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Epic Print expands colour printing business with Altron BDS and Xerox

Epic Print, the largest digital printing shop in Cape Town’s coastal village of Muizenberg, has installed a new Xerox Versant 180 Press from Altron BDS, greatly expanding its colour printing and production options and introducing new efficiencies and colour quality controls.

The small sidewalk print shop has grown significantly since it was first opened in 2008 and has been under the management of owner Philip Mason since 2017. It mainly serves small businesses and walk-in customers from the immediate area, along with many of Muizenberg’s established schools and colleges, and a thriving local artist community. Epic Print specialises in producing books, reports, pamphlets, business cards, flyers, folders and other stationery, as well as a steady line of fine art print reproductions.

“We’re one of the few established digital printers in Muizenberg and have fierce competition not only on the Peninsula, but further along the highway to town,” says Philip. “Given we had an end-of-life colour printer when I first took over the business, priority was to replace it and get us up to the level where we can not only compete on an even footing, but also surpass what others were doing and expand our customer base even further.”

Philip identified the Xerox Versant 180 as the ideal choice of platform, not only for its versatility and future upgradability, but also for the support and personal service from the Xerox and Altron BDS teams.

We had a good look at the market and felt that the Xerox offering in the Versant was the best fit for Epic Print

“We had a good look at the market and felt that the Xerox offering in the Versant was the best fit for Epic Print. In addition to a superb machine, Xerox and Altron BDS offered a level of expert consulting that matched our needs”.

The Xerox Versant 180 combines a 2 400×2 400dpi engine with a 1 200×1 200dpi 10-bit RIP, and an advanced Compact Belt Fuser that provides just the right amount of consistent heat and pressure for any given stock at full print speed. It supports stock weights from 52-350 gsm at up to 80ppm, and can easily manage a wide variety of media including envelopes, 26-inch banners, polyester/synthetic, textured, coloured, custom and mixed-stock prints.

Fully automated

Featuring Xerox’s Simple Image Quality Adjustment (SIQA) for perfect front-to-back registration, the Versant fully automates inline finishing options, including full bleed booklets.

“It’s a really easy machine to learn and does the one thing right that you just can’t get wrong in this business: colour accuracy,” says Epic’s lead print operator Shakira Parker-Steed.

“So smooth has the transition been for us that we get to discuss business development and production techniques instead of speaking to the printer technicians every other week, as was the case previously,” says Shakira. “That means we can focus more on what we do best, servicing our customers, and less about making sure the machine does what it’s meant to.”

Epic Print is currently in talks with Xerox and Altron BDS about the Performance Package options for the Versant, which adds a powerful combination of process controls and Xerox’s Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS) with an X-Rite Inline Spectrophotometer to deliver fully automated colour management and the highest possible print quality.

“You need to be looking ahead to how you can help your customers better communicate their own products and services through print,” says Altron BDS’s production press specialist Bryn Whithair.


“High-quality, low-cost digital prints are a given in today’s market, so growing companies like Epic Print need to be on the front foot to get ahead and stay ahead in an increasingly crowded market like this one,” he says. “Do that right and your customers won’t go anywhere else because they’ll always know what they’re getting and can get everything they need from one place.”

Philip agrees: “Looking ahead, we don’t anticipate any major new capital outlays, but rather getting out there, getting new customers, increasing the business we already have with existing customers, and becoming more confident in what we can offer,” he says.

“We’re also partnering with other Xerox customers like Hot Ink, who can produce more advanced products specifically for our customers with their Xerox Iridesse and are talking to Altron BDS about integrating Xerox’s web portal into the business to give customers direct self-service access to the Versant. It’s another step towards a complete end-to-end workflow system for our business, which can only add to the value we’ve already received.”

About Altron Bytes Document Solutions

(ABDS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. BDS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

Township reader campaign to uplift poor

A project has kicked-off to provide free readers to be used for teaching children in the townships neighbouring Stellenbosch that are mired in poverty.

The main objective is to break the cycle of poverty that has been gripping these communities for generations.The chosen path to do this is by promoting literacy, maths and science skills.

In partnership with Stellenbosch University, that will render volunteer students and tutors to roll out the campaign, African Sun Media will devise, design and print these readers so that the disadvantaged pupils can effectively address the literacy crisis that is endemic.

“The initiative was launched today, Thursday July 18, to honour a great South African on what would have been his 101st birthday, but will be a sustainable and ongoing partnership between ASM and Stellenbosch University,” says Nirode Bramdaw, managing director of ASM.

Koos Ligtenberg, divisional director of Bytes Document Solutions, says: “We are delighted to partner with ASM on this very noble endeavour that seeks to change the lives of the less fortunate in society.

