September 2007 Issue
SCOTT NELSON was a high school freshman when printing first caught his eye. He was touring his school’s vocational programs, and something about the dark room and the old Multi presses excited him. He started classes the next year. Nearly four decades later, the excitement is still there. Today, Nelson is supervisor of the 10-employee in-plant at Otter Tail Power Co., one of the largest employers in his home town of Fergus Falls, Minn. He started there as a summer intern in 1970, acting on a tip from the father of his girlfriend (now his wife). After graduating the next
The demand for four-color work has jumped considerably at South Dakota State University—from 3 percent of the in-plant’s volume up to 22 percent. “A good share of that has been driven by the color copier,” remarks Dennis Lundgren, printing production manager, referring to his Xerox 250. With only a pair of two-color presses available to take on this color work, the 14-employee shop had been doing a lot of outsourcing. That all changed in March when the Brookings-based in-plant added a six-color, 22x28˝ Akiyama press with a coater. To save money and time on the front end, the in-plant also replaced its imagesetter with a Fuji
Xerox has unveiled a digital printing paper that reportedly uses half as many trees as traditional paper, while lowering the cost to mail printed material. Xerox High Yield Business Paper was developed by scientists and engineers at the Xerox Media and Compatibles Technology Center, a Webster, N.Y.-based lab devoted to paper innovation. The mechanical fiber paper reportedly overcomes operational problems, such as curling and dust, which can prevent mechanical fiber papers from being used with digital print devices. High Yield Business Paper uses 90 percent of the tree versus only 45 percent being used to create traditional digital printing paper. It requires less water and
YOU JUST completed a true printed masterpiece. Maybe it is all about the history of your company or university. For the excellence of the job done, you receive many compliments. Then comes the ultimate question from the top: could we have this masterpiece bound into an attractive hardcover binding? After all, as everyone is aware, clever “packaging,” called binding, enhances every printed product. In-Plant Graphics, in its April article on digital book production, concluded that the future for on-demand books is indeed very encouraging. These days, thanks to clever software and digital printing equipment, it is relative easy to put together a book.
WITH A sigh of relief and a self-congratulatory pat on the back, commercial printers and their representatives, including leadership of PIA/GATF, NAPL and NAQP, welcomed the news that Adobe had agreed to remove the contentious “Print to FedEx Kinko’s” button from the current versions of Adobe Acrobat and Reader. In-plant managers were also appreciative—but do they stand to benefit from Adobe’s action? That remains to be seen. Adobe leadership, in an August 1 conference call, lived up to the promise made at the company’s July 17 forum with printing industry leadership to “re-evaluate” the button and its contractual agreement with FedEx Kinko’s. Adobe announced
THE GIRLS and Boys Town Print Shop recently received a cornucopia of graphic arts delights that would make even the largest commercial printer envious.
The seven-employee in-plant, located just outside of Omaha, took ownership of a two-color Heidelberg Quickmaster 46 press, a two-color Hamada H248CX press, a Mitsubishi DPX2 platesetter, a Xerox DocuColor 8000 and a Xerox 250.
Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) plans to overhaul its document management systems with an array of new Xerox equipment. Not only will the 56,000-student school replace laser printers, stand-alone copiers and fax machines on its four campuses with 160 new multifuction devices, it will upgrade the digital printers in its 13-employee Printing Services department. The in-plant will swap its older Xerox DocuTech 6135 for a new model with Xerox FreeFlow MakeReady software, which will allow the shop to more easily provide variable data printing of recruitment materials. Printing Services will also receive a Nuvera printer to improve the quality of its black-and-white printing. On
Bob Jones University has replaced an aging one-color Ryobi press with a two-color Heidelberg Printmaster QM 46. The new small-format press will handle some of the smaller jobs that were previously being produced on the Greenville, S.C., in-plant’s eight-color Speedmaster SM 102 with coater. “We’ve seen a definite step up in quality,” says Operations Manager Jim Golla. Established in 1955, the 65-employee in-plant also boasts a Hantscho Mark 16 web offset press, which it uses to produce book components for Christian textbooks. In addition, the shop handles brochures, magazines, letterheads and other materials. On the digital side it runs a Xerox DocuTech 6180.
