Sun Media, an integrated digital publishing, printing and design business, has upgraded its Xerox digital colour press equipment to significantly boost volume, improve quality and expand the range of products it can offer its customers.

Sun Media Stellenbosch recently deployed the new Xerox Colour 1000 at its Stellenbosch branch, replacing a Xerox Colour 700 press which has subsequently been relocated to its sister company in Bloemfontein. Stellenbosch-based Cape Office Machines, South Africa’s first authorised Xerox reseller, supplied both machines through its partnership with Xerox distributor Bytes Document Solutions.

Sun Media CEO and MD, Justa Niemand said, ‘As a digital publisher first and foremost, we have very different requirements compared to a traditional publisher, print room or copy shop. For example we put a premium on consistency and colour accuracy, to the point where even a small alignment shift or change in the colour from print to print becomes a serious issue for our products and customers.’

Sun Media Stellenbosch was founded in 2003 in partnership with Stellenbosch University, which remains its core client. In August 2007 it privatised the University’s print centre, and continues to provide the University with most of its printing services. At the same time, the business has expanded from high-end digital publishing to also offer a wide array of diverse products and services from flyers and booklets to fully-bound books and premium-quality annual reports.

Niemand said one of the downsides of digital publishing, when compared to offset printing, is the comparative cost for higher volumes. ‘In the past we’ve had to outsource some of our work to offset printers due to high click costs, colour consistency and limitations of equipment,’ she said.

‘With the Xerox machines most of our work is now designed, printed and bound in-house, making us one of the only digital publishing companies in South Africa to offer this integrated service. When you’re outsourcing you’re just another number and are at the mercy of your supplier, whereas with our own equipment – and the backup and support we get from Cape Office Machines we can give our customers the high levels of service they expect from the increase in quality and product range.

The Xerox Colour 1000 boasts a powerful print engine capable of running 24/7, and features an integrated design that accommodates two 2000-sheet media trays capable of handling both lightweight and heavyweight stocks from 55-350gsm at speeds up to 100ppm. It also features advanced colour calibration software for more accurate colour output at high volumes, and a new dry ‘clear’ ink technology for high-quality spot colour applications without the expense of additional lamination.

‘The most important part of our service is understanding the customer’s business before we even start to talk technology,’ said Cape Office Machines Director Marco Ortelee.

‘Media is a completely different business to a digital printer; their requirements are different, as is our approach, set up, machine calibration and support. As such the features of the Colour 1000 that benefit them most are different – from the automated web updates that reduce downtime to the clear-ink technology that results in publications with a unique flair and finish.’

Since going into production in Stellenbosch, the Xerox Colour 1000 has boosted production volume by more than 20 percent, while SUN MeDIA Bloemfontein – servicing a much smaller market – has seen its output increase more than 24 percent with the introduction of the Xerox Colour 700. The range of products both companies have been able to offer has also increased.

‘We’re able to say ‘yes’ to a much broader range of products, especially with the introduction of the Xerox Colour 1000,’ said Niemand. ‘From the number of different page folds to the outstanding quality and finishing options, this machine has taken our work to the next level in terms of speed and quality at high volume.’