“To this end, we will provide ASM with printing for their philanthropic efforts. This will complement our co-sponsors who have kindly donated paper for the project,” he says.

“Aside from its core objective of combatting poverty via literacy, this initiative by ASM brings together the various and varying efforts of the faculties within the university so that the impact we make, will be targeted and sustainable,” says Dr Gillian Arendse, deputy director, Stellenbosch University centre for student recruitment and career advice.

Students, tutors and academics, who would like to take part in the programme, can contact Marlene Joubert on media@africansunmedia.co.za



Blitsdruk impresses with the Xerox Iridesse

As part of its ongoing commitment to continuous advancement in digital production technology, Blitsdruk, a longstanding and valued Xerox customer, has announced its investment in the Xerox Iridesse.

This announcement was made at the Blitsdruk Iridesse Launch, attended by over 80 guests. Blitsdruk is an all-round print design service printer in George and the Garden Route, and after 15 years as a Xerox user, has once again reaffirmed its confidence in the Xerox brand.

The Xerox Iridesse investment is in line with an increase in demand by customers for more vibrant colour-finishing techniques. This is also in response to the continued growth in digital printing technology, as more advancements are being made in the industry.

“The Iridesse is a game changer,” says LJ Rossel, owner of Blitsdruk, “printing six colours in one pass. We can now offer complex printing with greater productivity and the highest image quality. It is a great addition to our existing Xerox digital range and a greater return on our investment.

“Given the continual growth and progress of George and the Garden Route, Blitsdruk has always endeavoured to stay ahead of digital print technology. The purchase of the Xerox Iridesse Colour Press is an example of this commitment, and the introduction of metallic gold, silver, white and clear digital printing is a welcome first for the Southern Cape.

“Our clients have come to expect a very high standard, and Blitsdruk delivers every time,” says Rossel. “Blitsdruk has also enabled its customers to differentiate themselves by adding a Web-2-Print facility to its services and is creating additional value by opening new revenue streams for its customers’ businesses.

“We can meet all our customers’ requirements by giving ultra-HD resolution and unmatched value. With the increase in customer demand, this investment will not only allow Blitsdruk to increase our capacity to handle the work flow, it will also allow us to add more brilliance to our clients’ work.

“I am confident of the growth that the Xerox Iridesse will generate for our business and know that this year is going to be one of great opportunity”, adds Rossel.

The Xerox Iridesse Production Press combines the value of highly automated, agile digital production with exceptional image quality and jaw-dropping embellishment effects, making it easier to unleash the potential of print and achieve remarkably brilliant results.

While its four-colour print quality is outstanding, it’s only the beginning of what the Xerox Iridesse can do. This is a press that is built to run up to six metallic colours, a rainbow of iridescent palettes to create stunning brochures, postcards, catalogues and posters that truly sparkle.

Commenting on Blitsdruk’ s investment, Brent Farndon, Member: Xerox Southern Cape (Copy X Business Solutions), who sold the Xerox Iridesse, says: “We are proud to have the loyalty of Blitsdruk and will continue to work hard to achieve the goal which unites us to them: achieving excellence together.

“This new production press provides Blitsdruk with the potential to offer enhanced digital printing in-house and increase its capacity and capabilities. It signifies the company’s intent to be a pioneer in the digital production space in the country and on the continent. Forward-looking businesses like Blitsdruk can see that adding value and differentiation makes great business sense, both for the company and its clients, and puts it at the leading edge.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Blitsdruk and seeing them benefit from the Xerox market-leading technology.”

The Xerox Iridesse Production Press has won a top prize at the 2019 European Digital Press Association Awards, taking home the EDP Cut Sheet Printer Award for Innovation in Digital Production.

Branders Printing Co. boosts future business confidence with Xerox Versant 180 and Xerox D95

Branders Printing Co, a family-run business, has reaffirmed its confidence in the Xerox brand, with its recent purchase of the Xerox D95 light production printer.

This follows the very successful installation of the Xerox Versant 180 over a year ago. These Xerox devices were purchased from Xerox Business Partner, XBC-IT and Altron Bytes Document Solutions (BDS).

Since the installation of the Versant 180, the business has more than trebled its existing volume, increasing turnover by a substantial 35% in six months. The Xerox D95 continues to support Branders’ phenomenal growth trend and did an impressive 700 000 impressions in just over two months from installation.

What started out as a hobby to help reduce costs for his parish resulted in the start of a small printing business. With the support of the church congregation and Branders’ commitment to the local community, the business continued to grow.

