Kishwaukee College Upgrades Wide-Format, Digital Press
Jessica Anderson sums up the current state of business at Kishwaukee College’s in-plant well: “We do less and less of the ‘everyday’ printing,” says the director of Bookstore/Printing and Mail Services for the Malta, Illinois college, an hour west of Chicago. “More and more of our jobs are either wide-format or booklets.”
To better handle both of those expanding product lines, the in-plant recently upgraded its wide-format printing capabilities and installed a new digital color printer with in-line binding.
“We want to stay relevant, and we want to save the college money,” says Anderson. “So, we want to do things that people need rather than what they don’t need anymore.”
Equipped with a pair of Xerox and Sharp black-and-white printers, a Sharp 7500N color printer, a Quadient Mach 5 envelope printer, and a 24" HP DesignJet Z-series printer, the in-plant has a full-time operator and a part-time mail employee. In late July, the shop installed a 54" HP Latex 315 accompanied by an automatic X-axis cutter and started printing window clings, floor decals, and stickers. Anderson also has her eye on indoor and outdoor banners, which are currently being outsourced.
“We can do them at a third of the price — if not half the price,” she contends.
Athletics wants banners with sponsor information to be mounted on fencing, she says. Wall graphics for buildings being remodeled are another potential growth area, as are T-shirts to sell in the campus bookstore. The shop has printed some heat transfers with the new HP Latex 315 as a test, says Anderson, but “we haven’t mastered that one yet. We need a heat press for that.”
The in-plant has printed stickers of the college’s cougar mascot and put them out for sale in the bookstore, she says. The shop has also printed magnets, but she’s concerned that cutting them will wear down the cutter blade more quickly.
Anderson looked at other wide-format printers with integrated cutters, but felt productivity would be higher if the shop could cut separately and let the printer move on to the next job.
To justify the cost of the HP Latex 315 and cutter, Anderson gathered invoices for outsourced wide-format work to see what the school had been paying. She also checked substrate costs. Then she showed how much the in-plant could save the school by investing in this equipment.
This isn’t the only new technology for the in-plant. The shop has replaced its Sharp digital printer with a Ricoh Pro C5310s with an in-line Plockmatic booklet finisher, which can provide square-back binding. At 80-ppm and 2,400x4,800-dpi resolution, it will be faster, print higher-quality products, and support a broader range of specialty stocks, sheet sizes, and weights. It can even print envelopes, she notes.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” she says.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.