Xerox Colour 1000 makes Asset Print the only digital-to-litho shopfront in Cape Town
When you first step through the unassuming doorway on Loop Street in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD you don’t expect to find a full service, high-end print shop inside.
In fact, the warm welcome and colourful array of quality-crafted products suggest a meticulously-run small family business, except Cape Town’s Asset Print is one of the largest of its kind in the city.
Equipped with a new Xerox Colour 1000 (X1000) digital colour press on one side -recently acquired from Cape Office Machines – and a large-format lithographic printing press on the other, Asset Print is today the only walk-in printer in Cape Town offering a full digital-to-litho printing service from one location.
“Looking back on how we got here, it’s incredible how far we’ve come since I took the chance opportunity of buying unused printing equipment and setting up a small commercial printing business from my lounge in Lansdowne,” says Asset Print director and co-owner Michael Fortuin. “Today we print and ship products all over the country for some of South Africa’s largest and most famous brands.”
Within six months Asset Print had outgrown the Fortuin’s lounge and moved into larger (and more expensive) rented factory space. The business quickly acquired more staff, equipment and printers – including its first Xerox machine, a DC252 – and in less than four years had outgrown its new home as well.
“With more than 20 years’ experience as a qualified photo lithographer and desktop publisher, I knew I wanted to take the business to an even higher level,” Fortuin recalls. “By chance I found a vacant building on the high street and immediately saw it as the future home of the company.”
Since then the steady flow of customers wanting full-colour business cards, flyers, leaflets, books, posters and banners has become a torrent of walk-in, corporate and online customers wanting high-volume high-quality products. Asset Print acquired its first volume digital printer, the Xerox 700, to help meet the demand, but even then found it difficult to keep up with customer expectations for ever-faster turnaround times.
“We got to the point where our digital service was capped at around 1000 A3 pages per print run before economics dictated we move a job to the litho press,” says Fortuin. “That was a definite ceiling on where we wanted to go, and we needed to find new ways of breaking through that ceiling if we were going to take the business to the next level.”
Cape Office Machines director Marco Ortelee says the Fortuins (Michael and his wife and Asset Print co-owner Natasha) have built a business from the ground up that’s always in demand, with growth potential that is really only limited by the hours in a day and capacity of its printers.
“The Xerox X1000 opens up a whole new market opportunity on its own. Suddenly the business can produce colour-managed digital runs of 20,000 sheets, meaning higher volume at lower cost, with turnaround times reduced from three to four days to a matter of hours,” notes Ortelee.
With its Xerox Dry Ink technology, 2400×2400 dpi engine, and A3-plus media support up to 350 gsm in twin 2,000-capacity trays, the X1000 redefines what’s possible from a digital colour press.
“Unlike other machines that slow down with thicker media, the X1000 maintains its full 100 PPM print speed even with the heaviest stock,” says Fortuin. “This gives us incredible flexibility when it comes to the products we can produce, from thick-set annual reports to thousand-page books and covers. In fact, to give you an idea of how effective the machine has been for us, it’s already clocked more than 110,000 clicks in its first month of operation.”
Fortuin is mum on the next growth phase of the business, saying only “the sky is the limit”. As a 100-per cent black owned, Level 1 BEE company, the business is equipped to offer larger corporates and government agencies – many of which are headquartered within blocks of its premises – a comprehensive printing service for almost any imaginable product within today’s stringent business guidelines.
“We’ve also just invested in a complete FOGRA-certified colour management system, so corporate customers can be confident that the colour they see in their high-end proofs is the same colour that appears on their business cards, flyers, banners and glossy magazine advertisements,” he says.
“There’s literally nothing we can’t print, at any price point, and as fast as the customer needs it. Freedom of choice is probably our biggest asset.”