Courier Set To Install A Second LITHOMAN, First MAN Roland Generates New Business
Press release from the issuing company
Kendallville, Indiana — A major expansion of Courier Corporation’s four-color book production facility here has paid off in a market share gain that has prompted the company to order a second LITHOMAN IV web press from MAN Roland.
The decision to install a twin to the company’s existing four-color, 48-page system comes only six months after the start-up of the first press. “We are increasing capacity to serve our customers' needs,” says Joe Brennan, Courier’s Vice President of Engineering. “We specified a second LITHOMAN based upon the success of the first.”
According to Courier, which is headquartered in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, four-color is the fastest growing segment of the educational book market. The reason: providing full-color photography and illustrations in their books is one of the best ways publishers can engage students and complement other educational materials that are increasingly produced in electronic formats.
“We try to figure out what our customers need to be successful,” says Peter Tobin, Executive Vice President of Courier’s book manufacturing business. “We identify their growth opportunities and then apply technology to best address their needs. Our new presses are an example of that process in action.”
Courier Chairman and CEO James F. Conway III says that his company is moving forward: “Courier invested aggressively to expand by offering our customers state-of-the-art printing technology from MAN Roland. That investment was a vote of confidence in the market, in our customers, and in the ability of our workforce. Six months after the press's startup last spring, that confidence has been rewarded, as the new press has rapidly approached 100% utilization thanks to strong demand for four-color textbooks and growing commitments from key customers.”
Brennan reports that the first LITHOMAN IV, with its ability to produce a 48-page signature with each revolution of its cylinders, has doubled Kendallville’s four-color book printing capacity.
Other areas of the plant’s workflow had to be reconfigured to coincide with the arrival of Kendallville’s first MAN Roland. “The centerpiece of the project is our new LITHOMAN press,” Brennan observes. “But it involves more than just adding a press; we’ve also expanded our CTP capacity in prepress, increased our warehouse space by 65% and made a myriad of facilities changes in order to accommodate the new press.”
The growth process will continue at the Indiana facility from now until the end of 2005. That’s when the second LITHOMAN IV is scheduled to be up and running.
Sybella Wilder, Courier Kendallville’s Plant Manager, points out that the press had to be producing in time for the new title publishing season. “When the first MAN Roland came on line it was perfectly timed for our busy spring,” she says. “In fact, it was loaded to near capacity from day one.“
The plant manager credits MAN Roland training for helping to make the first LITHOMAN productive right from the start. She anticipates that the second press’ introduction to Courier’s 24/7 production schedule will be even more impressive: “I expect they will begin training on our existing MAN Roland very early in the project time line. This will provide us with an even faster ramp-up on the second press.”
Courier’s next LITHOMAN IV will have a configuration that’s identical to its first. It will feature a web width of 57.48 inches and a 22.75 inch cutoff. Its printing units will feed a MAN Roland PFI-3/2 2:3:3 jaw folding system. And like all new LITHOMAN presses, its Shaftless AC Drive System will promote easier web-ups and smoother, more consistent operation. The top speed of the press is 35,000 impressions per hour.
With its first LITHOMAN, Courier is realizing rapid gains in throughput thanks to a range of automated features that are integrated into the press. Wilder says: “We have actually exceeded the productivity ramp we had established for the first six months.”
The press is operated from MAN Roland’s PECOM extended control system that includes the automation modules ProductionManager, PresetManager and PrepressLink. The package forms the basis of a Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) network that allows Courier press crews to preset upcoming jobs while current work is running in order to maximize press uptime.
Wilder claims that this online, off-press feature helps save time on start up. “There's also an ‘intangible’ time savings in the fact that the crews aren't making minute adjustments during start up,” she says. “The settings are already made!”
The advanced automation also enables the press to set its own ink profiles directly from CIP3 Print Production Format prepress data for additional makeready savings. Plus, PECOM provides Courier’s management with an array of production monitoring tools to conduct in-depth performance analysis. “PECOM gives us the ability to track the press's performance by pointing out areas having opportunity for improvement,” Wilder says. “It also highlights our strengths.”
The plant manager’s staff is also impressed with LITHOMAN’s capabilities. “The crews in Kendallville are very proud to be running our first MAN Roland press, which we call MAN 1,” she says. “They realize that the investment in MAN Roland equipment is an investment in Courier's long term strategy and are very proud to be associated with such an important project. The entire pressroom is looking forward to MAN 2.”
Courier has been manufacturing books since its founding in 1824. In recent years, the company has grown to become the nation’s sixth largest book manufacturer. “That puts us in a unique place,” Tobin observes. “We’re big enough to make any kind of book and in any quantity, yet we are flexible and we provide the highest level of customer service.”
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