When the lease on his in-plant’s Xerox DocuColor 2045 was nearing its end, Joe Geffre started shopping around. Not only did he want the quality printing (and variable data capabilities) that a more modern device would provide, he knew that the students in his school’s graphic arts program would benefit from using state-of-the-art technology—and his shop’s 13-year-old Xeikon digital press was becoming more antiquated by the day. “We wanted to make sure that the kids are trained on the latest and greatest,” says Geffre, director of Mail and Document Services at Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport, Pa. His 10-employee print and mail operation
FOR YEARS, I dreamed about becoming a publisher. I actually set out in 1989 on the path to becoming a printer just so I could be a publisher. If it hadn’t been for that desire, I probably would never have become a printer. You see, I am a fiction writer, and printing just naturally seemed to be the right path for me. Recently, I made the move from pressroom foreman to assistant superintendent of printing at Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, Ill. The daily grind of inking up plates and printing was replaced with scheduling, pricing and the assorted before-and-after stuff we all do
“I market for the same reason a pilot keeps his engines running once he is off the ground.” – William Wrigley Jr. IS MARKETING taken as seriously as it should be by your in-plant? After all, you’ve got a captive audience, right? Wrong! You’ve no doubt heard about outsourcing attacks. I’m not about to tell you they’re all due to an absence of promotional activities. What I will say is that in-plants that create and foster a positive awareness program among their “stakeholders” have the best shot at being successful. For our purposes, I’ll define stakeholders as: • Supporters: administrators and executives
After multiple delays, the 65 employees of Purdue University Printing Services have finally moved into their new home, a freshly built 29,000-square-foot structure about a mile south of their previous facility. Not only is it 7,000 square feet larger—with access to existing docks in an adjacent building and a garage for loading delivery vans—the new plant allows workflow advantages undreamed of in the old building. The previous facility, which had housed the in-plant for 36 years, was shaped like a long rectangle, so jobs often had to be moved long distances to reach the next stage in the process. Some employees who needed to communicate
VERY YEAR, the City of Los Angeles Publishing Services holds an open house to show off its capabilities and meet its customers. This year’s event had a very special twist: it celebrated the in-plant’s 100th year of existence. Established in 1907 with two police officers working part time, the city’s in-plant has flourished over the past century to become a 47-employee operation incorporating some of the latest digital technologies. Only a handful of in-plants can boast 100 years of operation, and Publishing Services made the most of this accomplishment at its recent open house. The event celebrated the rich history of the shop
“Puffy.” That’s how Charles Tyree describes the books produced by his in-plant’s previous saddle stitcher. Without a score on the folds, the pages of thick books bulged outward—not a very professional look for Virginia Tech’s publications. Tyree, director of Printing Services for the past 13 years at the Blacksburg, Va., university, says his staff was never quite satisfied with that stitcher, which it added in 1999 to replace a four-pocket Macy stitcher. “It didn’t trim three sides, it didn’t give us tight enough folds and it didn’t have vacuum feed in the pockets,” he says. Plus it was slow. “We wanted
IS ANYONE else tired of reading about Adobe? You know exactly what I’m talking about (and if you don’t, Rip Van Winkle, just check your in-box for the past month). Everyone’s weighing in on the Adobe/FedEx Kinko’s deal these days, and I swore I wouldn’t add to the deluge, but now here I go. Really, all I want to say is this: A “Print at FedEx Kinko’s” button, by itself, is not going to kill your in-plant—unless you help the process by doing a terrible job marketing it (and a worse job producing work). Let’s face it, if your customers are pleased with
AS ALTERNATIVE media threaten print volumes, in-plants must take another look at their business models and adapt to the changing business climate. Revenue growth will depend on cost reduction through new workflow efficiencies, as well as new revenue sources from value-added services. Although hardware improvements will certainly play a role in advancing these objectives, the software driving these devices—along with other workflow solutions—will allow printers to differentiate themselves. Research indicates a growing divide between service providers that are growing their businesses and those that see their businesses in decline. Those who “get it” understand that continued growth depends on a three-pronged approach: