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Dundee City Council goes digital

28-07-2015

The decision was recently taken at Dundee City Council to change a traditional litho print department to an all-digital operation.

It was, of course, far more significant than “out with the old in with the new”. The out of town building, which had proved difficult at times to access, was certainly blessed with space and good ventilation: two aspects that the new facility in Dundee House was less likely to provide in abundance, meaning a change of approach.

The space issue suggested a move towards digital, and an analysis of the work being undertaken by the operation also suggested that litho was less likely to be the way forward: typical run lengths of less than 2,000 copies, with only the occasional city wide distribution job requiring a significant production run.

Following evaluation of the potential solutions, Xerox D800 digital printing was chosen as the hardware to produce the printed paper, whilst a collection of post-press products were to be provided by UK manufacturing company Morgana Systems.

The move was completed in August 2014, and the team of one supervisor and three reprographic experts are now settled into their new surroundings. Production has made the significant adjustment from litho to the all-digital solution, with Gloria Gibson, IT Operations Team Leader helping to steer the team through these major changes. “Digital offers us so many advantages for the vast majority of the work we produce,” commented Gloria.

“Yes, we do have the occasional longer run work to produce throughout the year that is particularly suited to litho production rather than digital, but local litho print businesses are available to offer very competitive rates in these few cases.”

For the majority of short-run work being produced digital hits the spot: “The quality of print from the Xerox machine is excellent – even our highly experienced printing staff are impressed with it. They have adapted admirably to the new equipment, and their skills and knowledge are still invaluable: digital might be sold as “push button” production, but experience is still invaluable,” said Gloria Gibson.

The new finishing kit joined up with one of those typical pieces of Morgana equipment that so many finishing departments can’t live without: a numbering and perforating machine, dressed in orange, dating from the early 1990’s! “We still can’t find anything better for those awkward tasks, and as much as managers in the council would like to believe we can live without numbering and perforating, reality says something different.”

New Morgana equipment in the suite provided by the UK’s leading manufacturer of post-press products for digital production includes a bookletmaker for crease, stitch, fold and trim production of booklet work. Added to this is the new Morgana Square Fold unit, producing a publication that has the appearance of a perfect bound product. “Booklet production on this system is phenomenal,” said Gloria. “Printed sheets in, completed booklets out, and at a terrific production speed. The square back finish just adds a very professional edge to the publication.”

The DocuMaster Pro machine is capable of delivering up to 1,560 books per hour, or producing up to 5,000 sheets per hour in crease only mode. The system can handle pre-collated sets in sizes of up to 2,700mm x 720mm x 1185mm, and because of the creasing capability, it will not crack the book’s spine or the highly visible centre page spread.

The Morgana DocuFold Pro fully-automatic, suction fed, folding machine is a valued member of the finishing team, and ideal for the fast and accurate folding of brochures and leaflets. Ease of operation is a huge bonus to the department – simply enter the sheet size and fold type on the DocuFold Pro SmartScreen and the machine automatically adjusts the fold plates and delivery rollers electronically. “These machines are so simple to set-up,” confirmed Gloria Gibson.

That vital component of every post-press operation, the guillotine, was also included in the package: an EBA 5560 product provides a smaller format than the previously used product, but again space was the driving factor. “We simply couldn’t fit the old guillotine into the area, and some other previously used equipment needed ventilation, so that was also not going to be possible to move here,” confirmed Gloria.

Print at Dundee City Council has certainly entered a new era, but with a full suite of new highly productive equipment it is focused on providing the widest possible range of printed communications to its customers.

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