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Lincoln Press sees growth with Mitsubishi Sheetfed Presses

Monday, November 09, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

DALLAS - You know you are having a good year when there does not seem to be enough hours in the day, even with weekends added in, to dispatch all the print jobs in queue.

"We have been fortunate to be experiencing profitable growth this year," said Gerald Wickliffe Jr., president of Lincoln Press in Dallas. "It is a mixture of orders from our retail and agency clients. Corporate work is starting to break loose. Companies that have been sitting on the sidelines for months are now spending money on printed materials."

Lincoln Press' fortunes and workload in 2009 have gotten a huge boost from two key capital investments. The 28-employee firm installed a 40-inch Mitsubishi Diamond 3000S with ultraviolet (UV) coating capabilities in July 2008 and a 28-inch Diamond 1000LS in August 2009. Both highly automated sheetfed presses are six-color models with coaters.

"Lincoln Press has really benefited from the Mitsubishi presses," Wickliffe said. "They print better than other presses we compared, and the makeready speed is much faster. The majority of our jobs are short-run, high-end, six-color projects so excellent quality and quick makereadies are vitally important to us."

Lincoln Press had been a small commercial shop since its inception in 1989. Wickliffe had every intention of staying with half-size and smaller presses when he acquired the business in 2004, even though his background was in full-size sheetfed and web equipment.

"The company has a good niche turning around color-critical designer and agency work more efficiently than the competition," Wickliffe said. "We have clients from Mexico to New York City to San Francisco. Because of our low overhead, we can produce runs of 1,500 to 2,500 sheets day in and day out cost-effectively."

Customers appreciate the quality and service they receive on the printing of business forms, brochures, pocket folders and direct mail in quantities ranging from 50 to 10,000 pieces. Nevertheless, it became evident to Wickliffe that the firm's 28-inch and 20-inch presses lacked the necessary capacity to push annual sales beyond the $3 million threshold.

Upgrading to the 40-inch Mitsubishi press immediately presented growth opportunities. The Diamond 3000S enables Lincoln Press to deliver faster results with higher quality in shorter timeframes.

"A complete job changeover on the 40-inch Mitsubishi press is two and a half times faster than on a half-size press from another manufacturer," Wickliffe said. "Part of that is attributable to the automation on the press. The other factor is the press is simply easier to makeready. We get to color quicker, and we print cleaner. We typically print 200-line screens with a lot of ink coverage. Longtime clients have commented on the improved color consistency throughout print runs. We aren't fighting the press to keep the color balanced."

The Diamond 3000S is equipped with an inline tower coater for applying UV and aqueous coatings.

"We did not opt for a hybrid coating system to print on plastics," Wickliffe pointed out. "Our goal was to provide higher quality when using uncoated stock and create interesting textures and surface treatments. For instance, one recent project involved raised water droplets on the image of a waterfall. Another project called for a textured surface on a football."

To further enhance its speed and quality, Lincoln Press paired the Diamond 3000S with the Diamond 1000LS.

"The half-size press saves a lot of time on makereadies," Wickliffe said. "Making color changes is quick and easy. It takes very little time for press OKs. We can complete 10 to 12 jobs on this press in a shift."

With the growth spurt that Lincoln Press currently is enjoying, Wickliffe foresees revenues of $10 million by end of year 2010.

"Having the new equipment will allow us to get there without killing ourselves," he said. "The decision to buy new presses and upgrade to the larger size has more than paid off. This was a $1 million operation when I bought it five years ago. We have always been a company that grows, but we have either broken even or earned just a little profit. Right now, we are making a solid profit."




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