Digital Press Conundrum

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
Hi all - just signed up and this is my first post, although I've been lurking in the wings for months and have spent many hours reading - predominantly the Digital Printing and Binding/Finishing forums.

Our situation - for years we have had machines from the KM Bizhub 'office' range - currently a 454e, prior to that a 554. We have the machines on an 'all inclusive' click agreement, where we are paying a higher click charge, but no lease charge and no capital investment. For the past four years we have run between 600k and 700k clicks on these machines.

For a while now we have been more than aware that we are pushing the capabilities of the 454e way beyond what it is designed for and, in fairness, cannot fault the machine, however the time has come to look at better options going forward. Having had good experience with various KM machines for 15 years and liking the workflow, initially we started to explore the production machines from KM.

After some research, we've narrowed options down to look at picking up a new 3070/3080, if we can secure a good deal, alternatively look to pick up a low mileage 1070/2060/2070. From what I've read, it appears the 1060/1070 was a positive turning point for KM, following the rogue 8000.

The PF-707m vacuum feeder will overcome the problems we have with bruising and other feeding issues with coated stocks. Where we currently have to tinker with the second side in Indesign to get accurate registration, will become a thing of the past, as will the curling issues we can get on the 454e with heavier stocks.

Looking at the financials, we would purchase outright and look to offset depreciation against click savings. Using indicative numbers, based on current volumes, this breaks even in year three, so all good, especially as this is a conservative estimate and with added capability, there should be growth, not included in the sums.

There is however one bombshell - our current cmyk volume is very low in relation to our overall clicks (mono clicks account for over 90% of our monthly 50-55k clicks. We have been told by KM that whilst the machines in the office range just print whatever is thrown at them, this would be seriously problematic to a colour machine from the Production range, resulting in quality & reliability issues, colour banding, etc.

We do not have the space, budget or volume for a separate colour and mono press, which KM suggested as a solution. Nor are we going to get into splitting the same job across two machines and post sheet inserting - this would be a very retrograde step.

Whilst we can always look at the alternative providers, at this stage I'm very interested in peoples' real life experiences and views on running low cmyk volumes on a colour machine. In essence, I'm trying to establish if there is a genuine production issue here, that would cause us problems... or where the 'real' issue is a customer doing >90% mono isn't very sexy for the support vendor. We have been told we must work to a target of 60% cmyk / 40% mono for a 3070/3080 to be suitable for our needs.
 

pippip

Well-known member
Unfortunately from my experience the sales rep is correct, you will run into problems. We have Xerox and we have run into quality issues after long volume mono runs.
 
Last edited:

msaeger

Well-known member
or where the 'real' issue is a customer doing >90% mono isn't very sexy for the support vendor

I think it's some of that but I think it depends on the model of machine too.
 

Puch

Well-known member
We've been doing a lot of similar jobs on a KM C1085, for many years. The jobs were black and white books with yellow accents on 15% of the pages. As to our experience, there was no downside of that production pattern. Of course, the C1085 is a different beast than a C1070, but I think the C1070 must be capable to do that.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
We've been doing a lot of similar jobs on a KM C1085, for many years. The jobs were black and white books with yellow accents on 15% of the pages. As to our experience, there was no downside of that production pattern. Of course, the C1085 is a different beast than a C1070, but I think the C1070 must be capable to do that.
Hi Puch - since you mentioned this I was researching other comments on the C1085, as I have seen a refurbished one advertised, which could be of interest. However I note on this thread you had a rogue C1085 - may I ask, was this the same machine that you were running the predominantly mono jobs on? Just that the issues you have described seem to match what KM are warning us about. Thanks.
 

bcr

Well-known member
We print about 60/40 b/w to colour clicks but in reality it's mostly b/w with some colour elements - mostly office docs.

Been shopping for production engines and was considering a colour and b/w machine and splitting the loads across the two. Ricoh were not in favour of that and said historically the clicks on b/w were much lower and hence separate machines being preferable but less so now. We looked at c5210, c7200, c9200 - and they never mentioned the problems you refer to. Not sure if this is of any use tho.
 

Puch

Well-known member
Hi Puch - since you mentioned this I was researching other comments on the C1085, as I have seen a refurbished one advertised, which could be of interest. However I note on this thread you had a rogue C1085 - may I ask, was this the same machine that you were running the predominantly mono jobs on? Just that the issues you have described seem to match what KM are warning us about. Thanks.
It was the same machine, but the problems it developed were not related to the BW printing. That was a 'damned' machine right from the start. After major repairs, part replacements, KM replaced the whole machine, eventually. The 'new' machine (actually a 4 years old C1085) was good, our only concern remaining was the somewhat 'noisy' look on flat tints.

