Alltrade Printers is the first company to buy a digital press from Heidelberg UK following the partnership agreement with Ricoh UK. The Birmingham company is to make its debut in digital printing with the 90 page per minute Ricoh Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition high volume colour digital press.
“We welcomed news that Heidelberg was entering this market because it has been a trusted and reliable partner for many years and it understands the commercial printing market and our specific needs,” says Dilu Mukadam, Finance Director. “We looked extensively at the market before identifying the Ricoh Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition as the right press with the right quality for our needs.”
Digital printing was seen as a necessity to opening up new markets and Alltrade Printers involved a key customer Eight Days A Week, an existing Ricoh customer, in the selection process. Close collaboration between the two companies has enabled Alltrade Printers to secure many National Calendar Awards and, with the Ricoh Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition, there is the opportunity to enter the bespoke calendars market with short run and personalised products. It is currently working on extending its Web-to-Print and online selling activities.
“Heidelberg will ensure that the Creo front end is fingerprinted so that the output from the Ricoh Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition matches our exacting colour standards,” says Dilu Mukadam. “We need to be able to sell digital confidently alongside our two Speedmasters, five-colour and coater B1 and a B2 model. Digital will never replace litho but digital quality has improved and people outside the trade would find it difficult to recognise the difference between the printed results.”
At Alltrade Printers, the Ricoh Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition will handle runs of up to 2,000 (the capacity of its two input trays) in sheet sizes up to SRA3. The line can handle both colour and black and white work using chemical PxP toner. The company has not specified any inline finishing options because it is already well equipped with offline cut, fold and stitch facilities.
The company will not transfer a litho operator but is likely to retrain a repro specialist, well versed in colour. The machine will operate extended days initially but will move to double or even triple shifts as work expands. This investment is part of a comprehensive business plan to increase the turnover of Alltrade Printers.
Chris Matthews, Digital Equipment Business Manager at Heidelberg UK, says: “We are delighted that Alltrade Printers, a long term partner of Heidelberg, is our first customer for the Ricoh product. Heidelberg is well positioned to help commercial printers bed in digital printing equipment alongside their litho presses and to offer the support to ensure that colour and workflow integrations work well.”
Stephen Palmer, Head of Production Print, Ricoh UK, adds: “We are delighted with the first sale and that Alltrade Printers has chosen Ricoh’s flagship Pro™ C901 Graphic Arts Edition to support its first move into digital print.”
He concludes: “The UK partnership is working extremely well. We see it as being hugely strategic and will further strengthen our aim of being number one in the market. There are other sales in the pipeline which we look forward to communicating in due course.”