MasterTag Increases Net Output, Cuts Waste with Heidelberg PCM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Press release from the issuing company
MasterTag (Montague, MI), an international producer of horticultural care tags and merchandising solutions, recently enlisted Heidelberg's Print Color Management color consultation program (PCM) to eliminate internal finger-pointing and waste to reduce production costs and drive efficiency.
Waste reduction is a key driver of continuous improvement at MasterTag, which uses a variety of costly synthetic materials subject to swelling and shrinkage, dot gain, fluctuating dyne levels, and other variables. The last thing the company needed was to risk generating additional waste by leaving any aspect of its critical color management efforts to chance.
"Our goal was to enable our staff to understand the color space we work in," said MasterTag president Nick Ferris. "It was less about the machines and more about defining and working within a given color space as an organization. The benefit for us lay in reliable continuous operating performance, more efficient production, and the highest possible quality of the products our customers receive. We were looking for a significant return on our investment."
Continuous Improvement Objectives
Heidelberg "builds" a unique Print Color Management program for each end user, based on the characteristics and condition of the equipment they operate. In every instance, 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. PCM also is the key to full integration of the press, color measurement system, and workflow.
At MasterTag, the process involved the company's 2011 Speedmaster XL 75 UV perfector with Inpress Control and AutoPlate XL, and a 2009 Speedmaster CD 74 with Axis Control. The company also runs Heidelberg's Prinect workflow and output to plating. Prinect Pressroom Manager automatically calculates the color presetting data and communicates them, together with additional job information, to the company's integrated presses and color measurement systems.
According to Ferris, specific benefits of PCM program at MasterTag included a 30 percent reduction in makeready waste and higher net outputs. As a result, he said, "We deliver what our customers expect, and have reduced or eliminated the need for color checks."
Eager to extend the benefits of PCM across the business, MasterTag adopted what Ferris termed a "holistic" approach to its implementation. The biggest challenge, Ferris reported, was getting everyone in the company to speak the same language about color control and quality.
"Beyond training an individual subject matter expert we could rely to spread the PCM gospel internally, we brought it directly to our design and preproduction personnel, as well as to our production staff," Ferris said. "Our success with PCM is a byproduct of our inclusive education." Consequently, while a typical PCM program takes from a few days to a week to carry out, MasterTag's needs dictated a broader scope of service. Assisted by Heidelberg PCM team, the company devised a schedule of classroom training, equipment demos, and hands-on post-training conducted by Heidelberg color experts. Training took place periodically over several months, working with at least 30 employees at a time. According to Ferris, MasterTag personnel were "very supportive" of the enterprise.
The benefits of the PCM education extend well beyond the initial instruction, stated Manufacturing Manager Lance VanderLeest: "Now, when we design and prepare files, the fact that everyone speaks the same language helps immensely with problem correction. One year after we completed the program, we are still in calibration because we succeeded in instilling what we like to call a self-perpetuating 'color management mindset' throughout the company. Practically speaking, Heidelberg Print Color Management has standardized our organization."
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 in paper alone. Every printer who has applied PCM has realized savings well in excess of the cost of the service.
"Been there and done that," said Ferris. "Heidelberg's Print Color Management service has significantly advanced MasterTag's commitment to continuous improvement. The entire experience underscores the wisdom of our continued reliance on the insight and knowledge of our partners at Heidelberg."
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 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.
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