Ikea’s Tulip Award is among the most coveted in the print industry. The print run of the catalogue for the furniture retailer is the biggest job in the world each year, exceeding the number of copies of the bible that are printed annually.
And the Swedish retailer has exacting standards, achieved through implementation of rigorous standards and checking and through an annual award ceremony in Ålmhult in Sweden.
Those winning can count themselves among the best in the world. Industria Gráfica Cayfosa, the Spanish litho printing arm of Circle Printers, is therefore in exalted company. It won Ikea’s Tulip Award in 2016 as Best Print Quality Cover printer.
The prestigious prize has joined numerous other certificates and trophies at the Barcelona company, all attesting to the quality that is produced by a team in production working to the tightest of margins. Their task is helped by a programme of continuing investment in all departments.
Most of all the award is due recognition for the production team who check all the stages of the job to make sure everything, from prepress right up to binding, is done to the highest standards of quality.
In the case of the Ikea catalogue, Cayfosa’s general manager Bruno Lagarde says: “It’s something our workers take great pride in after working so hard for years to improve the quality of all our printed products.
“It’s important to be aware of the number of elements involved and the various factors that can have an influence, so we have a clear idea of the complexity of the process. What’s more, we’ve been working with Ikea for five years, and every year stricter requirements must be met.
“The process starts when Ikea sends us a file in which everything is calculated down to the last millimetre,” he explains. “From this starting point, we produce the plates to be used in the printing process. They must offer an extremely high resolution, excellent colour control and consistent reproduction throughout the whole run, as well as keeping the amount of chemical waste, maintenance and environmental impact to a minimum. We work with Kodak Electra XD thermal plates because they meet all of these requirements.”
The print run for the eight editions of the catalogue produced in Spain is 13.2 million, spread across Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Portuguese and English as well as versions for the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands. Maintaining quality across every edition is crucial for the retailer.
Lagarde continues: “Before we start printing the Ikea catalogue, they send files for us to print so they can evaluate the grey scales and a series of screens to see if the printing equipment is up to the job.
“What’s more, they’re here when we start printing. This just goes to prove how important printing the Ikea catalogue is to them, and it’s no surprise, really, as it’s their most effective marketing tool.
“The annual convention where Ikea awards its prizes for best cover, textblock and binding confirms their involvement with print service providers. They also take the opportunity to inform all those present of the new ISO regulations they must comply with.”
And the systems that have been put into place to support Ikea deliver benefits for other customers as they gain from the strict process controls and quality regime that is in place. Lagarde explains that the company has always had its own non compliance systems to investigate any customer complaints. Since working with Ikea issues relating for colour have all but disappeared.
“Ikea demands quality; they want that perfect colour matching that can only be obtained thanks to the fact that we work with certified colour proofs, and this also guarantees the stability of the production process and consistent results throughout production,” says Lagarde.
“In fact, Ikea runs a specific audit with a number of points that we have to comply with, and not only in terms of quality, but also in terms of the environment and civil liability, setting standards that are actually higher than those required by the national legal framework.”
The run for the covers demands 250 tonnes of paper and 64 sets of the Electra XD plates. This is the Kodak plate for the highest image quality and on press resilience. Printing is on the company’s KBA Rapida 105 and Rapida 106 high speed sheetfed presses.
Jose Carlos Romanos, sales manager Enterprise Systems & KAM Publishing at Kodak Iberia, explains that “these plates give you an extremely high resolution output, day in and day out consistency, and exceptional press performance. They’re versatile and adapt to most print conditions and run lengths, delivering unbeatable stability and latitude in imaging and processing, for the very best on-press performance.
“They also offer extraordinarily sharp detail and stability, reducing plate remakes and variation due to dot wear and sharpening during the press run. These plates are also qualified for 10-micron Staccato Screening Technology.”
At Cayfosa they are imaged on one of two Kodak Magnus VLF platesetters which use SquareSpot imaging to achieve the 10 micron stochastic spot or the 450lpi equivalent. The lines are calibrated and monitored to ensure absolute precision and consistency between the two. This is further guaranteed by inline punching.
The result is absolute precision, plate after plate. It is the sort of precision that enables Cayfosa to be considered the best cover printer in the entire roster of printers that Ikea uses across the globe.
Those winning Ikea’s Tulip Award can count themselves among the best in the world. Industria Gráfica Cayfosa, the Spanish litho printing arm of Circle Printers, is therefore in exalted company. It won in 2016 for Best Print Quality Cover printer.
No comments to display, be the first! Leave a comment in the box above.