Julius Solomon, Cape Town’s original fabric label printing company, has upgraded its flagship Xerox Color 1000 (X1000) Press with gold and silver specialty dry inks in response to growing demand for metallic finishing on printed products such as swing tickets and other textile related packaging.
Supplied by Cape Office and Bytes Document Solutions, Xerox specialty dry inks are a family of EA Dry Ink offered exclusively for the Color 800 and 1000 presses. The low-melt inks enable a vast substrate range, including plastics and other specialty stocks, that are only possible with Xerox’s unique low temperature process.
Julius Solomon is an accredited supplier to a number of leading national and international chain stores. Members and brothers Mark and Martin Le Roux, who joined the business in 1989, believe the labelling and packaging of an article have become as important to the buying decision as the quality of the garment.
“Printed and woven labels are still the bulk of our business, but over the years, as the company grew and expanded its product range, so did the type and variety of our printed products,” says Julius Solomon member Mark Le Roux. “Our customers increasingly wanted a one-stop shop, so along with woven labels came custom labels, packaging, swing tickets and promotional material.”
Co-member Martin Le Roux says the company’s emphasis on quality above all else meant equipment was initially limited to expensive litho printing presses for their unmatched versatility and print quality.
“We were predominantly a litho shop because, until recently, you just couldn’t replicate the accuracy of colour registration on a digital press,” says Le Roux. “We do a lot of finishing, not only printing but also embossing, foiling and die-cutting, so registration has to be 100 per cent accurate. We tried several different digital presses over the years but nothing came close to what we could achieve on litho.
“Then about three years ago we discovered the Xerox Color 1000 digital press and have literally never looked back,” says Le Roux. “It was so good and so successful that it’s replaced three separate litho machines, and our printed product range has expanded significantly to offer the low-volume, high quality products that are made possible with Xerox’s industry-standard digital printers.”
More recently the company was approached to include silver and gold finishes, primarily on swing tickets but increasingly on other printed packaging.
“The X1000 is one of the only digital presses on the market that’s expandable with native metallic dry inks and clear inks, which gives companies like Julius Solomon a big advantage over other printers that still rely on specialised and expensive litho printers and finishing equipment for their metallic prints,” says Cape Office’s Graham Geddie. “The same advantages of digital printers extend to prints made with these specialised inks: speed, accuracy, and comparatively low cost per click.”
“For products like swing tickets, where we get orders for large quantities but short runs, digital printing makes far more sense, and the quality is on par with anything we can get from the litho printers,” says Mark Le Roux.
“Many of our clients work on short lead times and therefore demand is never easy to predict. With the digital press we can support them with short runs of variable data prints – x-amount of different size labels and swing tickets on-demand. They also often come back to us with shortages for random items, which we can put on the X1000 and print overnight without a problem.”
Martin Le Roux concurs: “The new metallic inks have added real value to our business and only affirmed what we already knew – the Xerox Color 1000 is a perfect fit,” he says.
“We can now migrate lucrative foil stamping applications, such as invitations, certificates and business cards, to short-run, high-value digital production,” he says. “Multi-pass printing with clear ink adds an extra textural feel and the silver and gold inks give the products a luxurious, refined feel. Most importantly, the backup and support we get from Cape Office and Bytes is second-to-none.”