Central Mailing Services (CMS) is set to expand its offering to support a growing demand for long-run naked mailings, brochures and catalogues, in many instances from online retailers, with a six-figure spend on a bespoke, highly flexible inkjet line.
“We’re seeing the rise of the naked catalogue and brochure as people want to put trusted print out into the mailstream,” said CMS director Richard Morrow.
“In fact, I would go as far as to say we’ve seen green shoots of recovery with online catalogues and retailers pushing naked mailings back and starting to really use print again, which is bloody awesome.”
As a result, CMS approached mailing kit specialist and reseller ProMail to help it configure a bespoke solution that will feature the first MCS Eagle 40 inkjet system in the UK.
Morrow said that while traditional inkjet systems were perfect for conventional mailings like postcards, envelopes and wrapped products, when it came to catalogues, which can regularly weigh up to 400-600g, feeding becomes a challenge as does inkjetting onto some coated or laminated cover stocks.
“And we realised the existing inkjet kit we had, while brilliant, wasn’t ideally suited to some of the projects we were looking at,” he said.
“So, instead of looking at a bolt on to an existing machine we wanted an entirely new standalone platform that had a feeder at its base that could deal with shuttle and rotary at the same time, that means we can deal with all sorts of different formats and real heavyweight catalogues and brochures and offer high-quality inkjetting at the same time.”
The MCS Eagle technology is based on Kyocera piezo inkjet heads running water-based inks and with a native 600dpi resolution and 5, 7, and 12 picolitre variable droplet size.
The bespoke £180,000 line is currently being built at the MCS factory in the US. It’s due to be up and running in CMS’s Birmingham site by the end of June.
The system is being built to CMS and ProMail’s “exacting” specifications and as well as an 8.5 inch (216mm) Eagle 40 inkjet system, it will feature a 20 inch (508mm) wide “straight-shooter” servo driven feeder with bulk feeding attachment.
It also includes a bulk ink delivery system, which is part of the firm’s desire to move away from solvent cartridge systems which can negatively impact productivity and costs.
“Clients also want more personalisation, so that means more than just an address, but also a catalogue number, or special incentive or offer, maybe even imagery and you can’t get that quality with a cartridge head,” said Morrow.
While the complete system is bespoke, CMS and ProMail have put the individual elements through their paces with “some absolute swines of jobs”, which Morrow said gave complete confidence it would easily be up to the spec required.
He said it could “comfortably” handle products up to 25mm plus thick, 750g in weight and formats from A6 through to oversize A4 and every variation in-between.
He added that ProMail had been an “outstanding partner” throughout the process.
The latest investment at the 75-staff mailing house follows a circa £1.3m re-equip at its 4,800sqm factory last year which included a second highly specified CMC One paper wrapping line and field upgrades to its existing machine, a CMC 250 enclosing line, Domino inkjetting systems, a Sitma high-speed poly line, a Norpack P9 poly line and Buhrs, CMC and Kern enclosers.
“All of our investments are about driving the growth of print and that’s never been more important with so much change in the market,” said Morrow.