For your production envelope a good old C1060/C1070 might be a better choice, though. That machine is a pinnacle of KM engineering, never heard of any troubles with them. Well built, dependable equipment. The only downside is the chemistry of the toner, which need a very good pick of foil, if you need to laminate the printouts.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
@Ynot_UK , I used to be a production specialist for KM (I now work at a print shop with KM gear). What they are telling you is true to a point...however I have some clarifying points/thoughts to offer. Your volume equates to roughly 13,500 per month (650k divided by 48 months). This is a very low volume for a production machine in general. The C1070/2070/3070 line is easily capable of 50,000+ per month. That being said, 90% mono doesn't really concern me if you are breaking it up with color in between runs....meaning, if you run 12,000 mono straight without ever doing some 4C, it would be a problem. But if it's 2,000 mono, then some color, then another 2,000 mono, then some color, you'll be fine.

When you run only mono the other 3 drums (CMY) can have developer and toner build up issues. This happens with any brand as some others have already attested to in this forum. In my area, Ricoh was going after accounts like yours saying the customer could run a color machine like a mono machine for long runs without any issues. One shop bought into that idea and regretted it after his first long mono run (this was a C7200 series).
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@Ynot_UK , I used to be a production specialist for KM (I now work at a print shop with KM gear). What they are telling you is true to a point...however I have some clarifying points/thoughts to offer. Your volume equates to roughly 13,500 per month (650k divided by 48 months).

Hi @jwheeler, I was hoping you'd appear on my thread, as I have read many of your other posts with great interest and your current & former roles mean you know the game from both sides, which is invaluable.
To clarify though, (re-reading my OP, it's worded somewhat ambiguously) our total volumes for the past four years have been 634k, 711k, 612k, 716k respectively.
Every third month we do between 100k and 120k clicks, whilst the quieter months are usually around 20k to 30k
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
Hi @jwheeler, I was hoping you'd appear on my thread, as I have read many of your other posts with great interest and your current & former roles mean you know the game from both sides, which is invaluable.
To clarify though, (re-reading my OP, it's worded somewhat ambiguously) our total volumes for the past four years have been 634k, 711k, 612k, 716k respectively.
Every third month we do between 100k and 120k clicks, whilst the quieter months are usually around 20k to 30k
Thanks for clarifying. That does make quite a difference. You mention coated and heavy stocks in your original post...can you expand more on that? Are those used just for color impressions while the b/w is all on 20# bond or similar? And what is the media's gsm? Any in-line finishing involved?
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@jwheeler - you're spot on - the heavier uncoated and coated stocks are for the full colour jobs.
Virtually all the B/W work is on 80GSM bond, usually with a 160GSM B/W cover.
We also do up to 10k B/W clicks on diecut A4 label stock most months.
We do some 2/4-hole punching inline and occasional stapling.
We have a good range of offline finishing equipment, so would only want basic finishing on a Production machine.
The peaks every third month that I mentioned do consist of one job which is >80k mono, which normally takes 5-7 working days including offline finishing. There will be a few CMYK jobs interspersed over those peak weeks, but only small jobs and perhaps after the machine has done 30k mono clicks non-stop. That's why I cannot fault the 454e because it works non stop 12+ hour shifts during those peaks, way beyond what it's designed to do.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
Ok, that's what I was thinking because we do the same at my shop. I have a completely different suggestion for you to consider that will cut down your production time significantly and save you money on the CPC's. KM has a entry level b/w production engine called the Pro 1100. It offers a finisher called the "GBC Punch G2". This unit will punch the coil holes 2 up on an A3 (far left edge and middle of the sheet) so you have two stacks already pre-punched when you cut to A4. This will save you all of the time and hassle of punching offline and trying to keep everything in order. Additionally, the printer is 100ppm instead of your current 55ppm, so print time is cut in half. Lastly, the production machines usually charge A3 clicks as a single click while your C554 is charging two clicks...and the CPC is normally lower on a production b/w machine in general.

So overall, you'll save money big time on CPC's as well as manual labor. I'd recommend the FS-532 finisher and PK for the stapling and 2/4 hole punching, along with the PI-502 post inserter so you can place bright-colored slip sheets in between the books to easily separate for binding. Depending on the thickness of the backing board, you may even be able to place this as the slip sheet if your paper supplier sells it in A4.

