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Clays of Bungay to Install Fully Automated and Integrated Digital Book Production System from Kodak and Muller Martini


ROCHESTER, N.Y., and ZOFINGEN, CH.- Clays of Bungay in the United Kingdom is investing in a KODAK VERSAMARK VL6000 Printing System and the MULLER MARTINI SIGMALINE to expand its digital book production capabilities and capitalize on revenue opportunities in short run book printing. This integrated system consisting of high-quality, high-speed inkjet printing and fully automated high-end finishing will enable Clays to meet a growing market need and deliver even more value to its publishing clients.

Established more than 200 years ago, Clays is the UK’s leading book printer, producing more than 170 million books per year. The company, part of Europe’s St Ives plc., enjoys international recognition and is the first-choice supplier for many leading publishing houses, including Penguin, Virago and Bloomsbury. Clays already printed several award-winning titles in 2009 such as the Orange Prize winner Home, published by Little Brown Book Group, and the Samuel Johnson prize-winning nonfiction title Leviathan, published by Harper Collins.

“We’re entering a new phase in our business,” said Kate McFarlan, Clays Managing Director. “The market for short run books is growing rapidly, driven in part by increasing online book purchases. Our investment sends a positive message to our customers. Whether the order is for 20 or 20,000 books, we’ll soon be able to satisfy any request. Integrating the KODAK VERSAMARK VL6000 Printing System and the MULLER MARTINI SIGMALINE means we will have a ‘best-in-class’ fully automated and integrated digital production solution.”

Scheduled for installation at Clays in September 2009, the VERSAMARK VL6000 Printing System prints up to 492 fpm (150 mpm) at 600 dpi x 600 dpi and is integrated into the MULLER MARTINI SIGMALINE in-line book production system. The SIGMALINE interconnects prepress with digital printing and finishing in a unique total system. This fully automated production line will provide Clays with a complete solution – from PDF to finished book in a single operation. The end-to-end line control system means the company can produce classroom-size runs or several thousand copies in a short timeframe. The intelligent networking of all of the sub-processes will include digital printing, signature folding, collating, and perfect binding and trimming.

“The KODAK VERSAMARK VL-Series Printing Systems harness the power of digital to drive lower cost of ownership as well as supply chain efficiencies, creating a new business model for book publishing,” said Kevin Joyce, Worldwide Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Digital Printing Solutions, Kodak. “We are excited to provide customers such as Clays with solutions that enable them to capture new growth opportunities and offer more value for their clients.”

McFarlan noted that publishers have remodeled their strategies in recent years to address the trend for online purchasing. Clays has listened to its customers and is quick to review its production models. Digital book production at the company will initially represent a small percentage of its total output, but Clays anticipates significant future growth in this area, enabling flexible and fast on-demand book printing on a variety of substrates. Clays plans initially to produce runs of up to 500 on the VL6000/SIGMALINE, depending on the page count, and expects average outputs of 500 an hour. Clays will also provide storage and distribution to retail and publishing warehouses, as well as to individual book shops.

“We plan to continue expanding our digital production line, so we are very interested in Stream, Kodak’s new, revolutionary inkjet digital printing technology in conjunction with Muller Martini’s scalable SIGMALINE platform. This integrated digital print solution will allow us to go much further than any other digital printing technology. With these kinds of benefits and the scope to grow our business even further, SIGMALINE with Stream is exactly the kind of innovative technology that we could migrate to in the future,” added McFarlan.

“Our long-term relationship with Clays and being their preferred supplier of finishing equipment help us exactly understand the challenges of Clays’ market environment and their needs,” said Dragan Volic, Vice President Marketing and Sales, On Demand Solutions, Muller Martini. “By introducing the MULLER MARTINI SIGMALINE technology, Clays establishes the basis with a scalable technology for their current digital book production initiative and a migration path for the future, no matter at what performance levels and for any kind of finishing styles.”

MULLER MARTINI is an international operation and a market leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a wide range of systems for the graphic arts industry. Their main objective is to develop innovative products and services in line with market requirements to meet customers’ highest standards. MULLER MARTINI has a comprehensive product range: from narrow-web offset presses through press delivery systems, saddle stitchers, perfect binders, hardcover systems, newspaper mailroom systems to digital production solutions. The systems are developed and manufactured in ultramodern production facilities around the globe.

KODAK Products are backed by KODAK Service and Support.KODAK Service and Support is made up of more than 3,000 professionals reaching more than 120 countries. It is a leading multi-vendor integrated services provider, delivering consulting, installation, maintenance and support services for the commercial printing, graphic communications, document imaging and data storage industries. KODAK Service and Support professionals are uniquely qualified to provide services that control costs, maximize productivity, and minimize business risk.


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