Print has been alive in Belp, near the Swiss capital Berne, for more than 120 years. For as the nineteenth century came to an end, the family owned Jordi business was founded, something that is celebrated in the company’s marketing slogan: “Print lives. Since 1897”.
The business today is in the hands of the fifth generation, is a company that employs 95 and is focused on print. Its marketing activities, including web development, were sold in a management buyout last year to WeLoveYou AG, a start up digital agency. Jordi has been able to turn all its attention to print. Not that digital is forgotten – it derives 20% of its turnover from printzessin.ch, an online print platform to transact simple brochures, cards, flyers, stickers and so on.
Today the company employs 95 in design to dispatch. Its product range covers the whole of commercial print: magazines, direct mail, brochures, marketing collateral, perfect bound books and more. This are produced on a long perfecting Koenig & Bauer B1 eight unit press, four colour B3 press and a clutch of digital presses, including a Kodak Nexpress ZX3300 installed in July 2019.
The company was able to replace two older presses with the Kodak machine. These were no longer able to meet customer requirements for reliable quality, nor the printer’s requirement for reliable performance. Production manager Reto Gerber explains: “We were looking for a robust press that guarantees permanently high quality and productivity. The digital print enhancement options that come with the Nexpress's fifth imaging unit were also important to us.”
This can run a light black to improve reproduction of flat tints and gradients which can be a challenge to digital presses, a clear ink to add a varnish like protection to the colour beneath, particularly when used with the optional glossing unit that Jordi has chosen.
The company currently does not have the white, gold or metallic options that Kodak offers, but these are being considered. “We first need to build up marketing infrastructure for these special inks and effects,” says Gerber.
That is happening. In the first five months of operation the digital press delivers 2.5 million sheets and is now, ahead of Covid-19, running two shifts a day. “The main advantage is that today we can offer even short runs in really high quality. That wasn’t possible with the two digital presses we had before, and we’re very happy with the way the replacement went. What’s more, the Nexpress is definitely a productivity booster,” he adds.
Most work comes through the Printzessin portal. The Kodak Nexpress is used for all jobs acquired this way, provided they do not exceed 500 sheets, when production will switch to offset printing, except where personalisation is also needed. Currently the job profile runs between 50 and 200 sheets. These are on a range of paper types and include sheets up to 1,000mm long thanks to a BDT long sheet feeder. This enables Jordi to print six and eight page products or gatefold covers for brochures. A range of customised wall calendars in under development.
The company also runs a sheetfed inkjet press for direct mail applications along with inline finishing. There is a distinct difference between the toner and inkjet technologies. Gerber explains: “If consistent high quality is mandatory, then we go for the Nexpress. The majority of commercial jobs are very colourful and have heavy ink coverage. Even if we could achieve the right kind of quality with inkjet, it wouldn’t be worth printing this jobs on the inkjet press because the ink would be so expensive.”
The printer is also a customer of Kodak on the litho side, as Jordi has run a Magnus Q800 platesetter, delivering Kodak Trillian SP thermal plates for many years. This helped mitigate any concerns in switching supplier for digital printing.
That will only grow in future, Gerber says, as business evolves: “And it’s good that the Kodak digital press gives us plenty of retrofit options for the future in terms of printing speed, substrate thickness and inline print enhancements.”