“If You Can’t Do It, Don’t Proceed”: CIM Rides to the Rescue
Heidelberg sent the following anecdote about a printer who beat a seemingly impossible deadline with the help of computer integrated manufacturing (
By Patrick Henry
Published: May 19, 2009
Heidelberg sent the following anecdote about a printer who beat a seemingly impossible deadline with the help of computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) solutions that Heidelberg sells under the brand name Prinect. We post it not as a commercial for or an endorsement of the products mentioned, but as a revealing case study of the truly remarkable efficiencies that digitally controlled printing workflows are now capable of achieving for printing companies of all sizes. Have a similar case history of your own? Please let us share it here. Around 8 a.m. one Wednesday morning, Jim Sullivan, president of Millennium Press in Agawam, MA, was working on an estimate when the web connect logo in Prinect Direct Access started to flash, indicating that Millennium had just received a shopping cart order for 20,000 4/4, aqueous coated 8.5" x 11" flyers on 100# Gloss Text, cut and boxed. A PDF was supplied with the order. “We need the order today because it is being inserted into the newspaper,” the customer noted. “If you can’t do it, don’t proceed.” Sullivan, whose 18-person shop relies heavily on Heidelberg’s Prinect collection of workflow software modules, decided that the job was doable. “After bringing the customer-supplied PDF into Prepress Manager,” he said, “we RIPped the file and supplied the customer with an automated proof via Prinect Remote Access. It was quickly approved, after which the job was off to MetaDimension to create an imposition proof.” When the proof was output, however, Sullivan noticed that the customer’s geometry was off on the second page. No problem, he explained: “We simply opened the PDF in Prepress Manager, made a quick adjustment, and sent the file for plating.” A Heidelberg Suprasetter 75 platesetter ran the plates while the pressman finished the current job and set up the new one according to the electronic JDF job ticket he had already received from Prepress Manager. After that, said Sullivan, the job—a 5,000 sheet run per side—was “a piece of cake” as a work-and-turn on the shop’s Speedmaster XL 75 press. Last stop for the job was a POLAR 115XT Autotrim cutter. After boxing the flyers, Sullivan said, “we called the customer for pickup at our dock just three hours and 49 minutes after the order was received. They thought we were joking!" Sullivan had these further observations: No CSR was involved. Because the DirectAccess shopping cart was used, “the job specifications were already loaded and the estimate linked to those specifications, so the customer knew the price up front.” The job was in prepress for less than 10 minutes. “Had the customer’s geometry been correct, even less time would have been needed.” The multi-cassette loading Suprasetter 75 ran unsupervised, thanks to the platesetter's automatic loading and stacking features. Just one operator was required to man the Speedmaster SM 75 with Prinect Inpress Control, which Sullivan called “one of the most amazing products to hit the press since the introduction of closed-loop, color-reading systems. It takes the pressman’s focus off the task of watching color so he can concentrate on overall sheet quality.” Cutting data was sent automatically from Prinect Prepress Manager to the Compucut software in the POLAR 115XT Autotrim cutter, saving time, lowering costs, and enabling uninterrupted production. Pointing out that the job “flowed through the plant in the normal course of business” without disrupting or displacing ongoing work, Sullivan said that Millennium’s embrace of CIM via Prinect has been the key to the company’s burgeoning production capacity and its ability to do more with less. “We believe that CIM is the future of print, and we prove it every day in a real manufacturing environment, on live jobs with real deadlines,” he said.