Founded in 1980, Typecast Colour operated as a typesetting house until forming a long standing relationship with litho print specialist Principal Colour in 1997. With Typecast handling pre-press and Principal Colour looking after litho print operations, the two companies continue to work out of the same factory unit in Kent.
With an annual turnover of around £1 million in commercial print and reprographic sales, Typecast produces a wide range of products including greetings cards and annual reports. Using both offset and digital equipment, the company services a range of clients from publishers and design agencies to end users, all of whom expect consistently high quality.
When Typecast’s incumbent plate supplier of 15 years announced it was increasing its prices, Typecast decided it was time to benchmark the supplier against others and, as a result, became the first company to invest in Fujifilm’s Platesense programme. Six months after starting to rent a Fujifilm plate processor and Superia LH-PJE thermal low chemistry plates, Typecast is now enjoying multiple benefits and has no regrets about the move.
“We had a good relationship with our previous plate supplier, but after it increased its prices, we decided to explore other options.” says Chris Stainton, Co-owner of Typecast. As part of his research into alternative suppliers, Stainton visited Fujifilm’s UK showroom in Bedford and was impressed by the range of high quality equipment Fujifilm was able to offer. “Having seen Fujifilm’s plates in Bedford last year,“ he says, “we decided to carry out a comparative test and ran the same job on plates from our existing supplier and then on Fujifilm plates, with the latter producing higher quality output. Bearing in mind that the press was set up for the plates from our existing supplier, we were even happier with the outcome and it gave us the confidence to make the move to Fujifilm.”
Following discussions with Fujifilm, Stainton then decided that the most cost-effective supply option would be Fujifilm’s new Platesense programme. Typecast therefore signed up to a three year contract to rent a processor and pay for the 11,000 plates per year, all for a nominal monthly fee, eliminating the capital expenditure required to invest in a new processor and providing a consistent and predictable cost.
“The transition was seamless and cost us nothing, as the installation and maintenance of the equipment are also covered by the fee,” continues Stainton. “Not only did Fujifilm install the processor, but they also had to open up a doorway in the pre-press room to accommodate the machine and put in an extra door. And they even installed a water pump as our previous system had been processless.”
Typecast’s experience of working with Fujifilm has continued to be positive: “When moving over to any new product,” says Stainton, “you anticipate that there are going to be some teething problems, but we’ve had absolutely no issues at all and the press operators love the Fujifilm plates – they’re cleaner, more durable and deliver better print quality due to a sharper dot on the plate. When the plate goes on the press, it is more receptive to ink and dampening. When viewed individually, these improvements are relatively small, but, when put together, they add up to a significant benefit – something Dave Brailsford, the British Cycling coach, refers to as ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’.
“Our three year contract also safeguards us against increases in the cost of aluminium and, in fact, allows us to make a cost saving as we know the plate price will be held for the next twelve months. And as Fujifilm takes care of the developer change and offers a processor clean at least twice a year, we no longer need to manage this process ourselves, saving us further costs and time.
“Most of our clients expect fast turnarounds at competitive rates. Our ability to reliably deliver this is how we retain our clients. We’re confident that our partnership with Fujifilm will enable us to maintain this standard. The support we received throughout the sales and installation process was superb – everyone was very approachable and supportive. I’d definitely recommend working with Fujifilm – they understood our needs and have addressed them with the Platesense programme. We see Fujifilm as a long-term supplier and think that they will be able to support us with other exciting technologies as our business expands.”
Andy Kent, National Sales Manager, Fujifilm Graphic Systems UK, says: “Chris and his team at Typecast were a pleasure to work with. We’re delighted to have completed the first Platesense installation in the UK and to have received such positive feedback already. We’re pleased to have been able to help Typecast save both time and money, while helping the company continue to deliver value to its customers. We look forward to expanding our relationship further as its business grows.”