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Courier installs second HP T300 Inkjet Web Press

Sep 23, 2010 12:00 AM


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Courier Corp. has purchased a second HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press, extending a successful HP T300 operation that produces offset-equivalent books on coated and uncoated papers.

Installed in March, the first HP T300 digital press now operates three shifts a day, five days a week at Courier to meet surging demand among educational publishers that use digital printing to improve profitability on textbook titles at lower run lengths. The press has also helped Courier slash supply chain costs for its own Dover Publications line of trade books.

"There's real money out there for publishers using the HP T300 because it reduces inventories, reduces obsolescence and frees up working capital," says James F. Conway III, chairman, president and CEO, Courier Corp. "Publishers are starting to manage their titles with a mind toward total cost instead of unit cost, and have discovered there can be a significant amount of savings associated with making digital print part of a title's life cycle."

For Courier, North America's third-largest book manufacturer, the HP T300 provides access to complementary publishing market segments that the firm's extensive web offset print operation cannot reach. The excellent reliability and high uptime Courier witnessed in its first four months running the press led the company to purchase a second HP T300 scheduled for delivery this month.

"With the success Courier and other book manufacturers in North America and Europe achieved this year using their HP T300 presses, 2010 has become the point in time when high-volume digital production sparks a positive transformation in the mainstream market for printed books," says Aurelio Maruggi, vice president and general manager, Inkjet High-speed Production Solutions, HP. "The reliable, productive, end-to-end workflows HP is selling and installing today are having a real impact, and Courier's decision to continue growing with a second HP T300 order underscores that fact."

Courier's digital printing operations – which include an HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press used to print covers and a SigmaLine binding system from Muller Martini – benefits publishers by minimizing the waste, warehousing and upfront capital investment that come with offset printing's minimum run-length requirements. Removing minimum run-length barriers, in turn, expands the number of printed titles a publisher can affordably produce.

The HP T300 production line has lowered overall costs for many current titles Courier prints on uncoated paper for its Dover subsidiary. Plus, the HP T300 is generating new revenues by making it cost-effective for Dover to re-publish 85 out-of-print titles.

For textbook work, a segment where Courier serves leading educational publishers, Courier uses the new Utopia Book Inkjet 45-pound paper from Appleton Coated. The paper is part of the Utopia Inkjet portfolio of papers jointly developed by HP and Appleton Coated and is customized for high-speed inkjet production.

More recently, Courier has adopted an 80-pound gloss stock from NewPage Corp., giving publishers the opportunity to produce cookbooks, travel guides and other high-quality trade books in lower quantities without relegating those titles to one-off print-on-demand production.

"When we first evaluated the HP T300, we worked with HP to make sure we were getting a solution that allowed us operate at full speed and full capacity on coated substrates," says Stephen Franzino, vice president of technology, Courier Corp. "HP delivered on that promise, and it extends the value that Courier delivers to an even larger set of customers in the publishing world."

Courier has integrated its HP T300 production line into its overall book printing operations. According to Franzino, HP was able to eliminate the quality compromises that existed in the past with digital print, delivering solutions capable of producing a book that "looks, feels, bulks and sells the same as its offset counterpart."

Now, Courier – which also has plans to install a new web offset press – is poised to provide greater flexibility in run-length capabilities, boosting publishers' profit opportunities through carefully executed title management. For many Courier clients, the focus on smarter title management will reduce the large overruns common to first printings that may not sell as well as expected.

Managing the complete range of printing solutions at Courier for the best cost advantage means that titles run on offset when demand truly merits long-run production. For the numerous cases where a title is unlikely to generate high-volume demand, the company's digital production solutions reduce costs and preserve profitability.

"With the T300 production line in place – and with a second one to come – we are taking a leading role in the modernization of the book printing space," says Conway. "Digital printing helps ensure that the printed book is much more competitive as a media option: it lets publishers squeeze out costs related to obsolescence, it allows for a level of customization that is comparable to e-books, and it can deliver superior quality and readability in materials that require rich color content."

Since its first commercial installation in December 2008, the HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press has helped advance digital print from niche to mainstream applications by offering cost-effective, high-volume digital color production. The press prints a 30-inch wide roll with 1,200 x 600 addressable dots per inch four-color-process printing at a speed up to 400 feet per minute.

The HP T300 is one of the most productive digital color presses currently operating in live commercial print environments. The press prints on any low-cost, uncoated paper, as well as on a range of coated media. The HP T300 also offers attractive capital acquisition and operating costs, including the ability to purchase consumables as needed without click charges.

More information about HP Inkjet Web presses is available at www.hp.com/go/gsb.