University of Essex Adds DI Press, CTP

Chris Lewes, general manager of Print Essex, stands next to his in-plant’s new Presstek 52DI press.

At the beginning of 2011, the in-plant at U.K.-based University of Essex, in Wivenhoe Park, rebranded itself as Print Essex. The 13-employee shop then strategically targeted a broader range of customers including those in the commercial market.

To support this expansion strategy, the in-plant installed a Presstek 52DI digital offset press and a Vector FL52 chemistry-free computer-to-plate (CTP) system.

“We needed to ensure our pressroom could cope with the wider range of work that we will be targeting,” explains General Manager Chris Lewes. “At the same time we had to increase productivity and work more profitably. The Presstek 52DI meets all these criteria.”

The Presstek 52DI replaced a four-color Hamada. Lewes cites the environmental benefits of waterless printing as well as color accuracy and print quality as reasons for getting the press.

“With the 300-lpi and FM screening, the final result is comparable to anything you would find on a much larger, more expensive litho press,” he notes. “The fast make-ready and throughput is also exceptional, and we are producing significantly more work per day. The 52DI is the perfect press for us.”

Since the press was installed, production has been smoother and faster.

“The system just eats work,” boasts Lewes. “It’s perfect for the commercial market we’re moving into, where customers want everything yesterday. It has also reduced overtime.”

The range of work completed on the Presstek 52DI also impressed Lewes.

“It’s equally happy producing short runs or jobs that are 14,000 long,” he says. “It is a very productive press.”

The in-plant’s new Presstek Vector FL52 small-format, chemistry-free CTP was purchased to support the shop’s two-color Hamada B3 press.

“We wanted the whole operation to be more environmentally sustainable,” explains Lewes. “Previously we were using plastic plates, which were very good, but switching to the Vector and metal plates eliminates the need for chemicals and means we just rinse imaged plates with tap water before printing. That also reduces our costs, as we don’t have to buy the chemicals and pay for their disposal.”

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