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Business Opportunities

High-value Print Products

High value printing will certainly engage your imagination. Jo Golding speaks to the experts about what technology currently on the market can help you add value to print

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When it comes to high-value print products, a vital area to explore is personalising promotional products an using inkjet technology

Think outside the BOX

In today’s print industry there is one question that crops up over and over again: how can you give added value to your products and improve your profit margins? Many of us have an in-built desire to ‘get more for our money’ and this is essentially what is happening with value-added printed products. As John de la Roche, national sales manager at Hybrid Services, says, it is all about being creative and thinking outside of the box.

“It is easier than you may think to get into higher value printed products and with products like Mimaki’s UJF MkII series there are no start-up costs other than the initial hardware investment, short lead times and you retain control of the process from start to finish,” De la Roche says.

He continues: “It’s about being creative with inks and effects and thinking outside the box in terms of what products can actually be printed onto. Mimaki has a printable primer option which means materials that were previously tricky to print onto directly now have excellent adhesion.”

It’s about being creative with inks and effects and thinking outside the box in terms of what products can actually be printed onto

In terms of what technology Hybrid Services distributes that can be used to give added value to print, Mimaki has been one of the market leaders in direct-to-object digital printing technology and products for some time. De la Roche says the new UJF-MkII small-format LED UV flatbed and the larger JFX200 series give print-service-providers the opportunity to incorporate high value printed items into their offering.

He continues: “Printing direct-to-object opens up a world of personalised and bespoke products, whereby end users can request a specific design or their name be printed to an item, making it unique to them. The Mimaki UJF MkII is perfect for printing individual items or small batches because it can handle variable data and print highly efficiently on small runs.

“This isn’t just the case with individuals though, as many businesses large and small invest substantial funds into the production of branded marketing collateral. Whoever it’s intended for, adding print to a product adds value and if you can offer something a bit unique, like embossed effects or spot varnish, it will increase profits.”

O Factoid: Spot varnishing is a method of applying a varnish only to portions of a print, after printing, for design purposes. It is often used on book and magazine covers, resulting in raised and shiny parts on the cover that stand out. O

Mimaki’s selection of UV inks can be used to produce impressive effects and enable more creative applications. De la Roche adds: “Mimaki’s clear varnish is perfect for spot varnish or creating an embossed effect which automatically makes a product look more desirable.

De la Roche at Hybrid Services says Mimaki’s clear varnish is “perfect for spot varnish or creating an embossed effect”

“White ink enables reverse printing whilst ensuring vibrant colours and this opens up a whole host of creative opportunities such as printing wedding photos onto acrylic blocks or wall-mounted panels, as well as other bespoke interior décor items including glass splashbacks and tiles.”

Mimaki’s digital printing technology and inks allow you to print directly onto substrates such as tiles

Why not?

When thinking about whether you should be adding value to print, sometimes it is easier to ask yourself, why not? Roland DG’s sales support manager, Rob Goleniowski, argues: “In a market that’s becoming increasingly fluid, with industries blurring into each other, there’s no reason not to offer high value UV printing to customers. Becoming a one-stop-shop for the needs of customers is a great way to keep your business relevant and develop loyal relationships and bring forth new opportunities.”

When it comes to technology that can offer added value and profitability to your output, Goleniowski recommends the Versa UV LEF series of printers, which recently added an on-board primer. The machines can print onto basically anything such as plastic and leather.

Goleniowski continues: “Eco-UV ink also provides a wide gamut of unique print opportunities with white and gloss ink capable of numerous value-adding effects such as matt and gloss textures—adding value to basic promotional items and other applications. With Roland DG’s synergy of machine, ink and software, with Versa Works Dual, adding value to your print products doesn’t have to involve more effort or manpower.”

In terms of applications, Goleniowski assures that the possibilities are nearly limitless, with how far you are willing to go the only contributing factor.

He continues: “Common applications for the LEF series include promotional merchandise, from pens to USB sticks.

More traditional applications can also be made simpler with UV technology; utilising gloss ink to produce embossing, spot varnish or even accurate braille with just a few clicks and the use of Versa Works Dual’s easy spot colour generation tool.

“The versatility that LEF technology provides also enables printers an easy way to provide a whole-package solution to their customers. Ensure your customers get the quality they need first time, every time. Roland DG’s creative centre is a treasure trove of applications for the LEF series, and for people who might like some inspiration it’s certainly worth a visit.”

Get creative

Another company that knows a thing or two about adding value to print is The Magic Touch, which offers image transfer solutions for the production of full and single colour transfers to decorate a range of textile and non-textile products.

Jim Nicol, managing director of The Magic Touch, says: “The TMT/OKI LED desktop digital printers feature full colour capability together with a ‘white toner’ option. This unique technology together with the award-winning transfer papers, offers the ultimate affordable option for those looking to benefit from the growing personalisation market.

