Kirkwood Direct Reaches New Heights with Ricoh’s Inks and Inkjet Platform
Kirkwood Direct, an end-to-end direct marketing company and a subsidiary of integrated communications provider Kirkwood US, has partnered with Ricoh (Booth 7001) to streamline and enhance its variable data printing (VDP) technology. By implementing a RICOH Pro VC60000 with brand-new Expanded Gamut inks, Kirkwood Direct will reduce time and costs associated with VDP. This partnership makes Kirkwood Direct the first VDP printer in the New England region to implement Ricoh’s Expanded Gamut inks, allowing the company to deliver near-offset image quality at high speeds, even on coated media.
Kirkwood US began in 1973 with a single press, printing technical manuals for Boston-area technology companies. Over the next four decades, the company grew to become a global full-service print communications provider, with in-house services ranging from offset printing, variable data direct mail, database management, mailing services, digital print, wide-format, grand-format printing, and fulfillment and postal logistic planning. Kirkwood continues to build on this growth, represented by a nearly 900% increase in annual revenue over the past 15 years (today totaling $75 million) and a sprawling 80,000 sqft headquarters in Wilmington, Mass.
For the past several years, Kirkwood Direct’s VDP operation relied on the deployment of multiple digital sheetfed presses for production This approach met the interim needs for VDP, however it was not the company’s long-term strategic solution. In recent months, Kirkwood Direct’s senior management team made the decision to upgrade technology and invest in new equipment, but they needed a press that could keep up with its customers’ demands, and print to different papers such as glossy, uncoated stock, or cover stock.
“The quality and versatility of our Kirkwood brands had really taken off in recent years, and we knew it was time to take Kirkwood Direct’s capabilities to the next level. Ricoh’s technology fit our needs and exceeded our expectations, but what really persuaded us was how firmly Ricoh stands behind its products,” says Steven Kuczwara, VP of operations, Kirkwood Direct. “They took us to the Customer Experience Center in Boulder, Co., and let us see what can be done with the technology, including how spectacular and precise the output is, and how quickly it can be produced. That, combined with Ricoh’s reputation for support, let us know that Ricoh was the real deal.”
The RICOH Pro VC60000 provides a comprehensive solution for customers looking to expand their digital, inkjet, or color capabilities. The printheads and inks, which leverage dynamic variable drop technology, are capable of producing offset-replaceable print quality with physical resolutions of up to 1,200x1,200 dpi. It supports a wide range of fluid types, paper stocks, and file formats. With its modular architecture, the RICOH Pro VC60000 is configurable to meet users’ needs, and scalable to grow with evolving companies like Kirkwood to protect their investments as needs change.
Ricoh’s brand-new Expanded Gamut inkjet technology rivals the output of offset inks, with media versatility and compatibility with gloss-coated stocks. These inks are designed to make the entire production system more versatile and economical. In addition to a boost in color gamut, these inks enable print operators to print faster, on a wider variety of media, including standard offset coated and uncoated papers — all with improved makeready times.
“Business needs like Kirkwood Direct’s are exactly why we designed and developed the RICOH Pro VC60000 and the Expanded Gamut inks,” says Mike Herold, director, global marketing, Inkjet Solutions, Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh. “Various print methodologies have played such a huge role in direct mail for so long, but businesses realize they need higher quality, and faster turns, at lower costs to stay competitive. Kirkwood Direct’s confidence in Ricoh and our technologies is a real testament to our commitment to helping our customers meet today’s shifting market needs, and being prepared for those to come.”