Swapping Six Printers for Four Brings Savings, Productivity to New Mexico
Since this story appeared in our April issue, COVID-19 has drastically changed the world. New Mexico State Printing & Graphic Design Services continues to operate, with some staff working from home and operators coming in every other day. Director Robert Newlin is in the office daily to coordinate jobs. Though the workload has dropped significantly, the operation has printed several COVID-19-related projects, such as signage for the airport, flyers for ports of entry, and postcards about voting during the crisis.
When the New Mexico House of Representatives and Senate are in session, the state’s in-plant in Santa Fe gets really busy.
“During a legislative session … we’ll go through three or four pallets of paper,” remarks Rob Newlin, director of State Printing & Graphic Design Services, part of the General Services Department.
During the most recent 30-day session, ending in mid February, the seven-employee in-plant printed 702 different bills, each ranging from one to 294 pages. Each bill had to be picked up in hard copy format from the state capitol at 5 p.m. and scanned on the in-plant’s Kodak scanner. The shop printed 250 copies of each bill — 1,462,500 printed pages total — and delivered them by 8 a.m. they next morning.
“Some nights we were here till 10, 11, 12 at night,” Newlin says.
Those nights aside, he says “the session went real smooth.”
That success was chiefly due to the addition of four new digital presses: two Ricoh Pro C9210 color printers and two Ricoh Pro 8320 black-and-white devices. Installed in late November, the Ricoh devices are a departure for the in-plant, which had been a Xerox shop for decades. They replaced a pair of Xerox Versant 2100s and four D136 monochrome printers. When the five-year lease on those devices was approaching, Newlin decided he wanted a change.
“I was really looking for a workhorse,” he reveals — a device that could easily handle the seven million total clicks a year his shop was putting on its devices. When he learned the Ricoh Pro C9210 is rated for 12 million impressions per year, he was intrigued. He credits the persistence and helpfulness of his local Ricoh representatives with winning him over.
Though Newlin is very pleased with the 2,400x4,800 dpi quality of the output from the C9210s, it’s the in-line binding that proved to be the most valuable and time-saving feature during the legislative session. Each device connects to a Plockmatic booklet maker and three-knife trimmer, along with a custom GBC punch able to create a larger ⅜˝ hole for easy insertion into three-ring binders.
No More Hand Drilling
“We used to hand drill those,” Newlin remarks. The in-plant would have to prepare pallets of drilled paper to be ready for the session. Now that drilling is a thing of past.
“With the GBC unit, we just [insert] the custom three-hole punch [die into the press] at the diameter we need,” he says. Bills are printed, punched, stapled, and come off the machines ready to be boxed.
When producing coil-bound books, the shop can print and punch pages two-up on 11x17˝ sheets thanks to the GBC unit, increasing productivity. Similarly, the Plockmatic stitcher and trimmer lets employees produce finished booklets right from the machines, rather than taking printed signatures to offline finishing devices.
Because Ricoh charges the same for a black click on both the color and black-and-white printers (unlike how Xerox charged for black on the Versant, he says), the in-plant was able to replace six Xerox machines with four Ricohs.
“I spread my session work between all four machines because the black click cost was identical no matter what machine I ran it on,” Newlin says, “so I was able to reduce my footprint from six machines down to four machines.”
Another bonus was that staples for the machines were included in the Ricoh service agreement — all 351,000 staples used to bind the session’s 702 bills. “That saved me, right there, about $5,000 or $6,000,” he says.
The fact that both the C9210s and 8320s are Energy Star certified played into a current General Services green energy project that’s endeavoring to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings, with the goal of cutting energy bills in half.
“Absolutely, the energy efficiency [of the devices] was a factor,” Newlin proclaims.
With the session over, the in-plant is using the new printers for brochures, posters, booklets, and annual reports. Thanks to a banner feeder on the C9210s, oversized sheets like the covers of some annual reports can now be printed in-house. The in-plant formerly outsourced those covers.
The in-plant recently made another upgrade when it added a Xanté En/Press digital multi-media printer for printing envelopes. The shop previously ran envelopes on a Halm Jet press, but when his press operator retired, Newlin decided to bring in the Xanté. The shop will use it for short-run envelopes, he says, and then outsource longer-run jobs. l
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.