Thirty years of successes
Let's travel back in time and look at the way printer manufacturers, paper distributors and customers experienced the introduction of Color Copy to the market and how for many it is still their paper of choice to this day.
When the first colour laser printer was created in 1987, it soon became clear that this innovation needed another kind of paper: one created specifically for the purpose, with special surface treatments that would set it apart from standard office paper.
At Mondi Neusiedler, close cooperation with manufacturers had always been one of the cornerstones of the company's success. So it came as no surprise that the printer's manufacturer would ask Mondi to create a paper suited for their new machine.
As Abhijit Ghosh, former head of Technical Customer Service, recalls:
For Kurt Brandl, then Head of Production at Mondi Neusiedler, it was clear what the manufacturers needed:
I was always on the road, US, Japan and the manufactures in Europe. This cooperation was extremely important.
It was very important that the quality, the tone and the vibrancy of a colour picture, would be perfectly reproduced.
Color Copy is born
In 1989, after two years of research and development, Color Copy was introduced to the market, and it hit all the right spots, especially for manufacturers. Manfred Maczuga, technical specialist for Minolta Europe at the time when they presented their first digital colour printer, CF70, had been using Color Copy from the get-go. He was so convinced of the paper’s quality that as the Technical Product Manager Production Printing Colour he had introduced the habit to bring twenty to fifty sheets of paper to customers who were battling print quality problems. Witnessing the difference between ordinary paper and Color Copy first hand was, to many, an eye-opening experience:
And he's not the only one: many manufacturers nowadays appreciate the smooth runnability of Color Copy, using it as the benchmark paper for development and trouble-shooting.
I just put in the paper - then they started printing. And it was clear that the result was always better - due to Color Copy. It showcased the difference between good and bad paper - with Color Copy they got exactly what they expected, every single time.
However, innovations are, by their very nature, disruptive. Customers used to a certain product might not always jump at the chance to try something new, especially if those products are tied to brand-new technology. As Wolfgang Riedl, Purchase & Product Management Director of Office Papers at paper distributor Europapier Austria, recalls vividly:
Well, many customers weren't yet ready for this product - at the beginning at least - because colour laser printers were still a rarity then.
Fortunately, this changed in due course. Printed samples and first-hand experience allowed print professionals to get to know Color Copy. Using it in production soon made them value it for its consistent quality and smooth runnability.
It doesn't stop here
For the last thirty years, Color Copy has provided users with the same quality, day in and day out. But how is this kind of quality consistency possible? For Kurt Brandl, it boils down to this:
Even thirty years ago, the quality standards were high, as Carina Kropp, Technical Customer Service and Development Engineer says, but innovation brought improvements through the years. Advances in print technology have powered Color Copy’s development. Close collaboration with printer manufacturers is just as essential now as it was then.
It's important to think carefully about sourcing the right quality of raw material. The level of purity and rigidity has to be exactly right.
Reacting quickly goes hand in hand with the rapid pace of technological advancements. Heidemarie Reiter, Head of Process Technology & Laboratory at Mondi Neusiedler, is among those responsible for identifying how and where technological advancements require innovative solutions.
It's important that we react quickly, and that is indeed one of our secrets: great collaboration with our customers.
The main challenge is the large variety of machines on the market. Through innovation, we're trying to create a paper that's suitable for all machines.
Today and tomorrow
For print customers, this wide variety of machines, along with advancements in print resolution, mean more options in digital printing. For many, Color Copy is their choice for every-day applications and for others, especially in less ordinary grammages or formats, it is the kind of premium paper they use for special occasions.
As remarked by Sabine Schwerthauer, Head of the AUVA in-house printing shop:
The very existence of Color Copy heavyweights, such as 200 g/m², is the result of yet another technological development: machinery that allowed for higher grammages. This even broader range in turn allowed print shop owners to expand the portfolio of applications they could offer their own customers.
We use Color Copy especially in grammages of 120 and 160 g/m2 for diplomas and other important certificates, but we also like to use the heavyweights, like the 200 g/m2, for the backs of adhesive bindings.
Looking at today's Color Copy portfolio, ranging from uncoated and coated versions, grammages of up to 400 g/m2 and a highly diverse format offer, such as the recent banner formats, Color Copy proves that consistency and innovation are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary: combine them both and thirty years of successes are only the beginning.
To learn how distributors nurtured the growth of Color Copy from its infancy to its thirtieth birthday, listen to the whole interview in our Print & Paper podcast (in German):
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