Kester Imaging (KI), which also owns an MGI JETvarnish 3DS digital press, recently purchased the second MGI device to expand its digital embellishment line of business.
KI, a family-owned commercial printer located an hour outside of Wichita, KS, purchased its MGI JETvarnish 3DS digital press in September 2017.
At the time, KI had seven Konica Minolta digital presses in house producing the vast majority of its print output. The ability to offer flexible, decorative, print enhancement products with service and support from the same business partner was a key factor in the decision to invest in the MGI press.
“The kind of relationship we have built with Konica Minolta is integral to our success because they are interested in our growth, not just in selling us a machine. We like having their technicians in the shop because they are supportive, easy to deal with and informative when we ask a question. We can have frank conversations about what we like and don’t like – and what we need,” said Richard Kester, owner at KI. “It’s a corporate attitude we find with the Konica Minolta support team. You don’t get to have that kind of candor with most vendors.”
Since the purchase of its MGI JETvarnish 3DS digital press two and a half years ago, the creative design and decorative print enhancement outsourcing services KI has been able to offer as a trade printing business partner have benefited both their peers in the graphic arts industry and the corporate brands that those printers serve. Although KI commercially prints its own work, more and more printers are outsourcing projects to them, and Kester realized the business required a second embellishment press.
According to Kester, the possibilities are “just incredible.” Embellished book covers have become a big product line for KI, and expanding into printing decorative boxes, and enhanced labels are his next endeavor.
“This is a huge market we haven’t touched yet but can easily break into with the ability to do short runs, and box manufactures are completely wowed by the idea,” said Kester. “Another thing we’re able to do because of our scanning and varnish capabilities is print materials for the blind. Braille requires the ability to put down a certain amount of microns, and we have the registration to do this. We can put down 238 microns on a pass and more than 400 with two passes. No one else can touch this.”
The device expanded KI’s business focus beyond CMYK to offer 3D textured UV and high-value, sculpted foil to clients, representing a brand new product line and new profit center for the company. New customers, such as manufacturing and retail consumer product companies, schools and non-profit organizations, came on board seeking to highlight their brands and messaging with printed communications in different ways that online or conventional print campaigns could not provide.
“The thing that sold us was the way the print output looked and the emotion it generated," said Kester. "It changed the way we do business, and because it worked so well we had to have another one. We embellished a 12x18 sheet covered with a single sheet of foil and you couldn’t see a dimple in the whole sheet. Nobody else can get close to that. It’s different than all the competition."