One Stop Shop - Litho and Digital

Twenty five years ago L&S Printing started up with a mere four employees and a two-colour press. Since that time L&S have grown considerably in terms of the scope of its business, its equipment and its premises.As far back as 1987 they added their first computerised presses. Today in 2007 their five factory warehouse units are positively bulging with all manner of printing equipment from 10-colour litho machines to the very latest Indigo digital presses. Since the word go they have had a policy of re-investment which has given them a range of printing hardware which is second to none. Twenty-five years in the business has taught them that customers look to them for service - and they have made that one of their strongest points. Being able to supply customers with everything from a single large-scale exhibition poster to 80,000 colour brochures certainly helps. L&S have this year added a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM102 10-colour perfector press. This model is the latest technology but what does it mean to their customers?Quicker turnaround than ever before. The SM102 can print 64 pages of A4 in full colour per second, which means that when you are involved in a long print run, it can turn round an amazing 26,000 sides per hour. Image and colour control is top of the range. Printed sheets are automatically scanned and compared to the proof or first sheet printed and the colour data is then fed back into the press to ensure colour accuracy and consistency during the run. This high tech device is a real 'green machine' with special in-built features to make sure that there is no wasted ink or paper. Digital v LithoNow that digital printing has the same quality and finish as the more traditional litho press, the decision of which method to use has become more of a grey area. The main consideration is still quantity and cost, but problems that let down digital in the past have now disappeared and the advantages of speed, spot colours and personalisation are dramatically increasing the volumes of digital work being produced at L&S. So what is the real difference? What are the pros and cons?Digital Printing: advantages over litho
• Cheaper per copy for short runs
• No plates and minimal set up cost
• Personalised printing
• Very quick and no drying time required
• Proofs are exactly the same as the finished job
• Jobs can be printed 'collated', saving time and money on finishingHowever you need to be aware that:
• Sheet size is limited to oversize A3
• Cannot print metallic or fluorescent inksLitho Printing: advantages over digital
• Cheaper per copy for higher quantities
• Higher printing speeds
• Larger sheet sizes, (up to B1)
• Metallic or fluorescent inksHowever, compared to digital:
• More costly per copy on short runs
• Last minute corrections may require new plates and therefore additional costs"I used to pride myself on my ability to immediately tell the difference between what was printed litho and what had been run off a digital press. A recent visit to L&S and a guided tour of the latest Indigo technology however forced me to revisit my long held opinions. I could not tell the difference! Especially as the latest digital press lets you print on a much wider variety of paper stocks than (in my supposedly expert opinion) I had ever imagined." MH, Art Buyer, May 2007

Keep it personal!We all like to see our name in print and by using a client's Excel or other database programme L&S can print material in conjunction with their HP Indigo 5000 colour presses to add that personal touch to clients marketing material. There are a huge variety of ways to add personalisation to a document and be really effective in adding interest to any communication. In short, it is something you could easily be doing if you wanted to communicate with your own customers and add a personal touch to surprise them. As part of the L&S marketing campaign they send regular communications to their client database using this format (see examples). This is a fun way of keeping in touch with customers whilst promoting the use of their print and personalisation facilities.With their own in-house warehouse finishing and mailing facilities they will match your address labels to your personalised printed material. Of course they can print the address details for you as well!Personalisation is a fantastic marketing tool and it can really help your business. Visit www.ls-printing.com, or email marketing@ls-printing.com for details.