Meteor DP8700 XL at TG Print
"I just looked at it and thought that it was a great machine. The fact that it did large-format, which means it can do the big six- or eight-page A4 jobs, and the fact it does envelopes and plastics, is just very impressive."

David Duhig, managing director TG Print (UK)

TG Print

Love at first sight
It was apparently a case of love at first sight when Duhig first clapped eyes on the Meteor at Ipex. "I just looked at it and thought that it was a great machine," he reports.

Expanding the range of short-run products was the main reason for investing in the new press. Adding digital technology complemented TG Print’s client base nicely, back when it first branched into this in 2008, because much of the firm’s business was trade work from other printers outsourcing short-run jobs. But three years down the line,
Duhig found he needed to bring something new to the table.

"The trade work was starting to dry up as other printers were getting their own little digital presses and didn’t need us anymore," reports Duhig. "But now we’re back with their six-page A4s, their roll folds, their belly wraps – so it’s generating a nice amount of trade work. Because everybody’s running SRA3 these days, everyone’s charging the same price. But because there are so few Meteors around, you can virtually name your price."

No click charge
Duhig was also very attracted to the fact that the MGI Meteor, unlike most other digital machines, isn’t paid for on a click-charge basis. "You buy the consumables and there’s a recommendation that you replace certain consumables once you have printed a certain number of sheets, and the toner just runs out when it runs out," reports Duhig. "So you can run on a bit longer if your work hasn’t got quite so much coverage on it. It gives you much more flexibility."
"A click charge can also preclude you from running envelopes because they’re so much smaller and use so little ink," he adds.

It was these factors that persuaded TG Print to opt for the Meteor in favour of the other digital machine it was considering, a Xerox iGen. "You can’t do envelopes on a Xerox, because, at four or five pence per click, once you go over a couple of hundred units, you’re not viable price-wise anymore," says Duhig. "Also, plastic films that might cause a problem for a Xerox or Indigo – the MGI just runs them."

Duhig does concede, however, that, depending on what’s wanted from a digital machine, the Xerox might suit some companies better. "Any Xerox machine is a good shout," he says, "for those wanting more of a photocopier-type set-up."

The MGI machine, meanwhile, is more flexible, as Duhig explains: "The reason the Meteor can process envelopes and plastics, is because it’s a kind of hybrid machine. It has some of the technology you’d expect from the photocopying boxes, but also incorporates some Indigo-type technology, where you’ve got charged ions going onto a blanket and then dropping onto the sheet when you discharge the electrics."

"But that does mean the operator needs to be on the ball," he warns. "You can’t just stick it in a corner and abuse it, you need to be a little bit gentle with it like you would with a conventional press. We do the same kind of maintenance on it as we would on our Heidelbergs, otherwise it would soon stop producing jobs at the quality we want."
That said, the Meteor has performed very well for the company, reports Duhig, with only a few service issues at the start of its life, which Duhig puts down to his original operator not being as conscientious as he’d have liked.

"We know with MGI that the back-up is good and that the service is excellent, so we trust buying another machine from them even though it’s just been released and there’s only a few hundred in the world," he adds. "We’re just very happy with what we’ve seen of MGI and very confident with the technology."