Commercial Printer Meets Changing Print Demands with New Goss Sunday 2000 and QuadTech Auxiliaries
Press release from the issuing company
Geographics (Geo) is one of the largest independent commercial printers in the southeastern U.S. Its reputation for best-in-class printing attracts customers who need printing for high-quality brochures, annual reports, short-run magazines and other marketing materials. In 2004, the printing firm’s president, Norvin Hagan, realized that Geo had a productivity issue. “In the past, customers wanted to do one run of 800,000 catalogs,” said Mr. Hagan. “Now, our customers still want to print 800,000 catalogs, but in 10 or 12 totally different four-color versions. That changes the economics of printing completely. To keep prices within the range our customers expect to pay, we have to perform makereadies faster and produce less waste. But our equipment just wouldn’t allow us to be more efficient. That’s why we decided new technology was the answer to remaining competitive.”
Changeovers on the Fly
At the core of Geo’s recent $11 million equipment expansion is the Goss (formerly Heidelberg) Sunday 2000 heatset web offset press. Print quality, speed and the ability to quickly and efficiently change the plate on the fly were top selling features of the Sunday 2000, according to Geo’s pressroom manger Bill Turner. “With some of our large accounts needing black plate changes on their jobs, the Sunday 2000 saves equipment stop and start and speeds makeready,” said Mr. Turner. The Sunday 2000’s two flying imprinters, or automatic transfer systems, enable idle printing units to be brought automatically up to speed on the fly, while the other units are running or getting plate changes. This allows Geo to produce long-run jobs while being able to personalize or customize work without stopping the press.
“Some days, we do as many as 15 different changeovers in one shift,” Mr. Turner said. “We try to hold makeready time to three to five minutes. That’s a fast cycle, but when you’re running a press at 2,000 feet per minute, you can waste a lot of paper in five minutes. That’s also where the QuadTech auxiliaries play a huge role by bringing us into register and color fast.”
Superior Control Translates to Reduced Waste
The QuadTech ICON integrated platform enables Geo’s press operators to run press controls for the 6-unit Goss from a single, centralized station. Integrated auxiliaries include the QuadTech Color Control System with Instrument Flight, QuadTech Register Guidance System with Vector, QuadTech Ribbon Control System, QuadTech Data Central and QuadTech Web Guidance System. The fact that QuadTech’s auxiliaries were available in an integrated system was a major selling point, according to Ray Weidele, plant manager for Geo.
“We looked at a number of packages but they weren’t really complete systems,” Mr. Weidele said. “We like the fact that QuadTech offered a dynamic single platform. We use the register and ribbon controls religiously and are extremely happy with how quickly and easily they enable us to get into register. We also made the smart decision to purchase Instrument Flight along with the QuadTech Color Control System. It maintains overall color quality and consistency throughout the run. In fact, I’d have to say that this closed loop color system with gray balance has probably helped the most in cutting our waste figures in half.”
Featuring patented technology pioneered by color specialist System Brunner, the QuadTech Color Control System with Instrument Flight automatically measures and controls more than 30 color attributes and calculates optimum inking. The closed loop system controls with priority to midtone dot gain and three-color gray balance,essential in the types of color-critical, heatset printing Geo does daily.
“Right off the bat, our customers noticed how quickly we get to accurate color,” Mr. Weidele noted. “On several jobs, we’ve had 15-25 press forms. Normally, the customer would look at each one. But, now, they see how quickly and easily we come up to color and how consistent it is and they feel comfortable leaving after the first few proofs. Overall, I think our customers are seeing a better finished product with much better color throughout the run.”
High-Speed Control Increases Productivity
According to Mr. Weidele, the level of control provided by the QuadTech Color Control System and its other auxiliaries is especially critical with the Sunday 2000. “Because the press is 57 inches wide as opposed to a standard 38 inches, and it runs at 2,000 feet per minute, we’re able to produce 50 percent more signatures per cutoff,” Mr. Weidele noted. “With a wider web and that many more pages…if our operators had to handle all that manually, it would be very difficult. The QuadTech controls actually enable us to produce more work with the same amount of people.” Mr. Weidele estimates that productivity has increased 25-30 percent since installation.
“The printing industry is never going to go back to the way it used to be,” Mr. Hagan said. “We’ll continue to see more segmentation, more targeting, more versioning. With all those changeovers, we can’t continue to waste 7,000 sheets per makeready. Without this advanced technology, printers won’t be able to meet customers’ expectations and will be at a real competitive disadvantage.”
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