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Pandaprint has expanded its kit by becoming the first Scottish printer to take on Heidelberg’s new Versafire EV digital printer.

The Versafire EV has a 'floating' fifth unit for clear or white toner.

Dunfermline-based Pandaprint installed the EV at the end of May and it will run alongside a Heidelberg Linoprint digital printer and a Ricoh Pro 8100S mono production printer. As the EV is based on Ricoh’s Pro C7200 printers, Pandaprint’s new machine will be maintained by Ricoh engineers.

The EV was unveiled in March and has already been taken on by Slough-based Dynamic Print Media, although Pandaprint has installed the first machine north of the border.

Managing director Mark Wilson said: “Digital machines are often not as reliable as litho, so we thought it would be good to make sure we had a back-up by running two colour machines at once instead of replacing our Linoprint. This means we have the increased capacity during busy periods and ensures we do not let our clients down.”

“Obviously there was some trepidation at being one of the first to take on the Versafire EV, and we know there may be some teething issues. But it is good to be out ahead and one of the first.

“It will increase our offering with the fifth unit allowing for clear or white, meaning we can print onto black substrates and, as it can run up to 390gsm paper, we can offer heavier board.”

Replacing the Versafire CV in Heidelberg's digital portfolio, the EV boasts a 'floating' fifth colour capability that allows white ink to be printed onto a substrate before the standard CMYK in a single pass.

The EV can print at speeds from 85-95ppm at A4 size, with resolutions at 4,800x2,400dpi and makes use of automatic inline calibration and inline register to increase stability, precision and quality. It is compatible with Heidelberg’s Prinect DFE, allowing for easy integration into existing workflows.

Pandaprint will use the EV for a range of commercial applications including business cards, leaflets, posters and booklets.

Alongside its digital print facilities, Pandaprint also runs B3 and B2 litho presses from Heidelberg and Komori.

Download the original news article with full specification details of the Versafire EV (pdf)

On the face of it, it's not something that should cause sleepless nights, but if you have little experience in the field finding the right printer can be a real problem.

The first thing you have to do is avoid a knee-jerk decision to go online and select the cheapest option from the proliferation of budget firms advertising their wares on the information superhighway. Yes you might get lucky, but the chances are you will come unstuck. You need to know you are approaching the right companies for a particular print specification.

The fear is that this requires specialist knowledge that many buyers do not have unless they have been buying print for many years. Even if you know what you are doing it can be difficult to make sure you are finding the right supplier and the right price. It can also be an extremely time-consuming process.

Pandaprint Sales Director Richard Brown said: "The printing industry is a minefield these days and it is largely unregulated so anyone can invest in some equipment, set themselves up as a printer and offer cheap prices online, but in this industry as in most others you get what you pay for."

"I have come across many people who have gone down this route and have been incredibly disappointed with the results. The problem with internet print firms is there are some good ones and some astonishingly bad ones and knowing which ones to deal with is half the battle."

"If possible it is better to have a face to face meeting with your printer and if there is an issue you can talk it through until you are satisfied." Experience is a crucial factor and you should also be looking at examples of similar projects to the ones you are seeking a quote for, he added.

A common complaint, especially in small businesses, is that buyers of print are time-poor and they simply don’t have the hours to invest in meeting after meeting until they find the perfect printer.But this may be shortsighted and lead to wasted time further down the road.

Mr Brown said: "It needn’t be that time-consuming. The way it usually works is that buyers normally approach a supplier to quote on a job. The buyer then sets out the specification. The printing company works out a price on their system. They then e-mail their quote back to the buyer who can make a decision."

"They can proceed on this basis or they can have a face to face meeting. We are happy either way but some people take greater comfort by walking round the premises and seeing the technology in action."

"If you have a good technical understanding of print that’s fine, but we have found you don’t need it as we talk you through the entire process from concept to completion."

And ultimately how do you make that crucial decision of choice of printer?

"You really have to look at their back catalogue of successful jobs," said Mr Brown. "Most companies will be happy to show you this. If they are reluctant to do so you should avoid them like the plague. The reputation of a good company is also key so you should ask to see endorsements from happy clients – and make sure they are real names, real people, real companies."

"It’s amazing how many people are taken in by recommendations which are, shall we say, dubious in the extreme."

"It’s a big decision and you have to make sure you get it right – so do your research, look at their work and talk to them. This will pay dividends in the long term."

For more information go to www.panda-print.co.uk
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