Inkjet Lets Pekin Insurance Add Four-Color to Statements
Pekin Insurance Print & Document Services has a great reputation inside the company.
“We probably print 98% of the company work in our in-plant,” remarks Judy Graden, print and forms manager.
That includes not only billing and policy statements but also marketing materials and books for the Pekin, Ill., insurance company, located just south of Peoria.
For years the 10-employee in-plant did all this printing with a trio of Xerox DocuTech 180 highlight color printers and a Xerox Versant 80 digital color press. But that all changed in December when the in-plant became one of the first printers in the country to install the 182-ppm Brenva HD, Xerox’s first cut-sheet production inkjet press. Using Xerox Impika inkjet technology, the Brenva HD incorporates the same feeder, frame, paper path and in-line spectrophotometer of the iGen platform along with the stacker design from the Xerox Nuvera. The Brenva HD replaced one of the in-plant’s older DocuTech 180s.
“Historically, we’ve been conservative with technology, but this was one of the few times we’ve been cutting-edge,” says Phil Evans, director of administrative services at Pekin Insurance.
One of the key reasons Pekin went with the Brenva HD was because of its cut-sheet capabilities.
“Since we strictly focus on cut sheet, the Brenva HD made perfect sense for our environment,” says Heidi Hutchison, operations manager. “But, beyond that, we were looking for a modern device that would be able to adapt as our company’s needs change.”
One of those changing needs was the desire to add four-color content to billing and policy statements.
“The four-color [capability] would allow us to add more pizzaz to our billing statements,” notes Graden.
Where previously the in-plant had to outsource the printing of four-color inserts for billing statements, those pieces can now be printed in-line on the Brenva HD. Also, the inkjet press is allowing the shop to pursue higher-volume marketing pieces, which the Brenva HD can print more cost-effectively.
Another advantage of the Brenva, Graden remarks, is that the barcodes it prints on billing statements — which customers mail back with their payments — can be scanned more easily by the billing department than the previous toner-printed barcodes.
“With the toner, sometimes you would get smudging, and it wasn’t always crisp,” she notes, “but the inkjet provides a much crisper barcode.”
Though she says the quality of the Brenva’s output is “very good,” Graden notes that it can’t print on glossy stock, so for marketing pieces that require that, the Versant 80 is used.
Other in-plants that have added an inkjet press have reported that their biggest challenge was finding the best paper for the press. At Pekin, Graden says, this was not a problem. The shop uses the same 20-lb., 8.5x11˝ xerographic copy paper that it uses in its DocuTech 180s.
“So that’s worked out very well,” she remarks.
The one time the shop had issues with the printing of a cover letter for policy statements, Xerox recommended the shop reduce the ink coverage, and the letters have printed well ever since.
The in-plant spent about a year researching and testing the Brenva HD. Staff members visited Xerox’s demo center in Rochester, N.Y., and saw the press at Graph Expo 16.
When the inkjet press arrived in December, it was installed in the in-plant’s new facility.
“Prior to that, we had printers in two locations within the company, and we’ve put that all together and built one complete print center,” Graden says. “It’s also helped our functionality, and the Brenva added to that.”
Beyond the four-color advantages the Brenva HD has brought, the device’s speed (182 letter-size ppm) is also helping the in-plant keep up with rising volumes of policy and billing statements. A three-shift operation, the in-plant prints most of the company’s mailings at night when the print stream is released from the mainframe.
“So that when our mail team arrives in the morning, we have print ready to go out,” Graden explains.
The in-plant’s success so far with the Brenva HD has inspired it to bring more four-color printing into its workflow.
“We’re currently working on a project to change all of our print stream to a four-color process,” Graden says.
This requires reviewing thousands of forms, she says, but she is hopeful that it will result in the in-plant adding a second Brenva HD some time in the future.
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Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.