Bindery Upgrades Enhance Already Diverse Shop
The Creative and Digital Services department at the University of Illinois at Chicago goes beyond the capabilities of an ordinary in-house print shop. It not only prints applications ranging from window clings to appeal letters, it also handles photography, video, and more.
“[We offer] everything from brochures to newsletters to postcards ... just a plethora of stuff,” says Director Gerard Catrambone. “We just acquired a law school that used to be private, so we do all of their appeal letters and mailings, which have variable data. And we still have a robust business card business. We do about 20 to 30 orders a week. It runs the whole gamut.”
Beyond its print capabilities, the in-plant has begun to reintegrate multimedia services it had offered years prior.
“The reason we changed the name [of the department] was because we kind of reacquired a lot of things we shed over the years,” explains Catrambone. “So, we have a photography department, a videography department, a marketing department — which includes social media marketing — and a complete graphic design department.”
The in-plant recently installed a Duplo DFS-3500 full-bleed bookletmaking system, featuring in-line creasing and slitting. Prior to the installation six months ago, all the in-plant’s bookletmaking was done in-line on its digital printers. Since moving that work to the DFS-3500, Catrambone says, the quality is better than ever.
“The bookletmaker allows three-sided bleeding,” he says. “It also has an in-line creaser. Doing a booklet is so much more efficient now, and the quality is so much better.”
Since installing the DFS-3500, the in-plant has been able to bring previously outsourced jobs back in-house.
The department recently installed a Duplo DFL-500 coat/foil/laminator as well. Catrambone was aiming to find a coater with unique capabilities that could do small runs, such as invitations, and a device that didn’t require plates to do spot coating.
“I wanted to offer some unique types of invitations, so when I saw a piece of equipment that not only could do the dry lamination and had soft-touch printing capabilities — which were big selling points — but was also able to foil, I was sold,” Catrambone says.
He explains that the DFL-500 is much more compact than other pieces of equipment he had seen, making it easier to fit in the in-plant, and economically efficient due to not having to purchase individual plates for the equipment. But on top of everything, Catrambone explains, the DFL-500 is easy to use.
“I went to a company around here to look at it, and watched them set it up and run it, and it’s pretty much a no-brainer,” he says. “Will people have to be trained? Yes. But it won’t be much.”
The in-plant has experienced technology changes before. When it was relocated into the Student Center West a decade ago, Catrambone was responsible for overseeing a quick transition from offset and digital printing to an all-digital operation, using exclusively Canon/Océ equipment.
“They didn’t allow us to bring any of the offset equipment with us, in the building we’re now at,” Catrambone says. “[But] the industry has moved from large to smaller runs, and from weeks to sometimes hours of time that you’re given to produce stuff on the print side. So, it’s worked out very well for us.”
Looking to the future, Catrambone is eager to add even more equipment. He’s looking to find a contour cutter for the in-plant’s wide-format latex printer, a business card slitter, and a more automated spiral binder. He is hoping to grow the in-plant’s services, capabilities, and efficiency over the next few years.