Family-owned businesses face more than their fair share of challenges, not the least of which is the unwillingness of second and third generations to become involved in the enterprise. It is therefore, encouraging to find a company which has been able to survive for three generations spanning more than 80 years. Typo Colour Printing Specialists was founded in Troyeville, Johannesburg in 1934 by Zelman Miltz and has been going and growing ever since.
As with any successful family business the later generations have come in and brought with them new ideas and modern concepts taking the company to even greater heights. Sam Miltz took over from his father and grew the company. Then 10 years ago Bryan took up the mantle and the company has never looked back. Bryan has made his mark by bringing the very latest modern technology to produce work of the highest quality. While his father and grandfather were generally considered jobbing printers, Bryan has made his mark on the South African printing industry as a full-colour printer with a reputation for high-end quality and productivity.
A growing list of firsts has seen Typo move rapidly to the top of the printing game in South Africa. It was among the first printers in South Africa to install a liquid toner digital press. It was the first printer in South Africa to install the state-of-the-art Heidelberg XL 106 eight-colour press and it recently became the first printer in Africa to install the brand new Xerox Iridesse Colour Digital Production Printer. This press sets a new standard in the CMYK Plus printing market.
The Iridesse was not Typo’s first experience with Xerox having installed a Xerox Versant 3100 digital press to supplement the production capacity of its liquid ink digital press. The success of the Versant 3100, which achieved production levels of around 1 million impressions in six months, directly influenced the decision in favour of the Iridesse.
Bryan was first made aware of the Iridesse when Bytes Document Solutions informed him of the launch of the new press and invited him to attend the worldwide unveiling at the Xerox Premier Partner event in Warsaw Poland at the end of June. Bryan commented, ‘Our aging digital press had reached the end of its lifespan and we were looking for a new machine to fill the capacity requirement. I had looked at the Xerox 1000 and felt that it did not quite meet our production needs, and the iGen was outside of the price range that I wanted to consider. It was either a question of installing another liquid ink digital press or opting for a new Xerox device.
‘When Barry Hasleham from Bytes Document Solutions and James Carruthers from XBC-IT told me that the Iridesse could handle more than one metallic ink as well as a clear toner, I agreed to attend the launch of the Iridesse. Seeing the samples of what the machine can do was very impressive. However, what most attracted me to the machine was its price point in relation to its capabilities. The Iridesse falls into the middle of the Xerox cutsheet product range – between the 1000 and the iGen – both in terms of productivity and price.’
Bryan placed his order for the Iridesse shortly after returning from the launch in Poland and the machine was installed within a few weeks. Such was the success of the launch of the press that a number of other South African organisations also placed orders for the Iridesse at around the same time. The Xerox Iridesse is a four-colour digital production press with the ability to handle gold and silver metallic toners, as well as a clear toner. It is configured as a four-colour device with an underlay and an overlay. The configuration can be adjusted to allow the silver or gold to be used as either the underlay or overlay and the clear in the overlay position. Changeover time is around 20 minutes when switching the position of the metallics.
Bryan commented, ‘We selected the Iridesse for the additional four-colour capacity it will provide to us and currently we are using it for standard four-colour work for up to 95 per cent of the jobs that we put through it. The embellishments and metallics are simply an addition, but one which adds real value. We have been conducting extensive testing on the machine to find out what it is capable of. We are putting it through its paces and learning new things everyday. It has been a learning curve but we can certainly achieve things with this machine that you cannot do any other way. ‘It has also been a learning curve for Xerox. The guys from Xerox are learning right along side us. The installation and commissioning of the machine was handled very smoothly and efficiently by the technical team from Bytes Documents Solutions. The machine is very easy to understand but we are still undergoing training. All the tests we have been doing with the special effects have been conducted in conjunction with the Xerox team. We have already had calls from other printers who want to make use of the extra capabilities of the Iridesse. We are still formulating costings for the embellishments and metallics but, it will be a premium product with a specific pricing structure.’ The Iridesse features a brand new toner formulation based on a finer toner particle giving better coverage, reduced toner usage and smoother colour gradations. In addition, the toner produces a matte print which more closely resembles the prints achieved on a litho press allowing accurate matching of jobs which printed both litho and digitally.
Bryan added, ‘This was a major factor in my decision to purchase the Iridesse and more importantly was what prevented me from buying the 1000. Customers don’t like the glossy look you get from most digital printers. Both the Versant 3100 and the Iridesse gives us that matte look which is much better for us.’
Although the Iridesse press has only been installed for a few months, it has already produced more than 400 000 prints and the volume of CMYK Plus prints is gradually growing. Bryan stated, ‘Armand Coetzee has spent a lot of time testing the machine and is busy training our sales representatives on how to explain the capabilities and benefits of the Iridesse to our clients in the design and advertising agencies. This will be a major market for us and we see a lot of potential for growth in the value-add market.’
Typo has become one of the top printers in the Johannesburg market with clients throughout the country and even from neighbouring countries. It offers a one-stop shop solution including prepress, litho, digital and wide-format printing as well as finishing including PUR binding.
Although digital printing only accounts for around 10 per cent of its total print volume, it is growing. It offers a full range of value-add services including varnishing and laminating, as well as foiling for digital printing on a recently-installed digital foiling device from Beswick Machinery. Other new investments include a full Polar cutting system to improve efficiencies and a new Stahlfolder featuring faster makeready and increased folding volumes.
Bryan concluded, ‘Printing is a funny industry, you think that when you have bought one machine you are set, but there are always new developments and new ways of adding value for your clients. The only way to stay ahead is to keep up with the very latest technology. This is even more important in digital printing because of the rate of new developments in that sector and Xerox and Bytes are a trusted partner for our digital requirements. We have invested in state-of-the-art equipment in all areas of our business to be able to offer our clients the very best printed products.’ With his approach to printing, technology and customer service and the solid foundation set by his father and grandfather, Bryan and Typo Colour Printing Specialists have redefined the success which can be achieved by family-businesses and once and for all proven that print may have changed but it definitely has a bright and iridescent future.