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Digital Color Printing : Delaware Dives into Digital Color

Honored many times for the quality of its offset printing, the University of Delaware’s in-plant has now enhanced its digital print quality with a state-of-the-art digital press.

September 2009 By Bob Neubauer
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TUCKED INSIDE a nondescript brick building at the edge of campus, the University of Delaware’s Graphic Communications Center has brought a lot of favorable attention to the university in recent years. The quality of its offset printing has earned the in-plant numerous awards, including two Best of Show honors in the In-Print contest. 

Now the 19-employee in-plant is bringing the Fighting Blue Hens into the spotlight once again by becoming one of the first in-plants to install a new Xerox iGen4 digital color press. 

Unveiled at Drupa, the iGen4 brought several improvements over the iGen3, including auto density control, auto carrier dispense and an inline spectrophotometer. The results have been noticeable to Manager Rodney Brown.

“The quality is far superior to what we were getting before,” he remarks. In particular, colors are more consistent now than what the in-plant was achieving on the Xerox 7000 it previously used, he says. Solids come out much nicer too.

“We run a lot of solids,” affirms Jo Ellen Rathbun, Copy Center supervisor. 

“Quality-wise, you’re sneaking up really close to a press,” adds Brown. 

He’s comfortable enough with the quality that he plans to move at least half of the shop’s two-color offset work to the iGen4, along with about 25 percent of the four-color work. 

The iGen4’s quality was put to the test right away with its very first job, a postcard that had already been run on an offset press but needed to be rerun due to a change. The customer, Brown says, couldn’t tell the difference. 

The in-plant plans to continue pitting its iGen4 against offset presses by bidding on some State of Delaware jobs that have traditionally been printed offset. This is not to say that the in-plant is abandoning its sheetfed presses. Its five-color 20x28˝ Komori Lithrone 28 is as busy as ever, Brown says, and will be needed for years to come. 

An Easy Choice

With more than $3 million in annual sales, Graphic Communications is a full chargeback operation. It’s located in an 8,900-square-foot facility, in a quiet, residential part of Newark, Del. Brown also oversees a satellite copy shop in the student center. 

The decision to get an iGen4, Brown says, was not hard to make. The cost to lease it was the same as what the in-plant was paying to lease its 7000 and a Nuvera 100. Digital presses from other companies weren’t really an option, he says, due to the buyout cost of the Xerox leases.

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