Two New iGen 5s Boost Kohler In-plant to a New Level of Quality
Though Kohler Co. manufactures a range of items, it’s probably best known for its bathroom fixtures — sinks, showers, tubs and toilets. When those products appear in the Kohler, Wis.-based company’s marketing materials — white fixtures on white paper — the printing needs to be very high quality so those fixtures stand out.
Though product brochures printed on its in-plant’s Xerox iGen4 Diamond edition color presses looked pretty good, the company still vended most of those materials out to commercial printers with offset presses. A recent upgrade at Kohler Printing Services, however, may change that.
In March, the four-employee in-plant traded in those iGen4s for a pair of Xerox iGen 5s, each with the 26˝ sheet option, and one with extra feeder drawers. The main reason for the change, says Christopher Donlon, associate communications manager, was for better quality.
“Images are really clear,” he enthuses. “There was a piece that just printed last week that had a real dark area in the image, and you could see a lot of detail compared to the same piece I had printed on my [iGen]4.”
The quality upgrade, he feels, will help the in-plant pull in more work that has been going to outside printers.
“Now with the [iGen] 5, and how clear the image is, I think more of our plumbing work is going to come into play, because the piece does look much, much better,” he says.
A side-by-side look at product brochures printed on the shop’s iGen4 and iGen 5 reveals obvious improvements with the new device, with more details visible. Text looks better on the iGen 5 too, Donlon says. Company designers use a “cool gray” built from CMYK for text, and on the iGen4 the magenta tends to be more visible, Donlon says. On the iGen 5, he says, “it looks just awesome.”
“I can now take a file that was set up for offset printing and print it on the [iGen] 5 and the font looks like it’s gray, like it’s supposed to,” he says.
The in-plant has been very busy over the past year, Donlon notes. Impressions are up an average of 900,000 per month in 2019 over 2018 impressions. With the new iGen 5s, those numbers stand to go up even higher.
Kohler Printing Services is already known for its high-quality work. It consistently wins In-Print awards, and won three more in this year’s contest. The iGen 5s will step the in-plant up to another level of quality, which is very important for a world-class manufacturer like Kohler, with well-respected products.
“Everything is very high-end, and the marketing materials need to match the product they they’re trying to sell,” he points out. “So the higher the quality of our marketing touch point, the more that we’re demonstrating to our potential customers the quality that they’ll receive from our products.”
Related story: Kohler Expansion Invigorates In-plant
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 nearly 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, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.