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Seasonal spectacular at fifth London Calling

Somerset House was the elegant venue for this year’s London Calling 5i event, a mini-exhibition centred on showing finishing equipment in context with links to print and pre-press systems

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Somerset House played host to London Calling 5i, which recorded its best ever visitor figures

Visitors could look out to one side down to the winter ice rink in the great courtyard of Somerset House, while on the other side they could walk out on the terrace that overlooks the Thames with views of the South Bank and London Eye. And maybe sneak in a crafty outdoor cigarette too. There was plenty inside to keep their attention though.

This was the fifth London Calling event, and was called 5i with the explanation that its five main attributes were 'iconic venue' , 'Innovative applications', more 'intelligent technology' and 'integrated solutions'.”

Started in 2009 by the Finishing Alliance, comprising Duplo, Friedheim and Renz, London Calling has been held in a different 'iconic' London venue every year, including the Tate Modern and the O2 arena. Other partner companies with kit on show included Balreed, Esko, Fedrigoni, Fujifilm, and Vivid.

PrintIt!, the initiative that stages a yearly schools competition challenge to raise awareness of the printing industry, was present too. A raffle at the event raised £775 for PrintIt! funds. The first prize of a family ticket to the Somerset House ice rink was won by John Vaughan of Kingsley Print.

This confirmed that potential visitors are attracted by an iconic venue and they want to see the latest Duplo innovations, but they also wanted to see workflows and other innovations that they might not otherwise fear about

This year’s event was the largest so far. “We started planning this year’s event with a forum for both existing and potential customers,” said Sarah Crumpler, Duplo’s marketing manager, in an interview with Print Monthly.

She continued: “This confirmed that potential visitors are attracted by an iconic venue and they want to see the latest Duplo innovations, but they also wanted to see workflows and other innovations that they might not otherwise fear about.”

Eyes on Duplo

Duplo had the most equipment on show, including the first public showings of several pieces of kit that it either manufactures or distributes.

One of these was the 500i Duetto System, combining new DSC-10/60i collator towers and the recently launched DSF-200 sheet feeder. The towers have new Intelligent Multi-Bin Feeding that can work with either normal offset sets or pre-collated digital sheets, even mixing them to send them to an inline finisher (a DBM-500 booklet maker and DBM-500-T trimmer at the show). According to Terry Wafer, graphic arts product manager at Duplo, this will suit smaller users with a mix of digital offset and presses, as they don’t need a separate sheet feeder for digital stacks.

Duplo's Terry Wafer demonstrates the ease-of-use of the company's latest technology

The latest Duplo DBM-150 dynamic bookletmaker with integral trimmer was being demonstrated. The company says it’s the smallest of its type on the market. It can fold A3 onto A4 formats, or A4 to A5, to form booklets from up to 25 sheets. It uses Iseberg heavy duty stapling heads instead of wire stitching heads. Loop stitching is coming soon.

Another very compact machine being shown was the DF-1200 folder with suction feeding. It takes up to SRA3 sheets and is intended for easy operation in CRDs and similar.

At the other end of its modular finishing range was the latest DC-745, its flagship digital slitting, cutting, creasing, perforating and integrated folding device.

Duplo also demonstrated items from the Swiss Eurofold range that it distributes. The CF375 is a creaser-folder aimed at all digital printers, while CP375 is a bidirectional perforator with fast manual repositioning of the wheels. Both have top loading in common with Duplo’s own range.

Photo Book Technology is a Swiss manufacturer for which Duplo is now distributor. It was showing its latest Mitamax machine for gluing single-sided printed pages back to back to make book blocks that open completely flat and seamlessly across the fold. The range also includes a creaser, a hard case maker and a casing-in machine.

Technology horizons

Powis’ Fastbook range of simple low cost tape binders has been distributed by Duplo since 2012. The latest addition shown at London Calling is printable spine binding tapes on sheets that can go through a basic desktop inkjet, as well as a production printer.

VPress, developer of the Coreprint web2print and workflow system, was at London Calling for the second year running. It was demonstrating a simple live workflow where visitor’s names were added to a carton design which was then sent to Balreed in an adjacent room to be digitally printed. Coreprint is now twelve years old and has some 1,700 users worldwide.