(FYI, I have the GBC Punch G2 on a KM 6136 printer in my shop and it's been a game changer for us since we do lots of coil bound training manuals for our customers)

This still leaves your color printing. With the mono work now out of the equation, something like a C554 (I think the newest model is called the C558) might still be a good solution for your low volume. If the heavy/coated stocks and duplexing is really enough of an issue, then of course a used C1060/C1070/C2060/C2070 would be a huge improvement over your C554. Otherwise a new C3070 is awesome, and if you run everything 2-up you'll keep your CPC costs down because all production units charge only single click for A3.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
Ok, that's what I was thinking because we do the same at my shop. I have a completely different suggestion for you to consider that will cut down your production time significantly and save you money on the CPC's. KM has a entry level b/w production engine called the Pro 1100. It offers a finisher called the "GBC Punch G2". This unit will punch the coil holes 2 up on an A3 (far left edge and middle of the sheet) so you have two stacks already pre-punched when you cut to A4. This will save you all of the time and hassle of punching offline and trying to keep everything in order. Additionally, the printer is 100ppm instead of your current 55ppm, so print time is cut in half. Lastly, the production machines usually charge A3 clicks as a single click while your C554 is charging two clicks...and the CPC is normally lower on a production b/w machine in general.

So overall, you'll save money big time on CPC's as well as manual labor. I'd recommend the FS-532 finisher and PK for the stapling and 2/4 hole punching, along with the PI-502 post inserter so you can place bright-colored slip sheets in between the books to easily separate for binding. Depending on the thickness of the backing board, you may even be able to place this as the slip sheet if your paper supplier sells it in A4.

(FYI, I have the GBC Punch G2 on a KM 6136 printer in my shop and it's been a game changer for us since we do lots of coil bound training manuals for our customers)

This still leaves your color printing. With the mono work now out of the equation, something like a C554 (I think the newest model is called the C558) might still be a good solution for your low volume. If the heavy/coated stocks and duplexing is really enough of an issue, then of course a used C1060/C1070/C2060/C2070 would be a huge improvement over your C554. Otherwise a new C3070 is awesome, and if you run everything 2-up you'll keep your CPC costs down because all production units charge only single click for A3.

Thanks for your thoughts on this @jwheeler, I do appreciate your time and thoughts.

The initial enquiry we made with KM for a 3070/3080 was triggered by:
  • the frustrations we are having with colour jobs on other than 80GSM bond - bruising/feeding of silk stock and the fact that every time we do a run on coated stocks over say 2k, it runs into jamming issues and needs a service call.
  • inaccurate registrations, whilst 1mm is not noticeable on the A4 mono booklets we produce that have large white space margins, it is very noticeable on business cards, for example.
  • the curling on stocks >100GSM by the higher fuser temperature that a non-Production level machine runs at. As you'd expect, this is compounded when single side laminated, such as on picture post cards.
  • the ability to use more adventurous substrates, such as gloss white self adhesive film, these samples of which arrived today.
The automatic duplexing and running of heavier weight stocks at more acceptable speeds on a C3070 would of course be great, however these aren't show stoppers on the C454e.

Perhaps my predicted BW/CMYK % split was too conservative because I have based this only on history, with no allowance for an increase in colour jobs by having an awesome machine to run them on. There are jobs we sub out with content to within a couple of mm of the cut, which we could confidently do in-house on a C3070. These jobs, together with the ability to switch some currently vinyl jobs (up to SRA3) onto dry toner film, would of course all increase our CMYK % Taking the B/W volumes out of the equation, we'd still begin with an under used C3070, nevertheless a very capable device, so perhaps not an issue. In any case, the C3070 would still do all the B/W work with spot colours.

If we can secure an incredibly great deal on a 3070, we may be able to also stretch to a refurbished 951 with low mileage (if such an animal exists - the second hand B/W presses I've seen do tend to have high counts on them, although I'm unsure of their design life count). Though I guess 7m on a machine rated for 20m life is OK, whereas 5m on a colour press rated for 6m life is not so clever. Having two production machines will be interesting with our limited square footage, although if there's a will, there's a way! If we can buy SRA3 B/W clicks on a B/W machine at 0.28pence (indicative figure suggested by KM) instead of the 0.60pence we would pay for B/W clicks on a colour machine (which incidentally is also what we currently pay for SRA3 on the C454e), we would save just over £2,000 per annum on mono click charges.

For GBC punching, thanks for your thoughts, maybe something for the future, but at this stage we'd likely keep the offline process. However, having the post inserter add the backing board is interesting - we make these ourselves, cutting 275GSM Ensocoat C1S board down from SRA2 to A4 - so we'd just cut it to A3 instead. Could the inserter also add the 200micron PVC front cover?

Lots of food for thought here.
 
Last edited:

jwheeler

Well-known member
If you get the C3070, you would definitely be able to stop outsourcing printing.

As for the covers on the books, technically the post-inserter top tray is rated up to 300gsm...but that 275gsm C1S can be pretty stiff and it needs to do a sharp turn from the PI tray since it's on top of the finisher. If the grain direction was correct, it might work, but I'd recommend placing them in another drawer in the vacuum feeders and setting up the job to insert them as blank covers in the print settings. Assuming the front cover is clear, we've only been able to successfully run that if we buy the ones with the peel off white strip. This gives the printer a detectable edge and we feed it through the vacuum feed drawers. But with the added time of manually removing the white strips, I don't think it would beneficial for you. We actually print on the clear PVC covers for one of our customers with our C6085.

