The premise of Australia’s most awarded digital printer, Carbon8, has always been about taking the thought bubbles of the most creative marketing and design geniuses and turning these ideas into a ‘in real life’ printed reality.
To ensure Carbon8 remains at the forefront when it comes to producing high quality, beautiful and unforgettable printed products, co-owners Kenneth Beck-Pedersen and Peter Musarra have upgraded their HP Indigo 12000 to bring it in line with the technical capabilities of the new HP Indigo 15K Digital Press.
The upgrade, which was conducted on site and resulted in minimal downtime, included the installation of HP’s revolutionary HD Imaging System writing heads and workflow solution software to increase print quality and productivity.
When talking about quality, HP Indigo’s world renowned LEP technology, which has already been adopted by millions of customers and brands, needs no introduction. Each press presents a true offset look and feel as the ink layers accurately replicate the gloss and texture of the media which allows for these special characteristics to be retained. But this is not all – the HP Indigo 15K Digital Press has boosted quality even further now thanks to HP’s HD technology.
The addition of HD technology doubles addressability from 800 to 1600 dpi which improves the accuracy of dot placement while also reducing dot size by 30 per cent which boosts resolution.
This feature allows for the use of a new set of HD screens which deliver smoother imagery and enhanced detail reproduction from 175 lines per inch up to 290 line per inch. This also dramatically improves image addressability and allows for higher levels of smoothness when it comes to reproducing skin tones, skies, tints and composite grays.
Another drawcard of the 15K Value Pack is the addition of Premium White ink and the Thick Substrate Kit. The addition of the Thick Substrate Kit means the press can print on stocks up to 600 microns which opens the door to opportunities in the folding carton segment.
The upgrade is part of a broader strategy to keep Carbon8 at the forefront when it comes to challenging offset to produce high quality, creative digitally printed products for high-end customers, many of which are marketers, real estate companies, property developers and book publishers.
It also deepens Carbon8’s connection with HP Indigo technology and Currie Group, the exclusive distributor of HP Indigo technology in Australia and New Zealand.
Carbon8’s alignment with Currie Group and HP began in the early 2000s when Kenneth and Peter’s love affair with HP Indigo started with the purchase of a second hand 3050 in 2007. A new A3-sized HP Indigo 7900 Digital Press followed and then in 2019, they became the first printer in NSW to install a B2-sized HP Indigo 12000 Digital Press.
Kenneth and Peter equate this strategic move – alongside Carbon8’s ability to go above and beyond when it comes to delivering for clients no matter the brief – as to why the Sydney printer is now the ‘go-to’ for a broad range of high-end discerning clients.
A literal Carbon8 gold rush at this year’s National Print Awards is a case in point. Carbon8 won five gold medals including Digital Printer of the Year for the magnificent book ‘Dive – The Magic of the Solomon Islands’ and two silver medals at the awards. Notably, all but one of the gold medal winning works was printed on the HP Indigo 12000.
Reducing labour costs
As all printers know, labour costs are a substantial part of the cost of running a business.
Since installing the HP Indigo 12000, Kenneth and Peter have noticed a significant reduction in Carbon8’s monthly wage bill.
The key contributing factor in this reduction is the increased productivity of the HP Indigo has allowed the Carbon8 team to produce required work in a more timely and efficient manner, meaning no more weekend and after-hours overtime pay.
“It is huge,” Kenneth said of the labour cost savings.
“Prior to its installation we were running two A3 sized presses and we would run them constantly, all hours and weekends and that has a large labour cost.
“As soon as we got the B2 HP Indigo we were far more productive. We were able to get work done more safely during normal hours and when large work would suddenly turn up we were more confident about being able to output that in normal working hours without any reprints, so yes, the productivity benefits are huge.”
During a recent tour of Carbon8’s 1500-square metre headquarters in Sydney’s Marrickville, Kenneth said efficiencies have doubled since the HP Indigo 12000 was installed, adding this is pivotal to Carbon8’s business growth.
“The reliability of it is next level compared to any other digital printing press we’ve had before and the larger B2 sheet size means we can do bigger things, it is just so versatile,” Kenneth said.
“It has allowed us to break into some markets that we weren’t able to compete with previously because having the smaller sheet size meant we couldn’t produce the jobs efficiently.”
The addition of the HP Indigo 12000 has also allowed Carbon8 to scale up mainly through a 50 per cent capacity increase due to the productivity gains offered by the larger B2 sheet size.
The ability to provide an even higher quality print has also been instrumental in further answering client demand, while the addition of labels and packaging in the offer has resulted in being able to tap into new markets.
“The efficiency we can achieve through the B2 is unparalleled. The amount of sheet work and jobs that we can produce on it is exponentially larger than what we produced on our smaller formats,” Kenneth said.
Opting for HD
Musarra said upgrading the HP Indigo 12000 with a new HD writing head was a no-brainer.
Now with the upgrade complete, the press can easily meet quality benchmarks set by traditional offset printing, opening the door to printing high-quality variable data, QR codes and fine anti-counterfeit measures.
“We had to go for the HD writing head. Carbon8 always supply the highest standard and we need the best available technology. We compete with offset regularly and the purists out there have now found that the HD writing head is now even better than offset,” Musarra said.
He said it has now reached a point where clients are asking for their work to be produced on the HP Indigo, particularly for clients looking for impeccable photographic image reproduction.
“It just has that flawless reproduction of imagery that our clients swoon over,” Musarra said.
“We work in the high-end marketing space and the reproduction of photography means that they expect the highest levels of detail. There was just no question about upgrading to the HD writing head. Our productivity goes up because we now have an even more reliable production system.”
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