Moquin Press, an $11 million trade printer located in Belmont, CA, reserves the highest praise for Heidelberg’s Prinect Color Management service, which includes both the Prinect Health Check and Prinect Press Optimization services.
While the advantages of color management—the science of harmonizing the different color characteristics of the various devices that proof and print color—are generally well known, Heidelberg’s Print Color Management consultation program (PCM) goes far beyond the standard definition by emphasizing consistency of output on carefully tested, precisely calibrated printing equipment, taking the age and condition of the equipment into account. PCM is also the key to full integration of the press, the color measurement system, and the workflow. PCM is helpful in any prepress or press department where third-party or Heidelberg solutions are used.
Health Check and Press Optimization
PCM typically begins with a free telephone consultation with a PCM specialist, who will design a program to suit the printer’s specific needs. Next, a comprehensive “Health Check”—also available as a standalone module—assesses the basic color reproduction capabilities of the press: how evenly it can lay down a film of ink across the sheet without ink key tweaking. The printed ink film is measured spectrally, and press conditions causing any variations in ink thickness are corrected. Later, the Health Check test form is used—typically on a quarterly basis—to keep up with the changes that occur naturally in the print process. The Health Check is a beneficial tool for all machines.
Conducted subsequent to the Health Check and also available as a standalone module, Heidelberg’s Prinect Press Optimization Service ensures quicker up-to-color and enables accurate, efficient use of color measurement devices by optimizing the color presetting profiles stored within the machine’s control system. Productivity is improved by tuning these profiles to the production conditions in a given print shop.
Made to Order
The overall goal of PCM is to leave the printer with a press that prints to color requirements consistently, and to teach the printer how to maintain these quality improvements. If the process reveals that optional software modules or press upgrades would clearly support the plant's own quality and efficiency objectives, the PCM team will make these recommendations.
The scope of services dictates the length of the program, but a typical PCM program can take from a few days to a week to carry out. Expedited testing means that the press won't be off line any longer than necessary. Staff time is conserved, except for the training that is the heart of the PCM concept. At Moquin, for example, key press and prepress personnel logged two weeks in the classroom with Heidelberg color experts, learning the science and methodology of color. In the next phase, Moquin’s six day and night shift operators began working with the presses to apply what they had learned.
“We’re A Better Company Today”
This in-depth service was carried out by Heidelberg PCM specialists on Moquin’s conventional and UV Speedmaster XL 105 and Speedmaster CD 74 presses - each equipped with Heidelberg’s Prinect Image Control spectrophotometric measurement and control system.
“Not only does Heidelberg make the best equipment in the world, but it also offers a variety of professional services to make it run at peak efficiency,” said company president, Greg Moquin. “When PCM was explained to us, it made so much sense that we decided to go ahead. I can say without a doubt that we are a better company today for doing it.”
As the economy began to sour in recent years, Moquin wisely focused his attention on boosting the company’s efficiency and reducing or eliminating waste in all forms. In fact, it was Moquin’s implementation of lean manufacturing practices that led directly to its investigation of Prinect Color Management.
“When it comes to color management, one size does not fit all. Consequently, Heidelberg’s Print Color Management program is unique for each end user, based on the characteristics and condition of the equipment they operate,” said Ulirich Koehler, Senior Vice President Service. “We build the program to fit the printer’s specific needs and budget, with the goal of helping them achieve their individual quality and efficiency objectives with a significant return on investment.”
Return on Investment
PCM pays off in the form of makeready reductions that result in immediate savings in the costs of paper, consumables, and labor. Many printers who have taken advantage of Heidelberg’s PCM service have seen their typical makeready waste decline from more than 1,000 sheets to as few as 250 or 300 sheets, a cost reduction that can add up quickly in a busy plant. In some cases, PCM has yielded annual savings of up to $350,000. Every printer who has applied PCM has realized savings well in excess of the cost of the service.
“We are experiencing the full benefit of our PCM training now,” Moquin said. “Based on the results we’re seeing, we would have been crazy not to enlist Heidelberg’s help. Having taken advantage of these services, we can achieve color faster; our consistency is vastly improved; and our waste in time, labor and materials is way down. In addition, our productivity is up substantially, and all types of jobs are easier across the board. As investments go, this one has been worth every penny and every minute we spent.” In terms of building the company’s consistency in equipment and personnel, “We have a number of dedicated pressmen here who are driving this effort in our shop,” Moquin explained. “I expect peer pressure to make a big difference in the implementation and perpetuation of these concepts and a process of continuous improvement.” Going forward, he said, “We also expect to call on Heidelberg periodically to refresh our knowledge and make sure we take full advantage of these benefits on an ongoing basis.”
Since 1988, Moquin has furnished Bay Area printers, print brokers, in-house print shops and designers with specialty printing, die cutting, foil stamping and finishing capabilities. The company operates two Speedmaster XL 105 presses, a 6-color Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 and a 4-color Heidelberg GTO, as well as three programmable POLAR cutters, a pair of continuous-feed Stahlfolders, and an Easygluer 100 folder-gluer.
The benefits of PCM can be quantified using Heidelberg’s Print Color Management Savings Simulator at sso.us.heidelberg.com/pcm/roi_calc.asp, where printers can plug in their current data on number of pulls, waste sheets, makereadies per shift, and other job cost parameters. A click of the “calculate” button likely will reveal a significant difference in job costs both before and after PCM.