Tidewater Direct Pioneers as Premier Inkjet Trade Printer

The idea that they have access to the machine without ownership or conflict of interest is extraordinarily appealing to them.

Tidewater Direct, a direct mail component part supplier, is well known in the industry for being a top notch direct mail insert and continuous forms printing provider. With 8 Sanden continuous forms presses, 2 cut sheet Sunday presses, and an arsenal of cutting and folding equipment, Tidewater has positioned itself as a direct mail contractor’s resource for all things inside the envelope. But Tidewater’s 2017 investment in a Screen HD inkjet press to develop a trade inkjet printing model, a diversification from traditional print, raised a few eyebrows.

Tidewater’s business model as a direct mail component part supplier supports direct mail contractors, letter shops, and some of the largest printers in the world with continuous forms, terms and conditions, buck slips, brochures, and other types of traditional commercial printing. Tidewater’s clients consist of vertically and non-vertically integrated direct mail contractors that partner with Tidewater in either a primary, specialty, or overflow capacity. In the emerging inkjet market, Tidewater saw an opportunity to function in the same capacity as a roll to roll inkjet trade printer and made large investments to make the dream become a reality.

After consulting with many of their current clients, Tidewater was encouraged to learn that the industry was warmly receptive to this model. But it was also clear that the quality had to be exceptional. “We knew we had to set ourselves apart with superior print quality,” remarked Geoff Eisenberg, Executive Vice President of Tidewater Direct. The Screen HD was a device that checked all the boxes for Tidewater. The 1200×1200 dpi print quality resembles high quality offset, while at the same time Tidewater is able to offer more economical 1200×600 and 600×600 dpi print quality levels as required. Tidewater was the first company to implement Screen’s SC ink technology, enabling the press to print on untreated coated and uncoated stocks – creating a major cost advantage.

In the end, however, Eisenberg believes it comes down to numbers. “The math doesn’t lie. While the cost-benefit has increased drastically…

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