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30 ProPrint March 2016
Digital print takes full
flight at Seagull Press
Investing in Ricoh has
helped turn an out of date
suburban printshop into
a thriving digital business
Flying: Dan and
It is about what we said we would
do in the business from the outset -
using technology to grow sales
Dan Kuhl, owner, Seagull Press
Unlike its namesake, Seagull
Press, based in
suburb of Belgrave, has the
happy knack of being able
to stand out from the crowd.
A true small family business, Seagull
Press caters for not only the local
business community but businesses
around Melbourne and interstate, with
an enviable service reputation that has
spread largely by word of mouth.
It was not always so. The business
began in the late 1950s, but in 2003,
when Dan and Denise Kuhl bought the
business, there was very little to show
"The business was very close to
closing its doors when Denise and I
bought it in 2003," Dan Kuhl said.
"They had a camera, film and a
Hamada offset machine. The business
was stuck in 1970s technology, and
everything had to be done manually.
There was no internet connection ---
just an oldPC andafax."
With so little, Dan and Denise Kuhl
set to work in re-establishing the
business. That meant investing in new
technology to suit local demand, and
building lasting business relationships.
"We bought a Heidelberg GTO52
two-colour press, and sorted out our
offset side of the business, and we have
a rapidly growing market in letterpress
printing, for wedding invitations,
cards, corporate and custom
stationery," said Dan, who served his
apprenticeship in letterpress printing
But it is digital print products that
have driven much of the company's
growth in the past few years.
"We were getting a lot of people
asking for print jobs that we knew we
had to do digitally, so we sent it down
the road. We ended up outsourcing so
much work we decided to put a digital
press on the floor," he said.
The Kuhls ventured into digital print
some years ago with a small machine,
but quickly outgrew it a nd upgraded.
All too soon, with the growth in
business volume that their digital print
capabilities had attracted, the Kuhls
realised that their business had to take
the bull by the horns by investing in a
digital press with much greater
"We went to PacPrint13, and were
just leaving the show when I noticed
the Ricoh stand. We inspected a press
on the stand and the Ricoh engineer
gave us a full demonstration. It was
obviously very robust. We looked very
closely at what it was producing, and
then spent over a year thinking about it
before we took it on," said Dan.
Seagull Press installed a Ricoh Pro
C7100X digital press several months
ago, since then it has transformed the
company's print operations.
"I love it" chortles Dan. "Register and
colour are spot on. It is the quality we
like, and its ease of operation is
fantastic. Denise operates it most days
and loves it too."
The key markets at Seagull Press
includes digital booklets, business
cards, docket books, stationery,
brochures and flyers --- 'just about
anything that needs quality colour
print' says Dan.
"We can handle banner printing, A4
landscapes and trifolds. We can also
use the Ricoh to do white and clear
toner print for special projects,
especially in short runs. It is much
more cost-effective than our previous
digital machine, and has really lifted
the amount of work we can do."
As the Ricoh Pro C7100X easily
handles longer print runs, with the
advantages of some inline finishing,
the business no longer runs its offset
press very often and Dan is not tied to
the press all day. This enables the Kuhls
to produce larger work volumes
without the need for more staff.
"We recently had a perfect-bound
200-page book we got through word of
mouth. It meant 22,000 clicks, and the
Ricoh did not miss a beat. No jammed
sheets, nothing," he enthused.
"While the Ricoh prints, we can do
other things. It really is about what we
said we would do in the business from
the outset --- using technology to grow
sales. We built the business primarily
through front door sales and
recommendations from happy
customers, and the Ricoh gives us the
opportunity to build on that.
"With the Ricoh we are always ready
to take on new challenges. You have to
be versatile in business to satisfy
customer needs. The Ricoh Pro
C7100X has certainly given us that
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