The latest generation of digital presses proves that digital colour print can be consistent, between presses and across continents and without the need for shuttle diplomacy between participants. This opens the way for colour critical brand focused marketing material to switch to a distribute and print model.
Mono, internal communication and non colour critical work has been passed between machines for some years, and project based links between partners exist based around the same, usually Indigo technology. Hubcast has built a network of printers based on the idea of regular calibration and colour management.
Now Gelato, a Norwegian print management technology business, has demonstrated that colour accuracy can be delivered via the Cloud, using HP Indigo’s PrintOS Media Locator app to manage colour across presses and locations.
This was demonstrated at GraphExpo last week where a number of posters from printers in five locations could be compared alongside each other. Two were from printers in Germany, one from a US company, one from France and from Elanders in the UK. The set of posters was printed either on Indigo 10000 B2 presses or Indigo 7800s. The images were identical.
It opens the way for Gelato customers to print across any member of the network, allowing the Cloud application to manage the fingerprinting of the media to be used and matching this with the colour profile of the press, a mark of improvements in consistency that the technology has achieved.
So far Gelato's network is using Indigo or iGen equipped printers, including G&H and Elanders in the UK across the 50-strong network. There are four approved members in the UK currently. The Norwegian company began as Optimalprint in 2007, becoming Gelato in 2012. Among the key investors is UK VC business Dawn Capital.
“HP Indigo colour technology enables the independent printers in our global network to reach the colour standard we need and to keep consistency between print runs, presses and sites,” says Fredrik Andersson, Gelato COO. “For Gelato this is business critical since our customers require the same results everywhere and anytime.”
Henrik Müller-Hansen, founder and CEO, adds: “We founded the business eight years ago on a very simple premise, that companies and individuals across the world would want their materials printed as close as possible to where they are needed. With 400,000 printers globally, we see our mission as routing print files from all over the world intelligently to the closest printer.”
The customers are selecting standard products in the main, not unlike the majority of online print sites, covering business cards, flyers, brochures, leaflets and so on. Consequently, printers joining the network need to have binding and lamination as well as stitching, fold and guillotining alongside the digital presses.
They all need to be respond to get products to the specified location within 48 hours. This is key to the proposition. Gelato is targeting clients operating across a spread of countries with a message which stresses the reduced environmental impact of printing close to the point of need rather than printing and shipping from a central location.
One of these customers is Zehnder Group which operates from 18 sites across Europe and the US and had previously printed marketing material in Germany and then shipped these to where they were needed, taking time as well as creating carbon miles.
Now the company prints in 11 countries, has cut its inventory and can keep content fresh. Delivery times have come down by 10-12 days, carbon miles by 87% and emissions by a calculated 81%. It has also halved the time spent managing print.