New Creaser Improves Quality, Speeds Production in Wichita
When you’re a printer, you don’t want a small flaw to ruin an otherwise beautiful printed piece, but that’s what was happening at Wichita State University’s Shocker Printing Solutions.
“We all take great pride in the finished product, and it really hurt us to have to take a 100-lb. text and fold it and have that little crack on the edges,” says Ellen Abbey, director of Auxiliary Services at the Wichita, Kan., university. “It bothered us. We knew we could do better.”
For short-run jobs, Supervisor Leah Lipke used the clamp on a guillotine cutter to hold pieces in place while she scored them with the back of an Xacto knife.
“It did work, it was just time consuming,” she relates.
Longer-run jobs were sent out for creasing, but Abbey lamented that this extended the turnaround time. The in-plant needed a better solution.
In December it got one when it installed a Duplo 646 slitter/cutter/creaser. Not only has the creaser eliminated cracks on the folds, the 646 has proven its worth as a business card slitter. It handles this task much faster than the shop’s old AeroCut Nano.
“I just did five orders of 150 cards in maybe five minutes,” proclaims Lipke. On the AeroCut Nano, she says, that would have taken between 10 and 20 minutes due to longer setup and imposition times. The Duplo can store up to 250 jobs in its memory.
The in-plant, run by two full-time employees and three student workers, has also used the Duplo 646 to perforate tickets, a job that was previously outsourced.
“The cost to have them perforated … it was so expensive,” says Lipke.
Scoring, however, was the main reason the in-plant added the device. Abbey says the Duplo 646 has allowed the shop to bring work back in-house, like one job for the Center for Management Development, which wanted creases on its name tags.
When searching for a scoring device, Abbey turned to fellow in-plant managers, whom she questioned via an online message board. The Duplo 646 came highly recommended.
“We talked to our peers that had experience,” she affirms, “and we checked it out at PRINTING United.”
She justified the cost of the device by showing her upper management that the Duplo 646 would bring work back in-house, thus keeping more money on campus.
Keeping work in-house is a priority for Abbey, who recently arranged to handle all the print bidding for the university’s Strategic Communications department.
“We’ve been talking about wanting to do that for a long time because then we can see what’s going out. If we ever wanted to acquire a piece of equipment then we know the numbers of what’s being outsourced,” points out Lipke. “Now that we’re in on it, we can keep track of it.”
Abbey says Shocker Printing Solutions has other upgrade plans in place. In October, the shop will add Konica Minolta AccurioPress C6100, 6120, and C3080 digital presses, as well as the IQ-501 Intelligent Quality Optimizer, which provides automatic density correction and improves color consistency and front-to-back registration accuracy.
Abbey saw a demo of the IQ-501 at PRINTING United and says it was “pretty impressive.”
Related story: Outsourcing Failure: ‘It Was a Nightmare’
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.