Three decades later and under the leadership of the founder’s son, Branders is still growing, thriving and committed to making a valuable contribution to its customers and communities. Today Branders is a fast-growing digital print business, and a positive example of growth in the South African print industry.

Francois Branders, CEO, summed up his print and supplier requirements as follows: “Speed, cost-effectiveness and advanced personalisation were our key requirements. We need printers that can offer personalisation and customisation with fast turnaround times. We decided on the Versant 180 because of its production capabilities, its quality and reliability. The Xerox D95 is specially engineered for print-intensive environments and has proven to be an excellent choice to guarantee fast and professional print runs.

“The Xerox products and the Altron BDS teams met all our requirements and more. The result is an expanded service offering with a wider range of quality digital print products at competitive prices. We operate in a highly competitive industry and it is critical to keep up with technology. Our business growth from our Xerox printing solutions have justified our investment.

“We have become the go-to option for our customers who see us as an indispensable business partner.”

Francois Branders describes the quality of the Xerox products, and the service from Altron BDS, as phenomenal and incomparable. “Our Xerox products are bringing greater efficiencies to our production. We are increasing productivity, reducing costs and exceeding our customers’ demanding expectations. We can print more pages now than what we could do previously on cheaper competitive devices, but we are now able to print faster at a lower cost while maintaining a higher quality.”

He emphasised the importance of his customers, saying they “strive to always satisfy customers with a personalised approach. We work closely with our customers and try to guide them to use the latest technology to improve quality. We have been able to integrate high-productivity print solutions into our workplace very seamlessly and are attracting new customers.”

He described service as a critical factor. “Without the service,” he said, “it doesn’t really matter what machine, model, or product you have. If it is not maintained, your business cannot succeed. I am very pleased with Altron BDS’s service and support. James Carruthers, XBC-IT’s account manager, and BDS’s Barry Hasleham are trusted advisors to us and have become part of the Branders family. We do have the winning combination, and we know that we can always count on Xerox’s renowned dependability and superior performance.”



Lithomaster boosts revenue with new Xerox printers

Durban-based commercial litho and digital print business Lithomaster has boosted its revenue and growth with the purchase of two new Xerox printers: the Xerox Versant and a Xerox D125. This investment has enabled the business to grow, while reducing operating costs and increasing output.

Lithomaster first became a Xerox customer in 2011, when owner Ashley Sewpersadh bought two Xerox DC 252s, a Xerox 4112 and two Xerox C70s, from Xerox concessionaire Xerox Digital Print Specialists (XDPS). XDPS has since been acquired by Xerox Business Partner, Xerox Document Network (XDN), making XDN the largest Xerox partner in the KZN region.

XDN has expanded its own growth and market share opportunities by leveraging the rich Xerox and Altron heritage and providing a broader set of services to existing and new customers across the entire region. This strengthens XDN’s position to add value to customers and to further help its customers transform their business operations.

Lithomaster has remained a loyal customer since, growing its business and increasing their customer base.

“We have been a happy Xerox customer for seven years,” says Sewpersadh. “XDPS introduced us to Xerox and opened a whole new digital revenue stream for our business. The quality of service we have received over the years has been exceptional and was critical to our buying decisions.

“Xerox products are outstanding, but it’s the excellent support that we received from XDPS and now XDN that makes all the difference to the devices performance.”

Year-on-year, Lithomaster’s digital portfolio has grown by between 20% and 25%. In the first year of its digital offering, the company was producing 12 000 A4 colour documents per month; currently, its output exceeds between 80 000 and 90 000 A4 colour documents monthly.

“The introduction of digital printing has been a real boon for our business,” says Sewpersadh. “Prior to our Xerox introduction, we couldn’t offer short print runs, nor could we meet clients’ demands for colour variable prints. Now we have evolved into a one-stop shop with fast turnaround times and exceptional quality. In today’s environment, it is vital to be able to complement litho with digital printing. Clients get what they want when they need it, and they have grown accustomed to receiving the exceptional customer service we are known for.”

He credits Mervin Archary, sales director at XDN, for ensuring Lithomaster didn’t get left behind in the digital revolution. “Mervin convinced us to take the leap into the digital space. Our first purchase was at entry-level, and the quality was exceptional. Our two machines delivered 140 pages per minute, and because we had a pair, we were able to deliver on clients’ needs even if one went down. This convinced us that Xerox was the best solution for our business.

The Xerox Versant press is a future-proof investment in performance, quality, versatility and results, making it an excellent investment for any print business. Lithomaster acknowledges that Xerox has always exceeded its clients’ exacting demands for colour consistency, variable data printing and in-line numbering, as well as to print on a wider variety of media, including matte and gloss coated papers, 350gsm card and long sheets. The digital capability of the Xerox Versant also makes it possible to speedily produce proofing documents for litho print jobs, creating additional opportunities for the business.

