Digital Press Doubles Color for State of Tennessee
Back when color printing was seen as an extravagance, the State of Tennessee, like many government entities, tried to minimize it. But as digital printing lowered the cost of color, those restrictions eased, and the demand for color has risen steadily in the Volunteer State.
For the past five years, the state’s Printing and Media Services division has been trying to fulfill this demand with a Konica Minolta bizhub 6500. In that time, color impressions rose from a scant 2,000 a month up to nearly 90,000 a month. But Director Tammy Golden felt there was an opportunity to capture so much more.
“I was seeing a lot of it go outside,” she says. “I wanted to keep that business.”
So in December the 50-employee department installed a Xerox Color 1000 digital press. In addition to being able to handle a greater variety of stocks, the machine has greatly improved the quality of the in-plant’s color output.
“The quality’s just really been exceptional,” she enthuses. “The first sheet looks like the last sheet. Registration’s really good.” So good that the in-plant used the digital press to win a Gold award in the In-Print 2012 contest for the Department of General Services’ annual report.
Quality aside, one specific feature put the Color 1000 ahead of all the other devices Golden and her crew examined.
“The clear toner’s what set it apart,” she says.
The in-plant added the clear dry ink station, which can be used to apply spot or flood creative effects. For example, it can highlight images to make them pop off the page or create artistic effects like patterns and grids, which the in-plant did on a promotional calendar it printed.
The main reason the shop added this option, however, was for security. The state Department of Safety & Homeland Security wanted to be able to use this to print, for example, a clear state seal on badges or passes so they can’t be duplicated.
“The kind of document that they need that kind of security on, they don’t want to send to an outside vendor,” Golden remarks. “They want to do it in-house.”
Since adding the Color 1000, the in-plant has been doing a lot more variable data printing, she says. One such job was a personalized post card reminding drivers to renew their driver’s licenses online.
“It’s got a QR code on it, so they can just, from their smartphone, go on and renew,” she notes.
Since the digital press’s installation, the department’s monthly color volumes have jumped to between 150,000 and 200,000. Jobs include posters, reports, training manuals, and even the governor’s State of the State Address. One new job it’s about to start handling is the state’s business cards. With an average of 20 business card orders a day, Golden estimates this will bring in $100,000 a year in new business.
The in-plant also recently added a Halm Superjet Press and a Contex HD5450 wide-format scanner. It has been using this to digitize maps for Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation.