13 May 2019 Print Companies

Print provider rolls forward with Nexpress

A Swiss print first company has shifted to become a content first delivery company and this is changing the way it thinks about print, and how produces that print.

A print business that can trace its roots to 1488 knows a bit about survival, changing over the years to remain relevant. This business is now known as Medienmacher AG. It is a Swiss company, operating from Muttenz near Basel with 86 employees.

The most recent sloughing of its skin took place on 1 January this year when the separate print, media production and IT division of Schwabe AG came together under the new name. The company is no longer a print first business, but a content first business, delivering multi-channel communications, simultaneously if required.

This means pushing shorter runs, targeted and personalised communications which are received by insurance company customers, tourists and media agencies via websites, apps, and of course print. It is the choice of the relevant channel, the relevant message at the appropriate time.

The business needs to be seamless regardless of the first point of contact and whether the customer wants a website, an app, high quality printed book, brochure or cross media campaign. The bulk of the printing is handled by a five-colour Speedmaster XL106 which was installed in the summer of 2018. This was followed in September with delivery of a Kodak Nexpress ZX3900 digital press.

This addresses the growth in personalisation that the litho press cannot offer as well as the precision printing that stems from the content first approach. The Nexpress is a substantial step forwards for a digital department that had started in a support role in 2011.

Kuno Reinhard, senior business manager in charge of publishing solutions and member of the Medienmacher strategy team, says: “We wanted to invest in new digital printing technology that would allow us to set ourselves apart from competitors in the market with additional enhancement options. Digital CMYK alone is no longer an adequate differentiator. We were also hoping to extend our value chain with this investment. In the old days, we had no option but to outsource much of our print embellishment work.”

The Nexpress has a fifth printing station that can be used for a number of value add colours and effects. The Swiss company can choose between red, green and blue additional colours, a white for printing on darker materials and clear toner for varnish effects or watermark features, dimensional ink for textured effects and gold for further embellishment and product styles.

The press is configured with the long sheet deep pile feeder to cope with sheets up to 356x1,000mm. Medienmacher has taken this a step further with Kodak’s substrate expansion kit to enable the press to print on 0.6 mm boards and a matt fuser roller to lessen any digital print look. “We’re noticing a certain trend toward uncoated papers right now. Thanks to the matt fuser roller, we can guarantee an offset-like look and feel, which to many customers is very important,” says Reinhard.

The company has matched the Nexpress to the PSO certified output the Speedmaster achieves. “It was plain that the results with digital are every bit as good as offset,” he continues. “Its versatility is helping us to respond faster and more flexibly to customer requirements. We’re very happy with the quality we get from the press and also with the ease of handling.

“Another thing we like about the Nexpress is the general sustainability aspect. Advances in the technology don’t automatically mean a new investment is inevitable; instead, we can simply exchange or add individual components. That way, we can plan longer term for the press without being excluded from technological progress.”

By Gareth Ward

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Medienmacher says that the capabilities of the Nexpress fit perfectly with the new focus for the 530-year-old business.

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