Friesens installs two HP Indigo 50000 Digital Presses to grow its book business

From left are Friesens Byron Loeppky (Senior VP of Books), Chad Friesen (President and CEO), and Steve Voth (Corporate Press Manager), in front of their new HP Indigo 50000.

Friesens Corporation (Altona, Manitoba), Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books, is investing in two new industrial-scale HP Indigo 50000 Digital Presses to extend its leadership in book printing with a more flexible, cost-efficient production platform, as it shifts more capacity to digital production. Installation of the first press was completed this week at the Friesens production facility in Altona, with a second HP Indigo 50000 scheduled for installation in late 2020. The oversized B1 (30-inch) duplex, roll-to-roll HP Indigo 50000 Digital Press is the first in this digital productivity class to be installed in Canada.

“The HP Indigo 50000 solution will enable us to further leverage variable printing to drive a leaner book production process, saving on multiple finishing steps for roll-to-sewn book blocks, compared with the offset process,” said CEO Chad Friesen. “This is an important part of a larger automation initiative that will continue offering market-leading solutions to our customers, while responding to margin compression and overcoming labour shortages.” An HP Indigo digital press owner since 2011, operating two HP Indigo W7200 Web Presses, Friesens chose the HP Indigo 50000 for its wider format, higher capacity, automation, and ability to more cost effectively print shorter-run books compared with offset – saving on paper waste, time and production costs through a roll-to-book-block solution. Friesens is a 112-year old premier book, yearbook and packaging solutions provider. Its 600 employee-owners serve publishers, schools, self-publishers, and consumer brands from their 350,000-sq.-ft. facility in Altona.

“The quality and productivity of the HP Indigo 50000, combined with the format size and unique imposition capabilities, will enable us to transfer more of our offset production to digital production,” said Byron Loeppky, Senior Vice President of Books. The new digital platform offers savings both in production time and costs. In particular, Friesens will take advantage of the HP Indigo 50000 frame to gang-run multiple jobs. The 50000’s 29.3” x 44” image size enables more flexibility in imposition efficiency to print virtually any book or photo book – including yearbooks, lay-flat books, long book covers and calendars. High productivity enables printers to deliver during high peak-season production, said the OEM.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.