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Segerdahl Group grows with ICEserver's ink-saving quality

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Grand Rapids, MI - It's always wise to save, acknowledges John Romita, VP of Operations for Segerdahl Group in Wheeling, Illinois.  Toward that end, he and Pre-Press Manager Tony Ferruzza have evaluated various ink optimization products that promise 20-25% reductions in ink usage.  The ink optimizer that literally caught their eye - ICEserver Litho from FineEye Color Solutions of Grand Rapids, Michigan - works a bit differently.  And it wasn't the ink savings that did it.

The Segerdahl Group is a longtime fixture in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, putting them in the heart of an area that includes many Fortune 500 corporations.  On one campus they operate three facilities with the largest, at 280,000 square-feet, housing nine heatset Web presses and digital pre-press capabilities.  A 104,000 square-foot building offers complete sheetfed printing, high volume bindery and mailing services, while a third 100,000 square-foot property handles logistics.

"When I first saw samples, I really liked the way the sheets looked," asserts Romita.  "I look at it objectively as an artisan.  It's all about quality – quality – quality: color quality, ease to match the proof quicker, get a job on press and achieve that color very quickly.  That's a significant waste reduction.  With ICEserver, you never see 'rainbows' and muddy neutrals that you otherwise find coming off the press."

Ferruzza concurs.  "We've done some calculations; we know we're saving tons of ink, which paid for this product in almost no time.  Check the plates or compare progressive proofs with ICE'd and un-ICE'd files, and ink savings are very apparent. It's amazing how much CMY isn't there.

"Even better, is the way ICEserver pinpoints each item and area of a sheet, and compensates for CMY removal as it brings back the black," Ferruzza continues.  "That's what really sets this product apart.  It works like GCR, but better; it takes unwanted color out.  But the way it puts it back in black, only where needed, gives us more control.  

"For instance, we just did a catalog with lots of neutrals and backgrounds - like green, where red used to contaminate.  But ICE'd files take out the reds and the dirty colors. We don't see mis-register 'rainbows.'  That gives us ink savings and cleaner color.  ICE opens up the backgrounds, giving us excellent product shape, form and detail.  In a jewelry catalog, the rubies are richer, the emeralds are a deeper green; silver rings and the diamonds pop brilliantly."

ICEserver Litho: the secret weapon for high-end jobs
Ferruzza and Romita aren't the only ones who notice upscale output.  For openers, current customers are giving their high-end, high-volume business a boost. 

"Prior to ICE," recalls Ferruzza, "we did a catalog for a customer once in a while.  Now it's virtually every month, maybe 10 forms and 10 million pieces.  We also were doing a small jewelry catalog every month.  Now it's twice a month, with 10-day runs on press.

"We just did a 72-page catalog, an annual project that ran about 500,000 copies a few years ago and now is up to 2.2 million. This year for the first time, we ICE'd the files.  In the past, when the client came in, it was 'tweak this, tweak that' and color OKs were an overnight affair.  With ICE, the customer was in-and-out, period.  We did not touch one plate, redo one curve or make one color correction throughout the job."

Romita considers ICEserver "a unique sales proposition" and, when giving customers or potential clients a tour of the shop, "I always bring them through pre-press and show them what we're doing.  Sometimes Tony will sit down one-on-one and run a set of progs with and without ICE.  ICE is like a secret weapon that benefits them as well as us.  They quickly see the differences and are impressed."

Matching multiple standards, 24/7; improving the customer experience.

Meeting customer expectations starts with matching specifications.  "My standard is the proof," says Romita, acknowledging that, as in most shops, "our customer base is all over the lot.  We are very-very-very good at matching any spec quickly - GRACoL, SWOP, G7 - whatever.  We ICE the plate output, which helps us achieve color very quickly on press.  The neutrals especially are easier to run; our color is very consistent.  ICE may not totally eliminate, but it seriously mitigates, any effect from register-movement fluctuations that inevitably occur during a run.  No rainbows; very nice shape and contrast; clean, detailed output."

Both Romita and Ferruzza note that, while precisely matching customer specs is priority number one on any job, with ICEserver Litho they can push the envelope and extend the color gamut, which can be a plus for many catalog customers. 

"ICE allows me to run up ink and stay within standards," says Ferruzza.  "I used to say you can't control what you can't measure.  Now I say 'keep pushing the density' on, say, jewelry jobs.  Our customers like the better look with more pop and we still save ink!"

In short, with ICEserver Litho at Segerdahl, customers like the quicker approvals and they love the finished results.  ICEserver also makes life easier in other ways.  "Many of the files from customers come in with D-max images at 340, and I want a density of, say, 280,"explains Ferruzza.  "If I have them take the files down, it takes day or two and they have to regroup the images.  Now I don't have to do that anymore.  By the time we're done ICE'ing, I'm down to 280."

At Segerdahl, ICEserver Litho can work every shift, day or night, nonstop.  Ferruzza has set up hot folders on the desktop of each pre-press operator, for the different stocks run in the shop - 60 lb., 80 lb., you name it.  All the operator has to do is drop the non-ICE'd file into the appropriate hot folder, and the file will automatically be optimized (ICE'd) for the specific job.  "It's very user-friendly," he says. "Operators don't even have to know all about ICE.  They just drop the file into a folder."

Payback in faster makereadies, lower plate costs, with no surprises on-press.

Along with thousands of dollars in ink savings, ICEserver payback comes in many more ways, day after day on every ICE'd job.  Faster makereadies, of course.  "I've seen makereadies that would take 10-12 hours, cut down to an hour," says Ferruzza.  "Once when they needed 10 pulls to get up to color, now they're up on the first pull."

Fast, hassle-free client signoff gets every job on-press quicker and, ultimately, out the door.  In the process, reduced plate wear and resulting savings add up for Segerdahl, too.  "On longer runs before ICE, we needed to change plates at 300,000-400,000 impressions," reveals Ferruzza.  "Now it's 800,000 to one million."

Perhaps best of all, there are no surprises on-press.  "Run stability is superb," he says.  "My neutrals stay perfectly gray.  There's no apparent effect from registration color shifts during the job.  Customers love what they see, and that's what they get.  I think ICE is a step or two ahead of everybody else.  It's a phenomenal product that does a phenomenal job."

Sums up Romita:  "We're very satisfied.  ICEserver helps us keep the presses running and grow more business.  Ink savings are a bonus."




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