MBA on track to go-live with 2nd Ricoh Pro VC60000 continuous inkjet digital press later this month

Press Release

  • After taking delivery of its 2nd Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 in early December 2016, MBA is on track to commence live production before 20th February 2017
  • Several MBA clients with multiple print applications are planned for migration between late February to early April 2017
  • Third Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 is due for delivery in March 2017
  • MBA Group was not only the first company in the UK to invest in the Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 technology – its commitment to 3 presses will provide the business with the largest capacity of VC60000 generated output in the world

It may have seemed a little quiet at MBA since the business announced its new partnership with Ricoh in March last year (see MBA partners with Ricoh in a new landmark multi-million pound investment), but nothing could be further from the truth.

Since this time, the business has successfully installed and gone live with its first Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 continuous inkjet digital press and two new state-of-the-art CMC 400 Evolution finishing and enclosing systems in Warrington (see An evolution in customer mailing capabilities), and is now on track to go-live with its 2nd Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 in London later this month.

MBA took delivery of its 2nd press in early December 2016, following a reconfiguration and refurbishment of its London based facility. This included the creation of a new production centre for the Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 presses, which now sit at the heart of the operation.

MBA takes delivery of 2nd Ricoh Pro VC60000 in London
MBA takes delivery of 2nd Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 in early December 2016

MBA is pleased to report that both the refurbishment and installation projects have run like clockwork with Group Operations Director, Mark Cunningham describing the outcome of the two projects as an “excellent group-wide effort”. Mark acknowledged, “It’s been a lot of hard work but it is – quite literally – a shining example of what can be achieved when everyone works together towards a greater goal. The team is energised about the bright future at MBA and are using their continuous improvement mindset to deliver on an ongoing basis for our clients”.

Mark added, “While the benefits of investing in the VC60000s are clear, our production teams took this opportunity to take a fresh look at all areas of the production environment. This has resulted in the wider implementation of 5S principles, clearer production routes that flow jobs and materials efficiently between each stage of the value stream, increased visibility of work in progress and job tracking. All of this was achieved in the middle of a reconfiguration change programme that resulted in only seven pieces of equipment staying in the same location they were six months ago.”

The new VC60000 in London has been installed with a variety of new and upgraded Hunkeler pre and post production lines. This inline kit has been sourced for two primary functions – to continue providing clients with flexible print and finishing solutions, and to match the optimum throughput of the new digital inkjet presses, which can run at speeds of up to 7,200 meters / 100,000 A4 images per hour.

In particular, the new Hunkeler lines feature an upgraded cutter-stacker to manage the increased speed and volume of sheeted output (Hunkeler lines are also in place for reel-to-reel output), and a dynamic perforator to achieve a wide-variety of perforation needs – great for communications that may require varying amounts of personalised coupons per individual customer etc.

Combined with an array of other finishing and enclosing capabilities across the business, including intelligent MRDF mailing machines and specialised kit for personalising and attaching multiple plastic cards, creative finishing and top quality book binding; MBA is continuing to offer its clients a wide-ranging choice and flexibility for virtually any business critical, transactional, operational or marketing requirement.

As MBA Sales Director, Kevin Stewart captures fluently, “MBA is uniquely positioned in the marketplace through our joint experience in producing time critical transactional documents and results driven marketing campaigns, all within the same infrastructure. The security and tracking credentials needed for fulfilling the compliant nature of regulatory mailings, as well as the creative abilities to interpret and produce the needs of marketing departments, has presented an opportunity for us to take a holistic view of customer communications, often linking the customer journey through a complete 360° communications lifecycle.”

Kevin added, “As the latest addition to the company, the new VC60000s are already opening doors to new business opportunities across multiple use cases as our clients pursue the holy grail of more timely and relevant customer communications that are increasingly of a higher quality and more cost efficient.”

The Ricoh Pro™ VC60000’s digital inkjet technology is enabling MBA to produce highly personalised and relevant communication pieces with improved productivity levels, exceptional print quality and with greater flexibility and versatility.

The patented Ricoh piezo print heads with their multi-drop and variable-drop ink technologies, and high-density pigment inks is allowing MBA to produce printed output with resolutions up to 1200 dpi and x2 optical resolutions up to 2400 dpi. The dynamic variable drop size that can make droplets as small as 2pl, combined with its dynamic print head positioning technology for tight colour registration, results in a new level of print quality that’s comparable to offset.

