Colour volumes continue to increase and with the new colour device, Priority Mailing has ramped up its ability to produce even more colour work. It has also committed further investment in Digital Storefront to further streamline pre-press and job management.
The presses are constantly running but there is still room to grow. “We can increase heads in the evening shift and work through the night to accommodate future growth,” Butcher said.
The mailing and print divisions work in tandem and both businesses provide opportunities to cross and up sell services to customers. Priority Mailing handles 55 million postal items per year and a significant chunk of the mono jobs are output on the Konica Minolta presses. “We are also encouraging our clients to take advantage of Mailmark, a 2D code product for post, which delivers significant savings on postage costs. We have been involved from the initial launch and are using the Konica Minolta presses to print the addressed carrier sheets,” Butcher added.
Priority Mailing was established in 1989 as a mailing services provider. In 2003, the company expanded and opened a digital print department, a move driven by customer demand for personalised print campaigns. The company processes some 29 million impressions per year, on a fleet comprising four mono and two colour Konica Minolta digital production print systems, alongside an array of finishing equipment.