April 2007 Issue


An Early Start

DAN STRODTMAN was 12 years old and living in Joliet, Ill., during the late ’60s when he began helping the next door neighbor, who ran a part-time printing business out of his garage. Fascinated with the old letterpress and other tools of the trade, Strodtman learned the California job case—a drawer with compartments that held lead type for letterpress printing—and soon was assisting with setting up and running business cards and forms. “From that time on, I have always been a printer,” says Strodtman, director of Printing Services at Valley View School District, in Romeoville, Ill. Graphic arts courses in high school

BCBS Adds Second Five-color Press

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota recently replaced its two-color Hamada with a used five-color Heidelberg GTO. “The new press can perfect two over three,” enthuses Lee J. Sperl, manager of Document and Publishing Solutions. “Almost everything we previously did on the Hamada that we traded in can now be perfected on the new press. This helped to provide a really quick ROI justification. We also found additional savings available in work that previously had to be outsourced due to a lack of open/available five-color capacity.” Sperl says the new press provides relief capacity for its other five-color GTO while absorbing a large portion

Delaware State In-plant Adds CTP, New Press

Getting film used to be, let’s say, a little inconvenient for the 13-employee Printing and Publishing department at Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget. For years the Dover, Del., in-plant had its film output by a commercial printer across town. “The film would come back to us and we’d strip it up and burn the plates here,” recounts Dustin Yerkes, shop supervisor. “For a job that we would have to send out for film, it could take a half day”—a whole day if that printer was busy. To eliminate this lag time once and for all, the in-plant recently installed a Heidelberg Quicksetter 300E computer-to-plate

Digital Technologies for Books Reshaping All Production

A CONTROVERSY is brewing about the future of book and manual production. Some people say they are going away; I believe book production is evolving from a labor intensive, manual process to an automated, template-based digital process. The argument that book and manual production are dead cites evidence of dwindling book readership, numbers of book publishers, comparisons of the costs of long offset runs verses shorter digital runs and the book distribution model. On the other side of the coin is the argument that print production is morphing with digital printing and online technologies; those who take advantage of this evolution will be

Film Free in Fairbanks

When University of Alaska-Fairbanks Printing Services added its new Agfa :Acento II E thermal computer-to-plate device in the fall, it arranged to keep its Agfa SelectSet 7000 imagesetter around for three months, just in case the transition from film to CTP didn’t go well. “We never turned it on again once we had that platesetter installed,” reports Warren Fraser, manager of Printing Services. Nor has the in-plant looked back fondly even once on the film world it left behind. For one thing, the new platesetter has reduced dot gain and improved quality: “It’s rare that a plate gets rejected,” Fraser testifies. “It’s been really good.” For

From the Editor: Rewarding Quality

I JUST got back from Oklahoma City, where I supervised the judging of the In-Print 2007 contest, a partnership between IPG and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA). As always, it was an educational experience. In-plants are tackling some complicated projects, and our five judges were very impressed. Still, it’s always sad to watch some of the most ambitious submissions get eliminated due to poor folds or missing dots in solid areas. Among the most common flaws were color variations from page to page, particularly noticeable on tabs and crossovers. (More than once a judge was heard to utter, “someone needs to shoot

Making the Grade at Charlotte-Mecklenburg

FOR ALVIN Griffin, director of Graphic Production for North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, and proud owner of a new Xerox iGen3 digital press, a K-12 in-plant stays in the good graces of the superintendent for one primary reason. “We’re dedicated to their needs,” he says. “We provide the support documents for the teachers and the administration. We provide documents used by the students. Ultimately, our goals are aligned with the goals of everyone else in the organization: Education.” Keeping aligned with the goals of the organization became especially important with the arrival of a new superintendent, Peter Gorman. After 100 days at the helm

Much More Than Print

As a research and marketing firm for life insurance and financial organizations, LIMRA International hosts quite a few conferences—more than 20 a year. When it needs conference brochures and programs, the Windsor, Conn.-based company naturally turns to its in-plant. But printing isn’t this in-plant’s only skill. Called Business Services, the 13-employee operation also provides multimedia services: photography, video recording/editing, PowerPoint support and CD/DVD creation. So for each of LIMRA’s conferences, the in-plant may check speakers’ PowerPoints and fix problems, put those presentations on CD, videotape the sessions, edit them, add music, burn them onto DVDs, print labels and accompanying brochures and mail them. When

Pushing the Envelope

IN-PLANTS WITH mail imaging capabilities do more than address their customers’ mail; they offer their clients added convenience and improved service, which ultimately leads to satisfied customers. “The main advantage is that one of our departments can come to us, hand the project to us and they are done. We address it, tab it, fold it and mail it. We take care of it all,” says Dwayne Weaver, manager of campus mail at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Ga. Today’s mail imaging equipment can go way beyond simple addressing. Some in-plants are equipped to print colors, graphics and a variety of fonts

Shape of Things to Come

THE GREATEST opportunity to increase your print revenues is sitting smack in the middle of the U.S. Postal Service’s postage rate increase next month. The USPS is proposing that we change the way we calculate the postage on First Class mail. Currently, postage rates are based on the weight of the piece: one ounce, two ounces, etc. But in May the First Class rates are proposed to be calculated using a combination of weight and shape. This is not a new concept coming from the USPS. In fact, weight/shape-based rate calculations have been in place for Standard mail since 1992. Essentially, the USPS

Sharing Enables High-tech Upgrade

Though it has just seven employees, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Printing Services installed a new HP Indigo 3050 digital press last August. How? By agreeing to use it for both academic and production purposes. “The educational tie-in was the primary reason we got this press,” testifies John M. Reinders, applied print technology instructor. “It was purchased by our academic program with the understanding that we would use the press. Without this connection with our printing program we would not have this device on our floor.” When the press isn’t being used to prepare students for digital print careers, it is busy producing full-color printing for the

Steve Goodman Passes Away

Steve Goodman, director of Campus Services at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has died of cancer. He was 58. Well known among attendees of the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) conference, Mr. Goodman took the UIS position in April 2001 after spending 15 years as manager of print and mail services at California State University in Fresno. When asked, in a 2001 interview, why he chose to stay in the in-plant industry rather than move to the commercial sector, he remarked, “The in-plant allows you to actively work with an organization and help an organization grow.” And that’s exactly what he strived to

The Changing Face of Quick Printing

THE QUICK printing market doesn’t bear a lot of resemblance to the little “mom and pop” shops that opened on the corner back in the 1960s. The small quick printer was typically identified with a franchise network and was doing work that was “down and dirty.” Today’s market consists of a series of high-tech wizards, all striving for profitable business in the enterprise market. In-plants need to ask themselves, “Am I competing with quick printers for work that could otherwise be produced in the in-plant? Are there emerging sources of competition I haven’t thought about?” THEN AND NOW Ten years ago, the term