Cigna-Look, Ma, No Hands!
Cigna Printing and Distribution
If there's one thing John Panhorst doesn't want to do, it's get his hands dirty.
Not that Panhorst, assistant vice-president of printing in Cigna's Printing and Distribution department, has a problem with working; he just knows that the in-plant runs a lot more smoothly and efficiently if people don't get in the way of the machines.
"We've got our systems so automated that when an order comes in to ship 500 books, the whole thing drops into the demand print queue automatically," he says. "We don't interface with it at all, and frequently we put those books out the same day."
The books that Panhorst refers to are benefit books that detail Cigna's insurance, health care and investment plans—and with more than 12,000 different benefit books in existence, automation has proved to be a very good thing.
The quick turnaround and flawless automation are possible due largely to the department's Océ DI-8080, which Panhorst says is three to four times faster than the Xerox DocuTech 6180.
"There are fewer feeding problems because the Océ is a roll device instead of a sheet," he says. "The disadvantage is that you have to have a lot of work to run. You can't swap back and forth from a four-page to a two-page. It has to be very consistent."
Because of the time required to adjust the machine, Panhorst also consistently uses paper that's 20-lb. bond and 17˝ wide.
Still, that allows him enough setups to serve the company's needs, from a four-page folder that's printed as a 17x11˝ flat, to two 81⁄2x11˝ sheets side-by-side, to the multitude of benefit books.
"We do them two-up and offset stack them so that each stack represents a finished book," says Panhorst. "The output is stacked on a carrier board that's transferred by a roller conveyor to one of three bindery stations. We run that whole department in three shifts with two people on each shift."