(Above & below) The Magic Touch’s range of OKI LED desktop digital printers offer an affordable way into the growing personalisation market

“The new ‘white-toner’ printers incorporate the bespoke ‘space control’ software for the ultimate in colour control and transfer management. The ‘white-toner’ technology offers the user the ability to produce transfers for products previously considered a challenge to decorate using traditional print methods.

“The company also offer the latest in professional heat presses and plotters together with the comprehensive range of Magi Cut products including Flex, Flock, Glitters and the unique Reflectra range all for garment decoration.”

The OKI Pro 7411WT colour-plus white LED printer, supplied by The Magic Touch, used with Wow 7.8 transfer paper gives users an affordable way to decorate products such as t-shirts, mugs, bags, notebooks, and more.

Nicol raises an interesting point about a clever way customers optimising high-value print products can draw in more business.

He says: “Every time a printer does a job what they should be doing is giving them a thank you pack consisting of a t-shirt, mug, and umbrella, for example, that already has the customer’s logo on it. It’s quite an easy process as they will already have their logo from the previous work.

“For one of our customers to produce a t-shirt with a logo on the left-hand side pocket will cost less than £2 and yet you wouldn’t think twice about buying someone a cup of tea or coffee to say thank you. This is so much more cost-effective in terms of getting in front of people. The key sales factor here is the ability to produce just one item.”

Nicol encourages customers to consider The Magic Touch as a sales person encouraging them to get more proactive marketing done.

He continues: “Potential users should consider The Magic Touch as a very affordable ‘salesperson’ enabling personalised samples to be produced in-house and forwarded to customers for evaluation. This form of target marketing combined with a scheduled follow-up results in actual orders, increased product awareness and cost effective marketing, helping to improve the customer’s experience.”

Low expenditure

Wide-format print and finishing solutions supplier Colourgen can also be of help when it comes to diversifying your offering. Melanie Enser, marketing manager of Colourgen, says there is no better time to do it than now.

She says: “The hardware is a low capital expenditure these days. Print-service-providers have the relevant experience in the graphics market, the design experience in-house and the market for the products in their customer bases. The equipment and process is easy to learn and operate and the blank products (if they choose to address that market) are cost effective and easy to obtain.

“As with any instance of adding a new service to an existing portfolio—initial market research within the company’s established customer database is always recommended. Once the demand is established there, the company should look outside its database to gauge demand there and decide upon the commercial feasibility in terms of growing their business.”

The A3+ desktop LED UV printer, Value Jet 426UF, and Value Jet 1626UH/1638UH are three products which Enser recommends. The Value Jet 1626UH/1638UH are both 64” wide and use energy efficient UV-LED ink. They can handle both roll and rigid media.

Enser adds: “All three products will soon be available with flexible inks, opening up further possibilities for this technology such as vehicle wrapping and printing onto leather and other flexible substrates.”

Enser notes that the variety of applications possible are only limited by the user’s imagination. She continues: “The desktop Value Jet 426UF is ideal for gadgets such as phone cases and keyrings, but is also perfect for industrial labelling, bespoke signage, and creative image applications.

The Value Jet 426UF is ideal for phone cases and keyrings, as well as industrial labelling and bespoke signage

“The 64” Value Jet 1626UH and 1638UH take it up a notch and provide high quality graphics for short viewing distances such as trade show graphics, POS/POP, customised interior decoration, small lot packaging prototypes, banners and posters. Creativity and looking at other substrates opens up more applications.”

Scodix, providers of digital enhancement solutions, is another company that can help you add value. Amit Shvartz, vice president of marketing at Scodix, says: “Our flagship product, the Scodix Ultra Pro digital enhancement press with Foil Station offers nine different enhancement applications developed in response to the growing need for digital enhancement, while retaining the highest quality, reliability, and registration.

“Complimentary to almost all printing processes (including digital, screen, flexo and offset) the press works with a wide variety of substrates, from paper to PVC and carton board up to 30 points or 675 gsm, at a rate of up to 1,250 B2 size sheets per hour. The company is also currently beta-testing its Scodix E106 digital enhancement press, a B1 press developed specifically for the folding carton market.”

Shvartz continues: “Consumers love customisation and even personalisation. Scodix offers tactile and aesthetic effects that go beyond pure CMYK that consumers have become accustomed to.

“For instance, Scodix can emboss with 256 grades of depth, or produce crystal effects or braille, all of which deliver a significant tactile experience which has shown to influence the consumer experience (Peck and Wiggins 2006).
“For visual impact, Scodix offers high gloss (up to 99 GU), metallic, glitter, and holographic effects as well as foil and foil-on-foil. Scodix strives to deliver a range of effects that can’t be replicated or bettered by any other finishing process. For instance, foil-on-foil is unique to Scodix. Furthermore, the quality of its foil is unmatched, delivering the most colour intensive metallic foils available.”

Scodix offers effects such as foil and foil-on-foil, which is unique to the company

Shvartz says it is “essential” that print-service-providers have a USP, adding that “high-value printing could be the competitive edge a business needs”. Remember, it pays off to think outside the box, so let your imagination run wild.

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