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Oldham installs MGI digital press

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Springfield, IL-The Oldham Group, a leading supplier of prepress, pressroom, bindery, and large format supplies and equipment has installed an MGI Meteor DP60 Pro digital press at Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. (BTSB). The Meteor DP60 Pro is the first digital press that has successfully adhered on the cover material BTSB requires for its books.

Bound To Stay Bound Books, Inc. founded in 1920 in Jacksonville, Illinois, is a third-generation family-owned business and the world's foremost prebinder of juvenile books, constructed according to strict standards of the Library Binding Institute. School libraries select from an inventory of nearly 18,000 titles and 1.5 million books with covers that are guaranteed to last for 100 circulations.

BTSB's process involves purchasing new children's books from publishers, removing and scanning the covers, printing the artwork onto an expensive poly/cotton buckram, binding it, and recreating hardbound books. The buckram material, manufactured exclusively for BTSB with an acrylic topcoat, is printed on an offset press with inks that are able to adhere to the covers. Initial press runs on new titles are typically 150 covers, with reprints of 50 or more. BTSB prints 25 overs to assure adequate color. For small reprints, there are color variations from the first to the last sheet.

BTSB had been trying to print digitally for 15-20 years. The count per title has decreased, resulting in smaller print runs that are inefficient for offset printing. The buckram has a cloth look and is attractive, but BTSB was not able to find a digital press whose toner could adhere to it.

"For 30 years we have had an excellent relationship with The Oldham Group. They are progressive and always look for new directions we can take," explains Kathy Mansell, BTSB Supervisor, Printing Department. "When they saw the new MGI Meteor DP60 Pro press, they were excited. The MGI press is designed to print on multiple substrates, and ours is compatible. Their toner is specially formulated, and an IR dryer heats the substrate to help fuse toner onto the substrate. MGI and Oldham did successful testing with our buckram, and suggested that we invest in the press."

Oldham sent several field service engineers to train at MGI's Florida facility, and was actively involved with MGI during the installation at BTSB. Oldham has been instrumental helping with software and hardware support-particularly the RIP. They have also been helpful with supplies.

By the second day of running production, BTSB was printing more titles than on the offset press. With their offset press, BTSB could print about 21 titles per day on an eight or ten hour shift, and the conventional offset inks would take several days to dry. Now, on the MGI digital press, they are able to print up to 40 titles daily, and they are immediately ready for the next process.

The Meteor DP60 Pro's outstanding print quality and consistency ensures that the first print looks just like the last one. "It's all very exciting. The first cover out is ready to go and they all look beautiful. They look exactly the same as the original jacket artwork. They have even coverage and are clear and crisp," comments Mansell. "With different offset press operators, we also have color variations. We can run heavy blue today and red tomorrow. Not any more. With the MGI press, everything is consistent."

BTSB stores plates for reprints, often reused as many as five times. The plates get gum streaks and scratches. BTSB needs to inspect every cover for printing flaws. When the covers do have ink scum or flaws, BTSB can clean the covers and continue to use them-a very expensive process. With digital, the cleaning is gone.

It's costly to use an offset press and run 10-15 more covers. It's more efficient to make reprints on the digital press. The MGI press also helps to keep inventory levels lower. Of course, with the MGI press, jobs are not plated and stripped. BTSB can decide to print a job on the offset or digital press.

The higher volume work still goes to the offset press, but BTSB expects that 30-50% of its work will go to the digital press.

"The MGI digital press not only allows us to make attractive and beautiful books-it allows us to explore new business directions, such as on-demand or variable data jobs for our sales department. We appreciate the role Oldham and MGI have played in the improvement of our business model and our future opportunities," concludes Mansell.




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