Out of curiosity, why do you want to keep punching the books offline? FYI, the GBC Punch G2 is available on the color production machines as well. And the "G1" version was available on the 951's. It could only handle A4 sheets, not 2 up punching on A3.
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
If you get the C3070, you would definitely be able to stop outsourcing printing.

As for the covers on the books, technically the post-inserter top tray is rated up to 300gsm...but that 275gsm C1S can be pretty stiff and it needs to do a sharp turn from the PI tray since it's on top of the finisher. If the grain direction was correct, it might work, but I'd recommend placing them in another drawer in the vacuum feeders and setting up the job to insert them as blank covers in the print settings. Assuming the front cover is clear, we've only been able to successfully run that if we buy the ones with the peel off white strip. This gives the printer a detectable edge and we feed it through the vacuum feed drawers. But with the added time of manually removing the white strips, I don't think it would beneficial for you. We actually print on the clear PVC covers for one of our customers with our C6085.

Out of curiosity, why do you want to keep punching the books offline? FYI, the GBC Punch G2 is available on the color production machines as well. And the "G1" version was available on the 951's. It could only handle A4 sheets, not 2 up punching on A3.

@jwheeler, thanks for this.
Inserting the back boards and PVC covers manually after cutting isn't such a big deal and you're right about the stiffness of the C1S board, particularly when turning it. The 160GSM tinted front covers negate using slip sheets for separation.

My thoughts in keeping the punching offline at this stage are based on space, budget (I recall list on the .2475 oval 4:1 die set for the Magna was several thousand pounds, so imagine a G2 with oval die set would likely be upwards of £6k). But moreso, our Magnapunch operator is a family member who's made an art of using that machine in terms of accuracy, speed & servicing over the past decade! So in our (perhaps fairly unique) case, automating that aspect wouldn't save any labour costs at this juncture. Of course if we were paying someone by the hour to operate the Magnapunch, moving the punching to in-line would be a no brainer and would more than save the year one depreciation in year one, and so on.

In summary, I think we need to explore, probably in this order:
  • How sexy a deal we can secure on a new C3070. There's a lot in our favour ATM - the time is right since new machine sales will be slow post Covid-19, we're in a position to purchase outright and I understand KM need to clear their worldwide supplies of C30nn machines in advance of the launch of the C40nn machines, which are ready but with launch pushed back to 2021 because of Covid and 30nn machines to be shifted first.
  • Consider the above (preferred) option alongside a refurbished low mileage C1060/C1070/C2060/C2070 or possibly C1085 I've seen. Financially, new vs refurb may not make a significant difference, since only 25% depreciation gets charged to the accounts each year.
  • Keep a look out for a 951 (or similar short configuration 1252) to move the B/W volumes on to. Whilst I'm familiar with the timeline and rated click life of the colour machines, I'm not so with the B/W machines, so would be interested in this. Am I right in thinking the 951 and 1252 are the newest discontinued B/W units, and if so, when were they discontinued? What's the rated click life on these B/W machines? I understand the colour machines rated click life is rated 6m (1085 20m) and am mindful of not wanting something ancient, where availability of parts and consumables may become an issue in the next 3 years.
  • Rearrange production space to see what we can really fit in the space!
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
@jwheeler, can you advise what the rated click life of the Pro 951 B/W machine is? Also, how long ago were these discontinued?
I don't think I've ever seen a manufacturer post a rated click life for a machine. They can go for 10's of millions if you take care of them and replace parts. And to correct your previous post, there is no 1252, there was a 1052 (105ppm) and a 1250 (125ppm). While the 951 may look similar, it is a lower amperage engine and will not print on coated sheets, plus it doesn't offer vacuum feed like the 1052 and 1250...but it is still a very reliable unit. The Pro 1100 replaced the 951 around 2018...and it still doesn't support coated sheets. KM manufactures parts for a minimum of 7 years after last year sold. The 1052 and 1250 were replaced about a year after the 951 (in 2019) by the 6120 (120ppm) and the 6136 (136ppm).
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
The Konica rep quoted the C10nn/C20nn/C30nn series have a rated click life of 6m whereas the C6085/C6100 have a rated life of 20m
Indeed as you point out, there are plenty of people, certainly running C1060/C1070 machines with much higher mileage.
@jwheeler thanks for the insight on the B/W machines, I guess a short configuration 1052 would be the machine to find a nice low mileage refurb of, to move our bulk B/W onto. Although >95% of its work would be on 80GSM bond with uncoated 160GSM covers, there are B/W jobs we do on silk/matt.
 

Canon Research

Canon
ENHANCING THE PRINT CUSTOMER CONNECTION
Delivering Client Experiences That
Build Competitive Ad-vantage


Download the White Paper

   
Top