LumeJet Print Technologies (LPT) has officially launched its partner printing program, whereby it will offer high-end LumeJet printing as a service to commercial printers.
The LumeJet brand was resurrected last autumn after the original business model, based around selling its specialist photonic digital printing equipment, failed.
LPT co-founder Paul Anson said the Coventry-based company was now ready to roll-out its new offering.
“We have moved to a new building with a dedicated printing and finishing capability. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the colour management aspect, and we’re now in a position where we’re ready to receive customer files and print them.”
He said the new partner program meant printers could add ultra-high-quality LumeJet output to their offerings “with no upfront costs or hidden charges”.
“We are looking for people to partner with to grow volume in specific sectors, for example property and fashion,” he explained. “We have something unique and we want to get it into the market.
“It’s a substantially different model. We are selling for a fair but premium price to maintain the value in the print itself, and not just trigger the next price war.”
The LPT operation is currently running six LumeJet printers but has the capability to scale up to 10 or 12.
Anson said the new offering had primarily been set up for the production of sheets and book blocks for its partners, although it is equipped with Imaging Solutions FastBook and Ashgate Automation Fastbind equipment for the production of lay-flat books.
“We are not expert finishing craftsmen, so another way that our partners can differentiate their offering is through specialist finishing. They can put their own mark on it,” Anson said.
“We’re looking for a sensible structure so people can compete healthily, we’re not flooding the market,” he added. “It’s entirely likely there will be geographic boundaries. In some sectors, such as photography, we may have global partners. For commercial print our focus is on the UK and Germany initially.”
The firm has primarily been working for photography clients in the interim period since last September, while it prepared for its push into the commercial print market.
It has bought back all of the previously installed LumeJet machines with the exception of the unit at Clicks in London.
“It suited us both to have a printer in London, and Clicks is addressing an agency market that we can’t touch,” Anson said.
Part of the new offering also includes the option for partners with a high-volume of work, or requirement for fast turnaround times, to opt for a ‘machine outplacement’ model and run the LumeJet press themselves, with LPT retaining ownership and responsibility for servicing.
The UK-developed LumeJet process involves photonic technology that produces incredibly high quality prints on photographic paper.
Anson said that as well as the familiar Fujifilm Crystal Archive silver halide paper, the company was now able to offer a wider range of materials including metallic pearl, canvas, and a deep matte ‘velvet’ media.
“Fujifilm has been working very hard to develop new materials. The velvet looks and feels like soft-touch laminate, while the metallic gloss is stunning. They have also developed some fingerprint-resistant materials that are very interesting,” he said.
The company employs 11 staff plus a number of contractors. Anson said the intention was to grow it into a multimillion pound operation.
“We are ambitious and have invested a lot into this technology and service model. I do feel confident about this new model and hope we can build it into a double-digit million turnover business over the next few years.”
Photonic printing inventor Trevor Elworthy remains at the company as interim managing director.
Anson said the venture’s backers include ex-Goldman Sachs director Huw Williams, who is the firm’s non-executive chairman, and a number of angel investors.
The LumeBar project with Plessey Semiconductors is still ongoing, and LPT is also looking at other potential applications for its technology.