April 15, 2016
The combination of industry expertise and patented technology has propelled Polaris Direct along its meteoric rise in the graphic communications industry. A full-service lettershop and direct marketing specialist, Polaris Direct has installed the SCREEN Truepress Jet520ZZ at its headquarters in Hooksett, New Hampshire.
The company is using SCREEN’s flagship high-speed inkjet web press as a “white paper in” solution, turning blank paper rolls into high-quality, four-color direct mail pieces with full personalization in a single step as an alternative option to traditional laser imaging of variable data onto offset printed shells.
“The marketplace is primed for this type of printing technology,” said Judith Maloy, director and chief executive officer. “In an omnichannel environment where speed to market is paramount, direct marketers must be able to react quickly to customers’ needs and enhance the customer experience. Polaris Direct can take an incredible amount of data and print relevant information and highly personalized messaging that will drive consumer response.”
Polaris Direct was founded in 2003. Annual sales have soared from $3 million in its inaugural year to more than $33 million in 2015, with “the most dynamic growth occurring during the economic downtown of 2008 to 2010,” the executive pointed out.
Employment at Polaris Direct has kept pace with revenues. About 105 people currently work at the company.
Typically running two production shifts, Polaris Direct prints and mails as many as 1.5 million pieces per day. Customers, many of them in the financial services, health care, insurance, retail and nonprofit sectors, recognize Polaris Direct as a constant in the midst of change, like its namesake, the Pole Star. And like the Pole Star, Polaris Direct’s unwavering presence guides direct marketers in search of effective and efficient solutions through uncertain territory.
“At Polaris Direct, we take a deliberate and conservative approach,” Maloy noted. “We evaluate risk and what that means for us and our customers. We have been monitoring high-speed continuous-feed inkjet technology and the companies that manufacture the equipment for eight years. We came to the conclusion that the SCREEN Truepress was the best fit for our diverse base of customers and the verticals in which we participate.”
Several factors contributed to the decision to purchase the Truepress Jet520ZZ, according to Maloy, including speed, quality, high uptime, ease of operation and stock versatility.
“This equipment is such a game changer,” she said. “Four-color variable inkjet gives a lot of flexibility to marketers. They can say more in an unlimited number of versions without incurring the high cost of versioning in the traditional offset platform.”
Featuring a maximum speed of 721 feet per minute, the Truepress Jet520ZZ is one of the industry’s fastest color inkjet devices. The dual-engine duplex model chosen by Polaris Direct prints both sides of the 20.4-inch paper roll at once, delivering two-up 8.5 x 11-inch letters with bleeds, as well as larger self-mailers and other forms.
“The Truepress not only handles a wide range of stocks, it also quickly accomplishes the transition from one type of stock to another material,” observed Joe Maloy, president and chief operating officer. “It prints on 50-pound paper as easily as 10-point stock with minimal downtime. The changeover is very fast.”
Machine reliability is critical to printing multimillion-piece direct mail campaigns.
“In researching the Jet520ZZ, we visited companies that were operating the device and spoke directly to users,” Joe Maloy said. “We received a great deal of information about the concept behind the design and the engineering that went into producing a more user-friendly device. When you consider all the output devices SCREEN already has in the graphic communications industry, you quickly realize that you are dealing with an industry leader.”
The Truepress Jet520ZZ prints at 720 x 360 dpi. A built-in quality control scanner facilitates automatic correction to ensure consistent output.
“We’ve been very pleased with the equipment’s superior image quality and efficient color management,” Joe Maloy said. “Every project we have run has been well received by our clients.”
SCREEN America’s flagship inkjet press, the Truepress Jet520HD, was compared side-by-side with a commercial offset press in an independent test conducted by Image Test Labs (ITL), to determine if inkjet can match offset printing results.
Nilpeter USA and SCREEN Americas, partnering to provide label and packaging converters with leading edge print/finishing solutions, are hosting an invitation-only open house for converters in Nilpeter’s Technology Center at its Cincinnati campus on June 13, 2019.