Powerful Tools for Ambitious Targets, Merrill/Daniels Printing Company

Press release from the issuing company

January 22, 2002 - Not many printers can claim the success of being in business for over 100 years. But Merrill/Daniels Printing Company of Everett, Massachusetts, has not only been serving it clients for 121 years but has evolved over the years with new equipment and new services as the printing industry has changed. A new Rapida 105 eight-colour press helps to meet the company´s ambitious goals. Today, the New England printer is a full-service financial and commercial printing company with more than 375 employees operating sheetfed, coldset, and heatset web presses. They also offer custom on-demand kitting, digital printing, distribution services, pick and pack and internet ordering solutions. "We feel we have a competitive advantage because we can offer our customers high-quality commercial printing as well as a host of other services," says Kevin Gilligan, vice-president of sales for the Merrill Print Group. "Our customers can save time and money by allowing us to print, store, kit and distribute their printed materials." In April 1999 Minneapolis-based Merrill Corp. purchased Daniels Printing, a family-owned fourth-generation Massachusetts printer. The firm became known as Merrill/Daniels, a division of the Merrill Print Group. Merrill Corp., best known as a financial printer, saw this acquisition as a means to diversify the company´s product mix. To continue its growth into the next century Merrill/Daniels follows a four-point philosophy that guides both management and employees. These four principles are: to exceed customers´ expectations, aggressively grow and diversify the business, effectively manage costs, and attract and retain the best employees. With a fine reputation as an annual report printer, Merrill/Daniels is continuing to expand its client base of designers in Boston and New York. It is also focusing on corporations that would like to take advantage of its full-service product offering. In addition to focusing on a new market, Merrill/Daniels decided to upgrade its pre-press and press department by installing a CreoScitex computer-to-plate system with CIP4 workflow and a new Rapida 105 eight-colour 3B (41") press with tower coater and extended delivery from KBA North America. The new Rapida 105 includes a CIP4 digital interface workstation, multi-zone chiller, blanket wash, ink roller washer, impression cylinder wash-up, and Densitronic closed-loop spectrophotometry system with auto formatting and remote pressure setting. The press was installed in the Everett facility. "The Rapida 105 is rated at 15,000 impressions per hour, which gives us the ability to run larger jobs and still be efficient," says Bob Burke, vice president of manufacturing for the Merrill Print Group. "We now have four eight-colour presses that give us the capacity and flexibility to continue to improve our service levels for our customers." In selecting a new press, Merrill/Daniels specified several criteria. First, the press had to offer ultra high-quality printing. Second, it had to improve production efficiencies and reduce makeready times. Third, it had to be a 3B (40") eight-colour to allow Merrill/Daniels the flexibility to move jobs between the new press and its existing line of three 3B eight-colour presses. "Specifically, the press is supporting the growth of printed marketing collateral for Strategic Communication Services, a business unit of Merrill that specialises in servicing investment companies, as well as Merrill/Daniel´s commitment to exceeding the demands of our design and corporate customers," says Burke. "The purchase is also supporting a company commitment to invest in the necessary technology to drive improved quality and operational performance, reduce operating costs as well as providing our employees with the needed technology to be successful in today´s competitive print market." Since its start-up, the Rapida 105 has been staffed for three-shift operation to produce the firm´s entire work mix, including its high-end annual reports and marketing brochures. Merrill/Daniels has also been using the press to print on a variety of substrates, including plastic and synthetic sheets. According to Burke, paper waste savings on makeready are up 16% on the Rapida 105, while makeready time has improved year-to-date in the pressroom by 19.8%, driven by the installation of the Rapida. Says Bob Burke "We increased our annual report business this year by over 20%. It will also give us the capacity we need to continue to expand our business in the future. Adding the Rapida 105 was like adding two presses since it runs faster and more efficiently." Joe Pare, sheetfed pressroom manager of Merrill/Daniels, was given the task of evaluating numerous makes of printing press in operation. "I evaluated each press manufacturer with regard to the value-added solutions they had to offer in sheetfed technology and innovation, strategic partnering and economic value," says Pare. "After an extensive evaluation I recommended the purchase of the KBA equipment." After the press had been chosen Pare and his team travelled to Germany and watched the press being built. Afterwards, KBA sent those same technicians to Merrill/Daniels´ plant in Everett to assemble the press for print production. KBA also trained two operators from each of Merrill/Daniels´ three shifts at KBA´s facility in Vermont. "Our KBA press was designed to satisfy the market demands for efficient production, short makeready times, labour-saving automation, ultimate print quality, comprehensive in-line coating and integration into digital work flows,"says Burke.