This marks Canon’s 500th installation of the Océ ColorStream worldwide. It also marks the beginning of Cambridge Assessment’s transition to inkjet as it looks to future proof the business, achieve optimal productivity and cater for ever increasing print volumes.
“We print examination materials for educational institutions around the world that carry the Cambridge University hallmark, therefore quality is something we cannot afford to compromise on,” said Kate Barnett, Group Director of Operations, Cambridge Assessment. “For us inkjet is the future, so when we look at which technology will offer our business longevity and flexibility, while allowing for the exceptional quality and consistency that our customers expect, the Océ ColorStream from Canon ticks boxes all round.
“When you consider that a simple speck of ink out of place on an exam paper could be misconstrued as a decimal point – potentially affecting a candidate’s response to a question – the importance of quality and consistency becomes abundantly clear; there is no margin for error in our area of business,” said Barnett.
Although Cambridge Assessment will initially run the ColorStream 3700 machines in monochrome only, an integral part of the decision to purchase the technology was the flexibility to upgrade to a full colour capability in the future if required.
“Traditionally, exam papers have been printed in black and white, and elements such as colour maps and diagrams are included as separate documents and inserted. Should there be a critical mass in future for colour elements to adopt a similar specification to the exam paper, we have the ability to cater for this demand easily,” added Barnett.
“We see a further benefit of the new machines being the ease of transition between different booklet paginations, which will consequently afford increased uptime of the printers. It will also enable us to meet tighter turnaround times, which can help to reduce wastage.
“With the ColorStream 3700 we will have the ability to monitor quality assurance through web inspection. This is something we have not previously been able to do, but that will undoubtedly add further reassurance that consistency is solid,” added Barnett.
Both machines commenced operations in January 2015 under a recently renewed contract with Canon Business Services (CBS), a relationship that originally commenced in March 2009.
Cambridge Assessment currently operates three Océ ColorStream 9000 toner based printers which it anticipates phasing out as the new machines take up the print volumes.
“We have worked with Canon for a number of years and feel confident that, as our business expands further, we have the right partner and technology in place to continue the success we have had to date. We have a risk-averse culture within our business because of the life-changing opportunities our exams can offer and the brand we represent. As a highly regarded and trusted international brand itself, Canon is always both considerate and supportive of this,” said Barnett.
Peter Wolff, European Director, Commercial Printing Group, Canon Europe, said: “Customers are at the very heart of Cambridge Assessment’s decision to look at the benefits that inkjet could bring to the business. For this reason the team were meticulous in their consideration of potential technologies and it’s testament to the strength of the relationship and their confidence in the technology that they have once again turned to Canon.”