Trade shows are a great place to check out the latest piece of equipment. The ability to watch a job being produced live is a compelling marketing tool and one that clearly goes down well with printers, hence the hordes of people walking the halls of printing exhibitions with arms full of tubes and carrier bags filled with eye-catching printed collateral.
Some exhibitors really make an effort. They print jobs that potential customers will want to take away and put on the walls of their office or home. Maps and pictures of fast cars fall into this category, not to mention images of scantily clad ladies. Other vendors eschew this tactic and simply choose to show off what their machines are capable of achieving by churning out great looking samples.
Scodix took the latter approach at Drupa 2012. As Bernie Robinson, managing director of the Currie Group, sole distributor of Scodix in Australia and New Zealand, explains: “People are eager to see something different, something that is not just CMYK on paper. We all want it to have a premium look and only then we will keep it.
“That’s exactly what happened at Drupa. From all the millions of sheets printed by all the companies at the show, the Scodix samples were those that people kept and took home.”
During the 14-day event, Scodix handed out a mind-blowing 250,000 printed samples to more than 30,000 visitors to its booth. “No other company has ever been able to get such a huge attention and make people take such a massive amount of samples,” claims Robinson.
The focus of all this attention was the Scodix S74 Pro. This B2 ‘digital enhancement press’ takes pre-printed images “enhances them and turns them into amazing pieces of art”, he claims. The machine, which is upgradeable from the Scodix 1200, is capable of producing raised elements and even Braille that can lift a conventional piece of print and turn it into a tactile, engaging experience, providing cut-through in an age when consumers are continuously bombarded by different marketing messages.
“In our everyday life, we are exposed to thousands of messages,” says Robinson.
“We delete most of them and keep only few. The graphic arts industry is challenged by this overwhelming amount of information delivered to people and not getting through to them. Consumers are not influenced by manufacturers’ messages. Scodix turns enhanced printed items into an experience and creating something that makes an impact and creates stand out. It does exactly what manufacturers are looking for and makes the necessary impact on the consumers so that they notice the products.”
Scodix has christened this process ‘Sense’ because the company claims that it adds an extra dimension to printed items and creates the sense of touch. According to Robinson, the output is targeted at all players in the production chain.
“This could be a graphic designer looking to enhance his work, or a manufacturer of boxes, or a print broker supporting his clients,” he explains. “They are all looking for the same thing: to create a product that makes an impact, and differentiate it from all other so it stands out on the shelf.”
Operation of the machine is pretty straightforward. In layman’s terms, you simply feed CMYK-printed images into the press and the Scodix uses inkjet technology to apply a clear polymer that enhances the sheets and spits them out ready for finishing.
The manufacturer claims that the machine delivers perfect results every single time thanks to the use of CCD cameras for image-to-image registration. This guarantees pinpoint accuracy and ensures the “unique” clear polymer, or ‘PolySense’ as the company calls it, is delivered to the exact location.
It can produce 99 gloss units. Scodix says this is the highest gloss available for printed materials, up to 250 microns in polymer height. It is so thick that it can print Braille letters. It also features variable density capabilities, ranging from 1% to 100%, all in one pass.
The S74 is capable of handling sheet sizes of up to 520x735mm and can cope with material weights from 135 to 675gsm. The machine can handle material thicknesses up to 0.7mm. It is compatible with offset, laminated sheets and digital print and thanks to its digital workflow, it has variable data capabilities meaning that every sheet can be different from the previous one.
An attractive additional extra is the Scodix Rainbow Station – the “world’s first in-house digital inkjet glittering station producing the Scodix Digital Glittering experience”, according to Scodix’s marketing. The dedicated UV station, which prints glitter on selected areas, is targeted at creators of photo album covers, marketing communications materials, cosmetics and premium packaging, business cards, wedding invitations and other short-run applications. It works by applying a special polymer to the substrate followed by a standard glittering powder waterfall in any colour – hence the use of the word ‘rainbow’.
Although the machine got its global debut at Drupa in May, its official launch in Australia took place in July this year at the Currie Group’s showroom in Melbourne. To date, Robinson says that customer feedback has been great and he’s confident that it will prove a popular device in the local market, although he won’t reveal sales targets. As for who might step forward and buy the machine, he sees it potentially being used in a number of different environments.
“We see the Scodix in printers that do photobooks, and others doing marketing collaterals, or box manufacturers or greeting cards and invitations – every printed job that wants to stand out is looking for the Scodix Sense”
The cost of the machine depends on the configuration, which always makes it difficult to draw comparisons with rival machines. But then Robinson claims that there isn’t anything else like this out there on the market at the moment.
“We truly don’t go head-to-head with any other company. No company is making anything similar to Scodix Sense or Scodix Rainbow digital glittering. No other company has a near-line solution that has image-to-image camera based registration with the level of density and the high gloss that Scodix has.”
That said, he concedes that a number of manufacturers, including Xerox, HP, Kodak and a few others, offer the capability to print a thin layer of clear liquid over colour images. However, he claims that none of these companies offer a machine that is as flexible and create as great a range of sensory effects as the Scodix.
And it’s for this reason that Robinson is confident that when printers start looking at the different options that are available to them, the majority will opt for the Scodix. As he points out, with marketers increasingly looking to create eye-catching images that stand out from the crowd, the manufacturer could well be onto a winner with its latest offering.
“Overall we see more and more brand name companies realising the value of enhanced items that are actually able to get through to the consumer and deliver the message,” says Robinson. “The Scodix Sense does what colour printing did to black and white many years ago – suddenly an item without enhancement by Scodix looks dull.”
Max resolution: 2,540x360dpi
Max sheet size: 520x735mm
Substrate weight: 135-675gsm
Max substrate thickness: 0.7mm
Press dimension (LxHxW): 4,753×1,883×2,576mm
Contact: Currie Group, (03) 9810 1331, [email protected]
Several digital presses offer the ability to apply clear, coloured or textured varnish inline.
Fuji Xerox Color Press 800/1000
Launched in 2010 and developed jointly by researchers at Fuji Xerox and the Xerox Research Centre of Canada, the 800/1000 range feature a clear ‘emulsion aggregation’ – or EA – ultra low-melt toner to give images a “smooth offset-like finish” and “visual variety”. The toner can be applied to selected areas to make images leap off the page or to create a range of artistic digital effects including watermarks.
Contact: Fuji Xerox Australia, www.fujixerox.com.au
Kodak unveiled a new fifth imaging unit for its Nexpress range at Drupa 2012. The inline UV coating option enables users to produce gold, pearlescent and neon effects to produce an eye-catching finish and “print more jobs for current customers or pursue new customers and markets,” according to the manufacturer. The coater uses TEC Lighting’s TruCoat UV technology and is available either as an inline simplex or inline automatic duplex coater.
Contact: Kodak Australia, (03) 84178000, www.graphics.kodak.com/AU/en
HP Indigo 7600
Unveiled in the run-up to Drupa, this new machine is capable of creating all manner of different digital embellishments, including the ability to create embossed style textured effects and raised print effects by using layers of transparent ink. The 7600 can also create digital watermarks using
a layer of transparent ink and can achieve a number of other eye-catching finishes thanks to the use of HP Indigo’s light black and white ElectroInk.
Contact: Currie Group, (03) 9810 1331, [email protected]
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