Case Study

Comdatek fuels growth

Increased production with five Colorado 1640’s


We started with three employees, today we have 250, and we are still growing. Digital printing is the basis of our success.

Viktor Kelm. Managing director, Comdatek

Key to success

Comdatek GmbH is one of the most successful companies in the German market when it comes to printed marketing communications. From business cards to banners, the digital printing company, based in Hückelhoven, North Rhine- Westphalia, prints every imaginable promotional print application. Comdatek is the first company in Germany to use the innovative Colorado 1640 roll-to-roll printing system with its unique Canon UVgel technology to produce posters and backlit signage. Its high productivity and excellent print quality, combined with production efficiencies, have exceeded all of Comdatek’s expectations.

Since it was established in 2007, over the last decade Comdatek has seen rapid growth due to investment in digital print technologies. “We started with three employees, today we have 250, and we are still growing. Digital printing is the basis of our success,” says managing director Viktor Kelm.

For Viktor Kelm, being open to new and innovative digital technologies is a prerequisite for the continued growth of the business: “We are always on the lookout for new technologies to improve the production of our products and keep our customers happy.” This applies both to corporate business, for example in the production of backlit signage for outdoor use, and to Comdatek’s growing business with end customers, who increasingly demand higher quality large format prints for interior design. Customers now want the best quality and this was Comdatek’s initial reason for searching for new digital print processes. Viktor Kelm explains the shortcomings of previous options: “Although classic solvent ink printing processes have proven successful, they are reaching their limits in certain applications. The colour gradients are not always perfect and streaks are always an issue during production.”

Technological advancement

Given the wide variety of output devices at Comdatek to print on a range of different media, cleaning the printing systems is a significant task. Cleaning the solvent and latex printing systems every day represents a huge amount of work for the operators at the company, who run a three-shift system due to the exponential growth in demand in many application areas.

Comdatek has a strong partnership with long-established print reseller Heinrich Steuber GmbH in nearby Mönchengladbach. “We are always in close contact as we manage a variety of systems at Comdatek”, says Michael Remke, a Consultant at Heinrich Steuber. “When Canon introduced a completely new and highly productive approach to roll-to-roll digital printing systems with the Colorado 1640, we jointly identified the opportunities that presented themselves in production.”

The unique Canon UVgel technology promised a higher resolution and large colour gamut. In addition, the gel ink is LED-cured at very low temperatures. Unlike other processes, this is a particular advantage for very thin and heat-sensitive media.

Increased productivity

“This new system from Canon gives us much higher productivity thanks to the maximum speed of 150 m2 an hour - an important factor for us to meet high demand,” says Viktor Kelm. He therefore decided to run a short-term beta test and put the new printing system through its paces. Constant dialogue with Heinrich Steuber GmbH and Canon resulted in Comdatek deciding to invest in five machines - currently the largest installation of its kind in Germany.

Within just a few months, Comdatek produced more than 30,000 square metres of different media on the first two Colorado 1640 printers. With the Colorado 1640, the business has largely automated its print processes for increased productivity. Viktor Kelm is extremely impressed by the capabilities of the new system: “Compared to the solvent-ink based digital printing systems we use, these systems from Canon work twice as fast. They increase productivity significantly.” “In addition, we are very flexible in terms of what print media we use. The Colorado 1640 processes uncoated media with ease and this, along with the increased productivity, provides us with another cost advantage, as does the extremely economical ink application,” says Kelm.

The scratch resistance of the printed output, which is an invaluable benefit for media printed for outdoor use, is also unmatched. The fact that the UVgel ink drop is instantly pinned to the media prevents dot gain, so the printed image is sharper, with better contrast and higher quality colour reproduction than with other ink-based printing technologies. Daily cleaning is now no longer required, freeing up employees’ time.
Another time-saving advantage is the much simplified roll change. Thanks to the intuitive menus, it is also easy to train up new employees on the systems - something that is important for the rapidly growing company. Comdatek was also impressed by the solid construction of the Colorado 1640, which ensures high stability and reliability to meet the company’s production requirements.
In Comdatek’s opinion, by developing the Colorado 1640, Canon has achieved a major step forward in digital roll-to-roll printing delivering print quality that is unprecedented in digital printing. “This Canon UVgel technology offers interesting possibilities for the future and, in our opinion, can be expanded in many ways, for example in relation to industrial applications. With the Colorado 1640, Canon has launched a roll-to-roll printing system that is unique from our perspective and opens up many opportunities for the future.”

Compared to the solvent-ink based digital printing systems we use, these systems from Canon work twice as fast. They increase productivity significantly.

Viktor Kelm. Managing director, Comdatek

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