Fannon Printing Receives Two Premier Print Awards
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Press release from the issuing company(August 19, 2008) A decision made nearly a year ago is paying off in big dividends for family-owned Fannon Printing of Alexandria, Virginia. After an extensive research process, the owners decided to install a ROLAND 500 series press. One of the benefits from that acquisition will be realized on October 26 when Daniel Fannon accepts two prestigious "Benny" awards at the annual dinner during Graph Expo in Chicago.
"We're entering our company's 40th year of doing business and winning two Bennys is a great way to start," Fannon said. "Meeting high-end quality demands have always been our forte, whether it is annual reports, brochures, upscale packaging or 'coffee table' books. With our new manroland press, we do so in less time with less waste and a lot less stress."
Winning not just one but two Bennys certainly seems to affirm the "high-end quality" aspect of Fannon's statement. The worked cited was an Annual Report for the National Mediation Board and a Soft-Cover Book produced for T.C. Williams High School, the school on which the film "Remember the Titans" is based. Both jobs were run on the ROLAND 500 series 6-color press with coater.
"We wanted a press with the speed and flexibility to handle anything we could throw at it," commented Fannon. "We thoroughly researched presses from two other manufacturers and the ROLAND 500 over the course of about 18 months. We came to the conclusion that manroland was the company we wanted to do business with. Rather than trying to 'sell' us a machine, they really seemed to understand our business; what a printer's dealing with and what's important to us."
The annual Premier Print Awards are sponsored by the Printing Industry Association Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF). This year more than 4,200 entries were received from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Rim. Fannon will be accompanied by his mother, Mary Ellis Fannon, who helped start the business, when he collects the bronze statuettes of Benjamin Franklin at the PIA/GATF awards dinner.
Printer attains greater success with ROLAND 500
Fannon's feat proves that you don't have to be big to get noticed. A dozen employees turn out highly diverse jobs, many of which are short- to medium-run, print-on-demand projects in a facility just shy of 10,000 sq. ft. in size.
The company was founded in 1969 by Fannon's father, the late Jim Fannon, a business forms salesman who initially considered an "instant print" franchise.
"When he came home and told me he wanted to open his own printing operation, I thought he had lost his mind," recalls Mary Ellis Fannon, who remains active in the business. "Neither Jim nor I knew anything about printing. But we borrowed $10,000 on a handshake and started the business."
In 1982, the firm moved to its present location and in 1986, bought a used Miehle 1982-model, 40-inch 6-color press.
"Our emphasis always has been on quality, not quantity," notes Mrs. Fannon. "And we've had great, skilled pressmen."
Daniel Fannon concurs. "We've managed to deliver award-winning work (including a Benny for an annual report in 2006) with aging equipment, but it took time to get there, very often with overtime. Although we have complete color management throughout the shop, getting the presses to hold color sometimes had us pulling our hair out. We wasted a lot of paper, time and energy."
A couple of years ago, they decided a new press was a must.
People and purchasing process earn manroland kudos
What sold them on manroland? Turns out it was more than just the machinery.
"About 80-90 percent of our work originates with creative design or ad agencies," Fannon remarked. "Designers often push the envelope in choosing stocks as well as color, coatings, and other combinations in order to achieve a unique, high-end look. They are very critical of the work because they know what print's supposed to look like, so they demand for it to look that way.
"It seemed like we really meant something to manroland," continued Fannon. "They really wanted to work with us and help us be successful. They also seemed more concerned about quality, all the way from standards and specifications in their production facility to what they deliver when it's on your floor."
Fannon had the three press manufacturers provide demonstrations, ROI projections and the like for consideration. With the ROLAND 500 demonstrations, Fannon says he was impressed by "the ease with which it handled our forms. The press didn't have a hard time with any of it. Also, manroland's ROI was the most thorough and transparent, easy to follow and understand. I could 'shoot holes in it'; find issues, raise questions, and we would come up with viable options."
New "creative-friendly" press installed without missing a beat
Fitting the new press into relatively tight quarters required elevating the catwalk and peripherals, which the manroland installation team took in stride. "We planned to be down a couple of weeks during installation," Mary Ellis Fannon said, noting the manroland team had a better idea. "They kept the 40-inch Miehle operating with a diesel generator running outside so we wouldn't have any downtime."
"The new ROLAND 500 is very creative-friendly. Make-readies are great," Fannon emphasized. With automated press features such as plate changing, ink/water settings, stock thickness setup and wash-up for blanket and impression cylinders, he said having "artificial intelligence in the make-readies" was a pleasant surprise.
"When you make changes in prepress, this machine learns with you. It remembers the next time and does things for you, saving time on subsequent runs. You're 90 percent there, right away, on most setups. You can easily save an hour per job."
Noting that every press sooner or later has problems of some sort, Fannon says "the key is how your provider deals with adversity. In terms of both speed and expertise, manroland couldn't be better. They have great people doing service."
Delivering high-end work with a distinctly "green" tint
"We're really hitting our stride with this press," Fannon said. "We find ourselves experimenting, doing different screenings, pushing to see what more it can do. We handle more jobs more efficiently, with better production than I ever anticipated."
Fannon said that while 80 percent of the workload in many shops is on coated stock, "we are the opposite. About 80 percent is uncoated and we're pushing use of more recycled papers. In fact, we recently ordered 20,000 lbs. of 100 percent recycled. As long as we can get the 'look' we're getting now, everyone wins. And we're getting it without UV, which also makes us a bit unusual. Although UV doesn't have VOCs, there are other environmental issues that concern us. Most of the inks we use are vegetable or soy-based. Our process inks are 60 percent vegetable or soy. All of our PMS inks are 100 percent from renewable resources."
Fannon said a future Open House event for customers may be in the offing in 2009. Showing off their trio of Bennys, additional PIA Premier Print Awards of Re-cognition and Certificates of Merit, as well as other awards earned over the years, will be part of it. Showing off the quality of their work for clients, however, along with the press and the Fannon people turning out that work, are the big draw.
"The press has more than lived up to our expectations, and we're delivering for clients much easier now," Fannon said.
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