Bringing the Bling

Duplo Taps Into Tactile With A New Digital Spot Coater
By Sean O’Leary

As printing markets continue to morph and mature, some existing choices disappear while new opportunities simultaneously arise. While there is no question there is an abundance of stress in the 21st Century printing world, it is also equally evident that things are as interesting as they ever have been for those of the intrepid and innovative persuasion.

To thrive in this hypercompetitive new environment, printers are in the hunt for anything they can do to add interest to the printed product: marketing collateral, packaging, direct mail, business card, invitations and especially labels. With consumers immersed in a veritable Matrix of visual and aural stimuli, printers - and the brands owners they serve - continue to ask: how can we better compete for consumers eyeballs?

Let your fingers do the walking

One approach is to disregard the eyeballs and go for the fingertips. That is, get the viewer to feel something by getting them to feel something.

Something dimensional. Or even better, something textured.

It’s all about embellishment, a concept once relegated mostly to screen printing and textiles. A visual step beyond ink on paper, dimensional enhancement seeks to engage additional senses and create a deeper level of communication. Or a higher level of communication.

In the view of digital equipment manufacturer Duplo, the ability to create dimensionality and specialty finishes can also be a reliable source of greater profit margins and even new revenue. Hence the company’s introduction of the DDC-810 Raised Spot UV Coater, which is somewhat of a departure from its established line of automated post print finishing products.

Developed to add value to flat CMYK printing through spot coating, texturing and tactile effects, the DDC-810 is an inkjet-based printer capable of laying down a range of UV curable varnishes on specific areas of the printed piece.

According to Dan Scheck, National Specialty Finishing Consultant at Duplo USA, the new message is slightly new territory for the company, which has historically focused more on the cost saving economies of its equipment.

“It was recognition of what we hope is a long-term trend of using tactile technologies to stimulate consumer senses that led us to our mantra: ‘Bringing Profitability Back To Print,’” said Sheck.
“It has been a different talk-track for us in that we aren't just asking printers how they want to save money by improving finishing efficiencies - we still do that - but in how they are going to make money for the next 3-5 years.

Scheck also points out that the technology behind the DDC-810 maintains Duplo’s commitment to cost efficiency by offering a simpler, less expensive platform for digital spot coating. The DDC-810 was designed to be simple to operate, with registration based on a CCD camera system, which corrects automatically for page distortion. The operator uploads at PDF or TIFF along with the XML files and sends the job on its way. The DDC-810 coater is rated at 36 ppm for letter size and 21 ppm for ledger size.

Getting the Money

Ultimately, the objective is what Scheck describes as both a tangible and intangible model for profitability.

“The tangible model is in the capability 'up-sell' to the client. The intangible impact is in the printing company's overall increase in sales revenue that occurs when offering clients something new and innovative to drive print demand and improve brand equity.”

Greg Wallace, President of HPGprint in Waltham, Massachusetts and an early DDC-810 customer, is among those seeing the profit potential for digital embellishment. “When I saw Duplo at the show last year, I immediately knew that if we could get that fluid on the page, we would have an real value-added story to sell,” said Wallace. “What I’m finding with the UV, Is that the market is pretty unsaturated, so you can get the money that you want for the print.”


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