As more and more publishers have turned to digital printing to reduce inventories and manage supply chains, Webcrafters has seen digital page volumes rise significantly. The company installed a Prosper 5000XL Press three years ago, and it is now preparing for the installation of an additional Kodak Prosper 5000XLi Press in early 2014 to handle continued growth.
Webcrafters, based in Madison, Wisconsin, has been serving the educational and trade book market for more than 100 years and knows the importance of dependability and redundancy when the rush hits. With almost 400 employees, Webcrafters operates three shifts a day, five days a week most of the time, but ramps up to 24/7 when needed during seasonal high volumes in the spring and summer.
Webcrafters has seen steady growth in page volumes for digital printing across all the segments it serves, from educational and trade books to B2B catalogs and publications. The new press will give the company more flexibility for longer digital runs and fits into its strategy for growth and delivering the best results for its customers.
“The PROSPER Platform has continued to evolve since its introduction, and many of our customers are now installing additional devices to handle rising volumes or new revenue opportunities,” said Jerry Miller, Kodak’s Vice President and Regional Business Manager of US&C Digital Printing Solutions. “Upgradability is an important part of the entire Kodak portfolio—customers can invest in an inkjet press platform today with the knowledge that their solution will grow and expand as needed. The Prosper 5000XLi Press is a perfect example.”
When talking about the decision to invest in a second Kodak Prosper Press, John Filsinger, Senior Vice President of Operations at Webcrafters, cites scalability, redundancy and Webcrafters’ long relationship and experience with Kodak. “Scalability is a very important factor for us, and the Prosper Press family gives us that capability,” he said. “We continue to update our first press with all the new features, so the two presses will be virtually identical. We don’t have to worry about these presses getting outdated—which speaks to Kodak’s commitment to ongoing innovation.
“Over the years, we have felt that Kodak really understands our needs, and has always delivered cutting-edge technology,” he added. “We have relied on Kodak for film, plates, and digital printing technology from the beginning. We’ve been using several Kodak Nexpress Digital Production Color Presses for shorter runs and for covers and tabs, and continue to do so. Kodak has been and continues to be a good partner offering the right solutions to meet our business objectives.”
The Prosper 5000XLi Press offers full process color perfecting with a print width of up to 24.5 inches (62.23 centimeters) at speeds up to 650 feet (200 meters) per minute with a duty cycle of 90 million A4 or US letter pages a month. The system is capable of print quality that rivals offset output—up to 175 lpi. It features the Intelligent Print System (IPS), which combines in-line video monitoring and advanced software controls to process thousands of press inputs that measure imaging performance, detecting variations and making adjustments as needed on the fly. Other highlights of the press include an auto-adjusting intake system that simplifies changing paper stocks; a variable-length paper path to improve drying; an advanced drying system that adjusts for ink load, web speed, and substrate; and the in-line Kodak Prosper Image Optimizer Station (IOS), which automatically prepares commercially available substrates for inkjet printing at full press speeds.
“One of the challenges we have is that we do a lot of work with very heavy ink coverage,” noted Filsinger. “The Prosper Press handles ink coverage very well—better than any of the competitive solutions we looked at in the market.”
“We will be expanding our line of supported substrates, which will open new markets for us,” added Brad Koch, Vice President of Sales for Webcrafters. “The Prosper Press is enabling us to serve our clients with new and enhanced offerings, and we are already seeing the benefits. Our clients trust that we will be able to help them achieve their goals by utilizing the best technology along with the outstanding service we are committed to deliver.”