Ricoh HD Print Heads 10 x 1200 dpi per colour module
Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 1200 dpi Piezo Print Head


Ricoh Variable Drop Technology

Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 Variable Drop Technology

Ricoh VC60000 HD Pigment Ink Application
Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 High Density (HD) Ink Application

All of MBA’s Operations, Production, Reprographics and Solution Development teams in London have undergone a lot of training in the new technology during the important ‘familiarisation period’.

This has included detailed colour management training to maximise the new digital inkjet press’ colour spectrum inline with the standards of ISO 12647 (also see Print Week article: Ricoh has become the first digital press manufacturer to be issued with a UKAS accredited ISO 12647 certification). This is providing MBA’s team with an improved understanding of the technology’s full colour capabilities and enabling MBA to provide its clients with carefully planned pre-flight colour management with the highest quality and most consistent output.

MBA Group Training - Rocoh Pro VC60000
MBA production team members take part in some initial training. From left to right: Paul Goldney, Ricoh Technical Solutions Specialist / Neil O’Halloran, Lasers Manager / Terry Smyth, Lasers Manager / Ramon Remenyi, Lasers Operator

The new presses also support a broad range of substrates, including uncoated, coated offset, treated and recycled papers from 40 to 250 gsm at widths of 165-520mm. MBA is also the only provider in the UK to have installed the optional undercoat units on all three Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 presses, which even allows for printing on offset coated gloss and silk stocks.

Over the past 9 months, MBA has been working hard with an established supplier base of paper merchants to profile a wide variety of substrates. In specific to its London installation, MBA is ready to use a range of inkjet substrates for go-live and the migration of more than five clients between late February to early April 2017.

One of MBA’s major clients that are set for migration said “We started working with MBA regarding the potential of the VC60000 as soon as the investment was confirmed early last year, and we have been heavily involved in testing since the first machine was installed up in Warrington. We have to say that despite some initial hurdles with the technology, we are very happy with the quality of the print streams we already have live [at MBA Warrington]. We are very pleased to be one of the first brands in the UK to utilise this technology for full colour, white paper communications and we look forward to migrating more streams [at MBA London] this year.”

To date, MBA has tested and successfully migrated multiple print applications to the new VC60000 at its Warrington facility. Its newly designed digital front-end that supports many native print streams (including PS, PDF, PDF/VT, AFP/IPDS and JDF/JMF), combined with its new operating system with an easy-to-use UI (User Interface), advanced colour management and imposition tools, is providing MBA with a highly versatile technology that’s purposely designed for the many challenges in modern-day graphics reproduction.

MBA will take delivery of its third and final Ricoh Pro™ VC60000 in March this year and looks forward to helping its clients to transform their printed communications via the world’s largest capacity of VC60000 digital inkjet output.

MBA’s Chairman, Bachar Aintaoui concluded, “Despite some recent doom and gloom within the print industry and wider markets, we are highly optimistic about the future of print and mail. Even with the plethora of different channels available to our clients today, we recognise the important role that print and mail still plays in the communications landscape. Where volumes may have declined in some markets, its use in other markets is arguably on the rise – it’s all about the right use of print and mail as part of the customer lifecycle – where it can be most effective for improving the brand experience, building rapport with customers and influencing their decision making; not just by communicating with highly personalised communications, but by communicating through a channel that your customers know, love and trust.”

In specific to the new Ricoh Pro™ VC60000s, MBA Managing Director, Linda Bosch added “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the experienced and committed team we have at MBA for their continued efforts in getting the business into the great position it’s in today. I am personally very impressed with the quality and capability of the new Ricoh VC60000s, quite simply because the results so far and its future potential is so pleasing to our clients. However, our investment in the new Ricoh VC60000, as substantial as it may be, is still just one of many investments across the business that are all aimed to provide our clients with a single source solution for all of their multichannel and omnichannel communication needs.”

In The Press

Photo Credits:

  • Ramon Remenyi (RedmoonStudio.co.uk)
  • Ricoh UK Ltd (Ricoh.co.uk)

Written by

Jon Barratt, Head of Marketing & Creative Services

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