“Lithomaster is producing higher quality jobs faster, on more media types and with powerful automation for better output and less waste. It’s a press that allows print shops to boost productivity and add quality and variety to their offerings,” confirms Archary.

The Xerox D125 printer is ideal for all high-volume black-and-white printing, delivers maximum speed and versatility in minimal space, and comes equipped with the capabilities print companies need to thrive in diverse environments. It’s especially adept in transactional workflows and accommodates high volumes at an extremely productive speed, while processing transactional data streams. Excellent imaging quality ensures a good presentation and accurate representation of important information.

Hot Ink brings ‘wow’ factor to Cape Town with Xerox lridesse

Cape Town’s premier high-street digital print and design specialist Hot Ink has brought the ‘wow’ factor to digital printing in Cape Town with the city’s first Xerox Iridesse production press from Altron Bytes Document Solutions (BDS). Hot Ink is renowned for providing the highest quality digital printing and design services in Cape Town’s competitive corporate CBD market, and is the go-to studio for many of the city’s designers, artists, advertisers and smaller print shops. The newly released Xerox Iridesse, which replaces the company’s previous Xerox flagship, the Xerox Color 1000 Press, raises the bar once again, giving Hot Ink’s clientele an extra level of quality and versatility.

The Xerox Iridesse opens new production-level application opportunities, including clear, silver, gold and white dry inks, in addition to CMYK. It raises the bar on media type, extra length and density support, print speed, colour calibration technology, and numerous other enhancements that make the Iridesse the new industry standard for high-end digital printing. Co-founders Nic Johnson and Lisa Saville believe the extra dimensionality of the Iridesse makes perfect sense for the company’s client base.

‘Our success is built on the twin principles of loyalty and quality, both of which resonated with us when we were first introduced to the Iridesse by BDS,’ said Johnson. ‘We enjoy a 21-year partnership with Xerox, and while there may be one or two alternatives for high-end embellished printing on the market, when the Iridesse was launched there was nothing else that came close to consideration.’Saville added that the Iridesse also made sense from a production perspective.

‘The Iridesse allows us to create more variation for our clients, such as gold and silver layers under and not just over CMYK colours,’ she said. ‘Support for thicker media also increases our options, especially for premium business cards, folios and packaging, and the Iridesse is a much faster machine as well, with extra trays that potentially allow us to queue five jobs in a row and walk away knowing they’ll be perfectly produced.’

Sporting an improved ultra-high definition engine with a combination of 1200 x 1200dpi x 10-bit RIP rendering and 2400 x 2400dpi x 1-bit print imaging, the Iridesse also includes Xerox’s all-new low-gloss, small-particle High Definition Emulsion Aggregate (HD EA) toner, xerographic design advantages and automatic IQ corrections that work together to create brilliant results for text, fine graphic details, tints, solids, and photographs. With standard 4000-sheet capacity media trays and extended support for media up to 400gsm, HD EA Silver and Gold Dry Inks can be layered with CMYK to create vibrant spot colours, metallic gradients, photographic enhancements and more, inline, in a single pass, and at rated speed.

‘This is a design-based business with printing as a service,’ said BDS Production Press Specialist Bryn Whithair.‘Many startup print shops focus on price, quality and service, but in a crowded market everyone is doing that,’ he said. ‘Few are talking about how to differentiate themselves in the market, whereas companies like Hot Ink are becoming communication experts using design and market leading-products like Iridesse to offer their clients a competitive edge.’

Johnson agreed, ‘The print world is changing, people are looking for a difference. Embellished printing is set to grow significantly faster than standard CMYK over the coming years. The Xerox Iridesse has literally created a market around itself; knowing what it can do, graphic designers and ad agencies are creating their own new products just because they can. Everyone wants something better than “norm”, products that will literally stand out on the shelf. Embellished printing creates that extra “wow” factor, and that’s exactly what the Iridesse brings to our business.’

From a business perspective, Hot Ink likes to keep the numbers confidential, but Saville says that since the Iridesse was installed, volumes have increased along with gross profits, ‘so it makes perfect business sense’. ‘We did a co-launch of the Iridesse with BDS and invited several other printing businesses in the city to come and see what it can do. As a result, it’s opened yet another market opportunity for us in the B2B space, and we’re already working closely with the likes of DigitalXpress, Print Tag, iClick, Wizardz, Blush Media and others to make the most of what the Iridesse gives us.’