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The On-Demand Option

(January 2011) posted on Tue Dec 13, 2011

High-speed presses for direct-marketing output.

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As a consumer, you might hate to see it, but as anyone running a business knows, direct marketing can have a positive influence on sales.

And, direct and personalized printed mail continues to be a large part of the pie when it comes to direct marketing. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), although most forms of traditional direct marketing remain stagnant or below peak levels, direct-mail expenditures grew nearly five percent in 2011 versus 2010 – reaching just over $50 billion overall.

If you’re interested in bringing direct mail and similar one-to-one marketing jobs in-house, there’s no better tool for this type of work than a high-speed digital press. These super-fast “on-demand” presses are capable of producing 4-color postcards, fliers, posters, brochures, and more, and many of these units can accommodate variable data, enabling the printed matter to be truly personalized. Many of these presses can produce highly individualized pieces – each page may contain personalized graphics, text, charts, and headlines.

When considering adding an on-demand press to your operation, check to see which types of high-speed variable jobs your current customers (as well as top prospects) are in need of. Examine the frequency and length of the runs, the type of media/substrates they need, and the variety of finishing services they’ll require post-output. All of these factors will help steer you to the type of high-speed press that can accommodate their printing needs.

We’ve assembled a list of manufacturers of high-speed on-demand presses currently on the market, and present a sampling of each company’s roster here. The machines we list offer at least 4-color output and many offer variable-data capabilities; typically, other machines or model configurations are also available (see each company’s website for more information).

Agfa’s Dotrix Modular is a 6-color (CMYKOV, with optional white/varnish) UV single-pass machine that offers a 25.6-in. print width and 300-dpi resolution (900-dpi apparent). Capable of hitting a top linear speed of 104 ft/min, the Dotrix accommodates a variety of substrates from 20 to 600 microns thick, including foils and cartons. It comes standard with a jumbo unwinder/rewinder. Its modular construction allows for traditional UV flexo printing stations (for coating and varnishing), slitting and die-cutting and sheeter installations to be optionally integrated.