Volume Jump Brings Expansion for Ohio In-plant
Starting up a new in-plant at Franklin University four years ago may have been one of the best decisions Bob Donahue ever made. Since Printing Services opened its door in 2012, the in-plant has saved the Columbus, Ohio, university thousands of dollars.
“We finished last fiscal year at a savings and revenue combination of about $460,000,” remarks Donahue. “This fiscal year, I’m tracking at about $500,000.”
Needless to say, Donahue’s boss, the university’s CFO, is very happy.
“He’s one of my biggest advocates,” Donahue says.
As a result of this success, and a recent surge in volume, the four-employee in-plant recently added an impressive array of new equipment to its 2,000-sq.-ft. facility:
- A Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C1100 digital color press
- A Roland True VIS VG-540 wide-format printer/cutter
- A Xanté Impressia digital envelope printer
- A Duplo DC-646 slitter/cutter/creaser
- A Duplo DSS-350 square spine module
- Dye-sublimation equipment, including heat presses and a 24˝ Mutoh printer
Donahue says the increase in printing business that necessitated the new gear resulted in part from the university’s purchase of nearby Urbana University in 2014. This alone increased the in-plant’s volume by 66%, he says.
“Plus I’ve picked up a few more nonprofit external customers,” Donahue notes — churches and civic organizations. “That’s been adding to the volume and the type of business that we’re doing.”
To handle this volume, the shop added the Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C1100 digital color press as additional capacity to work side by side with its bizhub PRESS C8000.
“My color volume was ramping up,” he explains. “I was in a situation where I needed to not only increase the volume but I needed to back up the 8000 and try to improve the front-to-back registration.”
So far he’s been very impressed with the quality and consistency that the C1100 produces. He credits the Enhanced Simitri HDE toner, which has improved halftone and skin-tone reproduction.
“The [finished] product is just good quality consistently,” Donahue praises. “It helps us when we’re trying to maintain branding. Having two different universities with two different brandings, you have to be able to switch back and forth and be able to hit that spot-on every time.”
The color printer is being used to print view books, marketing pieces, postcards, booklets, brochures and more. Donahue had the bookletmaker from the in-plant’s black-and-white Konica Minolta bizhub PRO 1200 transferred onto the C1100 so it can produce finished booklets.
Printing and Cutting: Together at Last
Another impressive addition is the Roland True VIS VG-540 wide-format printer/cutter. It replaces an offline cutter, but adds additional wide-format printing capabilities.
“The advantage here is that you can print it and then cut it at the same time,” he remarks. This is great for decals, wall clings and other contour-cut items. The Roland has also printed larger items like window and floor signage.
“It’s pretty easy to use,” Donahue says. He plans to use the Roland to bring in work that is currently being outsourced.
“This will lend itself well to bringing in a lot of signage type jobs that were outsourced at some pretty significant prices,” he says.
The new Xanté Impressia digital envelope printer joins the shop’s current digital envelope printer, a Neopost AS-950C, which uses Memjet technology. The Impressia, Donahue says, is faster and more consistent.
“The Memjet is capable of a lot, but it is a slower operation, and you can’t walk away from it,” he points out. With the Impressia, the operator just needs to fill the trays and can then do other tasks. Envelope printing has been booming with the Impressia, he says, sometimes reaching 10,000 envelopes a month. He says he is impressed with the timely support he has gotten from Xanté.
The new Duplo equipment is working out well too, Donahue says. The Duplo DC-646 slitter/cutter/creaser replaces a DC-645 and brings enhanced perforating capabilities. It will also be used to cut business cards.
“It’s a much more professional look,” he notes. The view books and programs it produces have a perfect bound look to them. The fact that they lay flatter than saddle-stitched booklets, and don’t bow outward, also enables the in-plant to fit more of them in a shipping box, he says.
“I’m actually saving money on boxes,” Donahue proclaims.
The in-plant also added a new line of business when it installed its dye-sublimation equipment. Donahue saw a niche for printing custom items like mugs, shirts and coasters.
“It’s not a huge part of our business,” he admits, “but it’s growing.”
With both a single- and a five-station mug press, a 20x25˝ heat press for garments and a twin cap press, the in-plant plans to create school spirit items for internal and external customers.
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.