High gloss in one pass? No problem. Short run with hot and cold foil applications? Sure. Spot varnish on different paper, plastic, and synthetic stocks? Why not?
Adding the wow factor to a book cover or content pages used to take up too much time and money. While the money part remains arguable (depending on the intended wow factor), the enhancement and embellishment process is definitely much faster nowadays.
Whether it is about applying spot colors, special coatings, foils, or much more, there are now digital enhancement presses that can do it all. And the best part is: most of these presses are compatible—and inline—with offset and digital printing lines.
Take foil stamping, for example. With digital enhancement presses, there is no need to create metal dies, outsource to a specialty house, spend hours on the complex setup, or wait for days for the printed layers to dry properly prior to stacking or moving on to the next finishing or binding process. Additionally, you can now generate a proof or prototype right away—with no fuss and little muss—or produce a small batch, just enough for immediate use or inventory.
In recent months, many print manufacturers (including those in Hong Kong and China) are turning to two major digital enhancements players for such solutions: Scodix and Konica Minolta MGI.
Scodix announced two new presses—Ultra 101 and 202—earlier this year. Fully compatible with offset and HP Indigo presses, the 202 offers nine enhancements, including Braille, crystal, foil, glitter, metallic, and sense. With the last-mentioned application, it is about raised spot UV coating to provide both visual and tactile effects. Adding clear polymer at varying heights to simulate texture onto a printed page has never been easier or more fun.
Konica Minolta MGI’s JETvarnish 3-D press, a direct competitor to Scodix, also offers dazzling effects and high-impact decorative enhancements with special coatings and foils. (And the jury is still out on which press is better or the best.)
One big selling point, especially in this eco-consciousness era, is that these digital enhancement presses have no need for make-readies, plates, screens, or dies, and they generate far less waste compared to traditional finishing machines or methods. Dazzling effects aside, there is the capability for variable data processing, which makes personalization a breeze for promotional and on-demand projects. So what’s not to like?