X-Rite IntelliTrax Helps Scottish Book Printer

The Glasgow academic book and journal printer Bell & Bain was founded by James Bell and Andrew Bain in 1831. The respected operation is one of the few Scottish academic printers to have survived the centuries to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Bell & Bain employs more than 80 people, has a turnover in excess of £9 million
and has more than 150 customers including most of the blue-chip names in
international publishing.

The company operates three large-format KBA Rapida 142 offset presses and a new B2 four-colour Rapida 75 with coater. The latest KBA press purchase was part of Bell & Bain’s investment programme which has helped the firm increase turnover by 50% since 2005 and win new business that includes a portfolio of work in the fine arts sector.

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Early Adoption Sets Standards

Bell and Bain has always been an early adopter of the latest systems and among the first to comply with industry quality and performance standards. Its relationship with X-Rite and its investment in an IntelliTrax automated colour management scanning solution for on-press colour control are two critical factors in its business success and its ability to maintain a state-of-the-art production platform.

“The IntelliTrax scanning colour measurement system with the AutoPilot Closed-Loop Color Control System from Rutherford Graphic Products is great,” says Scott Hill, Print Manager. “It has been an excellent addition to our printing department.”

“Our initial IntelliTrax investment made a huge difference to our operation, “Scott explains. “And now it is even more accurate induct key changes with the integration of the Rutherford closed-loop capability that feeds back information to the press.”

It is a lot faster too, according to Scott, who added, “I would say the upgraded IntelliTrax system with closed-loop press feedback has more than halved the make-ready time we achieved with the older IntelliTrax system and significantly reduced waste. We can reach target densities in 20 minutes and that’s for large format four-over-four printing.

“On the older system, it generally took 24 minutes for four-colour makereadies, and that was only one side of the sheet. Now that we are perfecting our four-colour work, the new system has brought our make-readies down to just 20 minutes instead of the nearly one hour we consumed before.”

Ultra-Fast Scanning

Ultra-fast, X-Rite’s IntelliTrax automatically scans the colour bar of a typical press sheet in less than 15 seconds. It can measure special colours, PANTONE® colours, non-process colours, and paper colour. Instant reports are then created and displayed on-screen. This enables press operators to quickly make adjustments that get them to approved colour faster.

Bell and Bain’s Intellitrax was installed in conjunction with Rutherford’s AutoPilot, a software solution that delivers fast and cost-effective off-line closed-loop colour control. It seamlessly integrates with pressroom colour control systems and its ease of use makes staff training and operation simple.

Scott adds, “The closed-loop system lets our press operators concentrate on other things, such as the quality of the delivery pile, filling ink ducts and preparation of the next job. If you have to manually change eight duct settings every 250 sheets on short runs and 500 on long runs, you are not left with much time for other important activities.”

Scott concludes, “All in all, our upgraded X-Rite IntelliTrax with Rutherford AutoPilot has improved our productivity, decreased turnaround time and freed our press operators to plan ahead on their shift while maintaining the highest quality colour across all of our work.”


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