Balreed, a large dealer in digital printing and finishing equipment, had two light production presses at the event, a Xerox Colour 560 and a Konica Minolta bizhub Pro C6000L at Somerset House, next to a Duplo DC-615 modular finisher. It was using the KM press to output the personalised packs that had initially been set up on the VPress system.

Esko demonstrated the potential of its flatbed cutting systems such as the iXE-10 for
creating short-runs of speciality packaging prototyping

Visitors could take their printed sheets to the Esko area, where they would be cut out and creased on the Kongsberg iXE-10 table, then assembled into cartons that were filled with sweets. The compact iXE-10 has a working area of 800x1,100mm. Intended for packaging prototyping as well as small runs of packaging and labelling, this is the smallest of the Kongsberg range, which stretch up to very large formats and heavy duty machines for routing wood and metals. The iXE-10 at the show was bought by Prontaprint Walsall and delivered immediately afterwards.

Fine paper specialist Fedrigoni was present for the first time at London Calling. It displayed a huge range of samples, which UK sales representative Carol Tindal said were mainly intended to inspire designers and printers to the creativity possible by thinking about the paper in advance. “As run lengths fall but print is more closely targeted, it becomes more cost-effective to use a special paper,” she said. “The number of stocks for digital is coming on by leaps and bounds.”

Fujifilm did not have any equipment small enough to fit in the lifts at Somerset House, according to Mark Stephenson, sales manager for digital solutions, who added: “So we took lots of samples and examples of the wide range of things that can be down with UV inkjet.

“For instance we showed printing on wood, glass, ceramic tiles, tins, canvas and even sandpaper. We also showed pop-ups from Euromedia, our consumables operation.”

Iain Bullock from Renz highlights the latest advances in its bindery systems and
explained how they can help improve that all important bottom line

This may have worked even better than having a big UV printer on show,” he feels: “At last year’s event at the O2 we took a large format printer but some people took one look and decided that wasn’t for them so they didn’t engage us in conversation. This time we could show the samples and once they were interested we could mention that they were done on the wide format machines they discounted last year!”

One of the samples were seasonal snowflakes printed with white UV ink on WonderTack Ghost, a flexible clear PET material that can adhere to glass and smooth surfaces without adhesive and can be removed and reused indefinitely. The snowflakes were intended to go into boxes pre-printed on a Fujifilm Acuity LED 1600 inkjet and cut and creased on the Esko iXE-10 table at Somerset House. The same table was used to cut the printed snowflake discs from sheets of WonderTack Ghost.

Vivid demonstrated its popular Matrix 530 single-sided thermal laminator and revealed that it’s introducing a retrofit for double-sided lamination on this model. Last year the company introduced an optional autofeed for the 530, though this wasn’t shown at London Calling this year.

Fedrigoni's display highlighted the rapid growth
that the speciality paper market is undergoing

At Ipex the Matrix 370 and 530 models will be modified with a pneumatic system that replaces the current gears and manual lift, says marketing manager David Smith. He also said that a new top model will soon replace the existing 701 Renz, one of the original Finishing Alliance partners, showed two wire binding systems, for smaller and larger users. The benchtop system comprised a DTP340A punch with ECL360 wire binder, which together would cost less than £10,000. Also shown was the Punch 500, said to be the heaviest duty benchtop punch available. It was shown punching calendar sheets printed by Precision Printing on its HP Indigo 10000 B2 digital press, which were then bound on a Mobi 500 semi-automatic machine, which could switch between loop counts and calendar hangers in seconds.

Friedheim, another Finishing Alliance founder partner, took one of the recently upgraded Komfi Amiga 52 thermal/UV laminators to the event. This has restyled covers that allow it to fit through 99 cm wide doors, plus several mechanical enhancements to the roller adjustments and additional reverse separating air blowers on the feed.

Record figures

Over the two days there were some '300 visitors from 200 companies' according to Duplo's Crumpler, who added: “It was more than ever before, definitely our biggest show. Although traditionally we have run the show as a ‘thank you’ to our customers around London, this one attracted people from much further away too.

It was more than ever before, definitely our biggest show. Although traditionally we have run the show as a ‘thank you’ to our customers around London, this one attracted people from much further away too

It certainly paid off in order terms, as she explained: “We closed £300,000 worth of orders at the show. We knew about a couple of the deals in advance, but others were new to us.”

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