President of Mercury Print Productions John Place and Vice President of Book Printing Operations Christian Schamberger share with Cary Sherburne their why they chose Kodak's Prosper Press to add to their educational book printing
Cary Sherburne: Hi, I'm Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Christian Schamberger who is Vice President of Operations for the Book Division at Mercury Print Productions in Rochester, New York. That's a mouthful, but welcome.
Christian Schamberger: Thank you.
Cary Sherburne: So, if you could talk to us a little bit about what you think sets your operation apart in the book printing business from a technology perspective.
Christian Schamberger: Well at Mercury we strive to be at the head of the curve. Sometimes our president and owner, John, jokes around that it's the bleeding edge of technology because it does have its challenges but we try to utilize technology to really streamline our operations and to offer solutions to our customers in the most effective and cost efficient ways. The economy and technology is changing a lot of what we do and as a company we just need to make sure that we're adapting to that.
Cary Sherburne: Now you recently made an investment in the Kodak Prosper Press.
John Place: That's correct.
Cary Sherburne: Maybe you can talk a little bit about what drove that.
John Place: We have many platforms here at Mercury Print and we were in the toner-based arena. I think we have approximately 22 different machines out there at this point in a toner. And we decided that we knew that the inkjet was going to be a player in this arena, so we decided that we needed to make sure that we go out and purchase an inkjet and start in to that arena in the educational books.
Cary Sherburne: So then on the inkjet side, you've got the Prosper Kodak Prosper Press.
Christian Schamberger: Yes, we do.
Cary Sherburne: And how do you decide what goes where?
Christian Schamberger: Right now, it's being driven, one, by quantity. So larger quantities are going towards the Prosper. We also have a specific amount of work that we set aside for the Prosper technology. We do play heavily in the educational publishing market, both the Elhi market, the K-12, as well as the higher education market. Anything on the higher education market is kind of streamlined and pushed towards inkjet, the inkjet platforms at this standpoint. It's got a little bit less coverage than the Elhi market and it seems to fit well from a format size for the Prosper Press.
Cary Sherburne: So you have 20 plus electrophotographic machines and you've got the one inkjet... what are the relative potential volumes?
Christian Schamberger: Well, this is the part that kind of took us awhile to get our heads around. You know, we've got 20 plus; I think it's about 22 toner-based pieces of equipment and if they're all running 24x7, which we do run a 24x7 operation here, we can generate about 30 million pages a month on all that equipment. When you look at the duty cycle of the Kodak Prosper Press, running it around the clock, we should be able to generate or do about 110 million pages. So it really dwarfs our understanding in the terms of the volume that one press with one operator can handle versus 22 toner-based presses.
Cary Sherburne: That's very amazing.
Christian Schamberger: It is.
Cary Sherburne: And then you've automated the back end as well to some degree.
Christian Schamberger: We have. Especially when you can look at the amount of output we can get off of the Kodak Prosper Press, that 110 million pages. We need to look at how can we finish it; it doesn't do us any good if we can go ahead and print it and then it sits waiting in bind. So we need to be able to come up with a solution for streamlining the finishing and making it as much of a hands-off operation as possible. And we've installed a couple of different pieces of equipment from vendors such as LaserMax and Muller Martini and we believe that we've developed a good solution and that we can meet our customers needs and handle the volume that we need to handle.
Cary Sherburne: So if you kind of think of the flow like jobs coming in because you have both electrophotographic and inkjet production in this place. If you think about how the jobs flow in, how do you kind of deal with them from the time the order comes in?
Christian Schamberger: Well, for us it's important to have a unified system where we can go to multiple platforms, depending on the job. So we've got two distinct different workflows. One we really use for short-run printing, typical auto-man quantities and then we also have a print-on-demand platform in which it gets into being more of a lights out operation driven by JDF. And where we'll even take it to the point where we're accepting an XML file from a customer which drives our order entry and really streamlines operations on the front end as well as out on the floor. And from there we then take that and we try to incorporate as much automation throughout the process as we can all the way through the finishing aspects.
Cary Sherburne: And so one of the key components you're using is Printergy?
Christian Schamberger: Yes, it is. Yep, we do.
Cary Sherburne: Right. And how does -- do you use that in both workflows?
Christian Schamberger: No, we just use a Printergy workflow really for our short-run production. It's pretty much the mainstay out there in terms of workflow systems and it's what we use to create our PDFs and to make sure everything's stable, everything is coming in and everything is consistent. We have good color; good output and everything that we need to just produce a good solid output.