Christmas is just around the corner. Personalized attention and cards are an important part of emotionally charging the anticipation in both the private and business spheres. Printing companies with innovative applications whose offerings cover a wide spectrum are the ones in demand here. The digital printing systems from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) – the Primefire 106 , the Versafire , and the Gallus Labelfire – make it possible to create personalized and customized printed products whose creativity and quality make them stand out and hit home.
Door by door – 24 days of joy with personalized Advent calendars
colordruck Baiersbronn has been producing their Advent calendars since 2005, using offset printing on Speedmaster presses. In 2009, the packaging service provider, which operates throughout Europe, set up a new “Packaging Service” division and started filling the calendars with appropriate goodies and shipping them themselves. Three years ago, they added the “Packaging Digital” division, which offers innovative packaging starting at run length one and up with the online shop “Design your Packaging”. “Our customers have been able to order customized Advent calendars from our web-to-pack shop since 2018,” explains CEO Thomas Pfefferle. “This means that both private and business customers can compose personalized greetings that go down very well as a touching gift. We are thrilled by our customers’ creativity and their positive feedback.” Production has doubled compared with last year, enabling colordruck Baiersbronn to acquire new customer groups (increasingly also in the B-to-B segment).
Printing takes place on the Primefire 106 with a grammage of 350 g/m2. “We like the large B1 format, the high consistency and reproducibility of the color, their luminosity, and the wide range of materials,” says Tom Streefkerk, Head of Packaging Digital. The B1 format enables colordruck Baiersbronn to use die-cutting tools in postpress that were previously also used for offset printing products.
In addition to digital printing, the company also produces premium packagings using offset printing on four of the most recent generation of highly automated Speedmaster presses. “Our relationship with Heidelberg is based on partnership and constructive exchange,” explains Thomas Pfefferle. “Together we have turned the interaction of offset and digital into something with real potential for the future.” Integrating offset and digital printing has enabled colordruck Baiersbronn to become more flexible and greatly increase its efficiency for all run lengths.
Christmas mailings on their way
The Berlin-based printing company Magentur specializes exclusively in digital printing. Established in 2002, it now has ten employees. “We do everything the large online printing companies don’t do,” explains authorized signatory Gideon Dopslaf, who took over the business from his father and has already been managing it successfully for six years. Its customers include agencies, artists, and art students, who have particular requirements for embellished and high-quality print applications on a wide range of materials. Magentur was also the first printing company to be represented at Berlin Fashion Week, and since then has also partnered with companies in the fashion industry. Around half its orders is the day-to-day business of paperback and hardback books, while the other half is personalized and customized products. “Especially at Christmas we produce a lot of mailings for B-to-B customers with an individual approach, like postcards with a discount code or vouchers,” says Dopslaf. The run lengths here are between 10,000 and 50,000. In the last two weeks alone, over 150,000 postcards have been produced. A big proportion of these were produced on the Heidelberg Versafire, whose impressive features include the high application diversity with five spot colors, such as white and coating, the banner function, and the brochure finisher.
One of the print shop’s key customers is the innovative start-up MyPostcard. Using an app, customers can design their own postcards with their own pictures, or choose from a number of layouts, and have the postcards dispatched immediately after printing. “Holiday greetings are somewhat simpler, but especially at Christmas it’s more about expensive folding cards, which are then sent in an envelope,” says Dopslaf. 10,000 cards a day are not unusual, and that figure doubles again in the time before Christmas. “The Versafire has shown itself to be a reliable workhorse. Compared with other digital printing systems it can process a wide range of substrates, is easy to operate, and offers very good value for money with consistently impressive quality.”
What the agency really likes is the close and reliable cooperation with Heidelberg, which Dopslaf rates as very good on all counts. “If the orders continue to go as well, we’ll consider investing in a Versafire EP in the next one to two years,” says Dopslaf in outlining the company’s future plans. The folding cards in particular have grown by 20 percent over the last five years.
Time for a treat – labels for Christmas and winter smoothies
The hybrid label printing system Gallus Labelfire gives label printers and converters the flexibility to combine conventional printing and finishing methods like flexo printing, screen printing, and cold foil embellishment with the possibilities of UV inkjet digital printing. At the Labelexpo Europe 2019 show in Brussels, Belgium, Gallus demonstrated how to print fully variable data using the Gallus Labelfire. The “Your Smoothie” campaign featured a self-adhesive label whose design changed during the printing process depending on the type and quantity of ingredients, with the result that each label was different from the one before it. Label samples for Christmas and winter smoothies were also produced as examples.
“Industrial Variable Data Printing” is also possible as standard with the Gallus Labelfire. This enables even very small batch sizes or printed products with growing demand such as barcodes, 2D codes, or serialized as well as personalized labels to be printed using the Gallus Labelfire.
The modular design - from substrate to the finished label - means that the Gallus Labelfire can be easily adapted to individual requirements: from a digital-only press to a fully equipped hybrid one, the Gallus Labelfire can be equipped with the entire range of conventional finishing and embellishing options. This includes e.g. primers, spot colors, security or coil foil elements, varnishing or lamination.
The Gallus Labelfire was exhibited at Labelexpo with the integrated Digital Embellishment Unit (DEU). Self-adhesive labels can now be varnished, embellished, and finished inline on the Gallus Labelfire using the inline converting processes specifically optimized for digital printing. This contrasts with the many digital label printing machines on the market, which are only capable of digital printing and need a downstream process to finish the label. Thus, the digital printing of finished labels guarantees faster production times in conjunction with less liner waste.