Based in Penryn near Falmouth, Booths Print is one of the oldest print-related businesses in Cornwall, celebrating its 50th year in 2020. The company began life as a traditional bookbinding and antique book repair business, and MD Steve Booth has been present almost since the outset. “I was brought up around print, and I learned bookbinding from my parents, who started the business,” he says. “We still do this work today, but we have added a lot more over the years!”
This is something of an understatement – Booths prides itself on the sheer variety of work it is able to take on in-house. The company has a comprehensive finishing department, and produces litho work using a five colour Heidelberg Speedmaster press and Screen CTP, but its most recent additions have been in the area of digital print, using equipment that has almost exclusively been supplied by SOS (Service Offset Supplies).
The latest SOS digital installation at Booths is a Konica Minolta AccurioPress C3080 production machine. According to Steve Booth the investment was prompted by a need to improve short run performance. “Producing runs of 250 and below on our litho press was expensive and time consuming,” he says. “We needed to do it digitally, but it was crucial we were able to match litho quality. We looked at the market and concluded KM was the quality option.”
Mr Booth highlights several features of his C3080 which help deliver the desired results. “Firstly Konica Minolta has a better overall chemistry which naturally delivers a flatter, less glossy, more litho-like appearance. Secondly our machine has an excellent registration system, similar to the sidelay and grip arrangement on a litho machine, which means the sheet is precisely positioned every time. On previous machines we had to put up with as much as 2mm drift which was unacceptable.”
A major contribution to the machine’s quality capability is the addition of KM’s IQ-501 system which uses a spectrophotometer and scanner combination to colour correct on-the-run. “As well as ensuring front-to-back registration, the IQ-501 is fantastic for colour matching, which is very important,” says Steve. “We will often need to colour match as part of a cross-media campaign, and even more commonly, when printing a repeat job.”
It’s not surprising that colour consistency is high on the priority list at Booths. As well as a number of designer clients, the company produces for art galleries nationally, local art colleges and even individual artists. SOS is one of the few UK suppliers who offer fully-qualified FOGRA support, and the KM machine was calibrated by SOS along with every other output device.
Another boost to Booth’s overall output quality and consistency was an overhaul of the company’s workflow, which coincided with the Konica installation. SOS installed its RealPro workflow software which offers PDF imposition and ICC colour profiles, and now drives every device in the building including the company’s Screen CTP, and wide format machines. It even sends CIP3 files to the Heidelberg press to improve litho makeready times. “Realpro is great,” says Steve, “it joins the dots. Before, our pre-press team had their specialist areas, but now they can all run any machine.”
As well as providing the company with litho plates, SOS also supplied two more machines at Booths– the Roland Versacamm VSi 640 64-inch printer-cutter, which was the company’s introduction to the wide format market, and the Fuji Acuity UV flatbed printer. “The Roland brought us a lot of sign work, and we were mounting so much of it to foam display boards we decided to invest in a machine for rigid media,” says Steve.
Booths has a customer focus which Steve Booth expects his equipment suppliers to match. “We’re a small family business in a relatively remote location, so it’s a big problem if suppliers promise things they can’t deliver. We rely on honesty and good business relationships, and we have found SOS to be great people to deal with.”
“We are a printer which offers and all-round solution to our customers to meet any needs they may have. SOS has exactly the same philosophy; that’s why we get along so well and keep coming back!”
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