Johnson & Quin Solves the Substrate vs Throughput Quandary

Johnson and Quin of Niles, IL is an integrated marketing solutions provider with a wide range of capabilities. The company uses the latest in personalization software, offset technology as well as laser and inkjet technology to produce high-value marketing campaigns. For some of these campaigns, Johnson & Quin produces customized coupon cards, gift and loyalty cards and other items that require the use of various substrates. Many of these jobs are complex, with intense data requirements.

“We incorporate materials such as plastic, paper, recyclable, corn-based, foils—everything,” said Dave Henkel, Johnson and Quin president. “As we find a new material, we experiment with it.”

Prior to its installation of the MCS Eagle UV inkjet, the company depended on a family of machines to work with the assortment of substrates it uses.

Enter MCS Eagle UV

Johnson and Quin had to experiment with earlier devices to work around their limitations, especially when it wanted to run a new substrate. “With the MCS Eagle UV inkjet we had done experimentation and had discussed other devices,” said Henkel. “We had an idea of what we wanted to run. So we sent MCS some substrates and they tested them and succeeded.”

Explained Bob Arkema, VP, “We wanted to be able to image right on top of the UV, instead of just spot-varnishing with UV-coated. Take the pieces that go through United States Postal Service. USPS handling can degrade the appearance of your piece, but you can prevent this with UV coatings or other factors. Now if we can flood a UV coat, and put an image on top of it, that’s the best of both worlds.”

Arkema first saw the MCS Eagle UV inkjet at GRAPH EXPO, and was impressed by its quality output and speed. The Eagle inkjet allows a printer to turn cards and mailings by 90 degrees to produce more pieces per hour. With a 4.25-inch print head, this can be accomplished without the stitching between two heads that other systems require. Also, the print quality is a full 600 dpi. Arkema’s first impression was that any company in the direct mail business could appreciate these capabilities.

Tangible Results

That first impression proved correct. “Right away we saw very good production numbers and there was not much ramp-up time,” saidArkema. “Also, we can move more product more cost-efficiently in certain applications. It uses only a single head, with no stitching required.”

Henkel added, “We bought the Eagle UV because of its overall flexibility with multiple substrates. Also, it works faster than other products we have tried.”

Johnson and Quin handles anywhere from 2,000 to two million pieces in a job. “Versatility of our equipment is important to us,” said Arkema. “For instance, now we can run low volumes readily and easily. And we can handle several million pieces due to the speed that the MCS Eagle has given us.”

Customers are also seeing advantages. “It gives us a more reliable image and appearance,” said Henkel. “We have the ability meet tight schedules and turn times—important attributes in our business.”