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Webcom doubles inkjet capacity with additional $8 million investment

Posted on January 17, 2012 in News Releases

Toronto, ON, January 17, 2012 – Webcom today announced its second major capital investment in the past 18 months, bringing its total to an impressive $20 million. The unprecedented investment will involve installation of an HP T350 Colour Inkjet Web Press to complement the T300 installed just over a year ago, solidifying Webcom’s leadership and commitment to growth in digital inkjet print. Uptake of digital inkjet print resulted in a ten-fold volume increase for Webcom in 2011.

Set to more than double digital inkjet capacity to 2 billion pages annually, Webcom’s Toronto plant now stands as the second largest book production capacity for digital inkjet printing in North America, dominating the Canadian market and positioned in the top fi ve worldwide. The HP T350 inkjet press which will be in full production by March is a high quality four colour, wide width, 600 feet per minute inkjet press capable of producing over 8 million customized books annually.

The total $20-million cumulative investment value reflects of Webcom’s enterprising stronghold. “Not only do these commitments demonstrate our responsiveness to the needs of publishers today, they also exhibit Webcom’s flexibility in taking on the challenges of tomorrow,” commented Webcom’s President and CEO, Mike Collinge. Dramatic shifts in the printing landscape toward digital inkjet also require a paradigm shift for systems automation. Included in Webcom’s $8-million investment in 2012 is a significant upgrading of hardware and software, both of which will drive efficiency and lower publishers’ costs for custom, short run books. “We’ve seen a 31% increase in the number of orders as run lengths continue to shift in favour of a short-run model and as colour solutions are introduced,” said Gerry Cronin, Digital Product Manager.

The BookFWD™ production model, introduced to publishers last year, is becoming ever more relevant in today’s book market. Specifically designed to transform the way publishers print and manage their inventories of books, catalogs and directories, BookFWD establishes a comprehensive program to balance the needs for offset and digital. Bolstered by its recent  investments, Webcom now occupies an unclaimed printing territory and is uniquely positioned to service the print-to-order segment.

The shift in ordering patterns spans across all markets – happening with Educational and Trade publishers, and also increasingly with Directory and Professional Reference customers who are looking for greater efficiency. For publishers like Pearson, BookFWD was a simple and compelling solution that translated into a multi-year strategic alliance. Educational publishers are experiencing exponential growth via new business models recently defined. “Increasingly with custom printing, personalized course materials are being compiled for individual classrooms. Webcom’s BookFWD concept has given us a manufacturing approach that is fl exible, agile and cost-effective, allowing us to manage classroom-size print runs with the most advanced press technologies,” revealed Neil Harris, Director of Operations at McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

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