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Ball State Students Have a Ball on MAN Roland Field Trip

Press release from the issuing company

Westmont, Illinois — A group of two dozen students from Ball State University’s Graphic Arts Management program became press operators for a day at MAN Roland’s Graphics Center here. The February visit was part of MAN Roland’s Learning Leadership effort and included a field trip to Chicago-area printer Rapid Impressions. The students, most of whom are working toward BS degrees in Graphic Arts Management, had to leave their Muncie, Indiana campus well before dawn to make the trip. "They all found it worthwhile; they loved the hands-on work," says Hans P. Kellogg, Assistant Professor of Industry and Technology at Ball State. "It’s important to attach the actual process to the learning because students know if they can touch it, they can understand it." The students began their technology tour in one of the computer-equipped classrooms at the MAN Roland facility. Christian Cerfontaine, Director of Marketing, provided an overview of the off-press and on-press systems that are automating the printing process. A member of BSU’s graphic arts advisory board, Cerfontaine put together the educational excursion with Kellogg. Once inside the center’s pressroom, the class went to work mounting plates on a 41" MAN Roland 700, and helping to operate the press from its PECOM console. After a six-color poster job was printed, the students took turns plating the press for a second six-color job. The next hands-on experience took place on the classroom’s computers that are networked to the Graphics Center’s pressroom and are equipped with PECOM JobPilot. The innovation allowed the Ball State visitors to makeready another project off-press, inputting project parameters directly from a job sheet. They also saw the results of the jobs they printed on the PressMonitor PECOM console. To provide the students’ assessment of the action, Kellogg shared some comments they made in the journals that help track their academic progress. Among the entries: "I couldn’t believe how much of the printing process was automated — how fast and how accurate. Everyone was so nice. They even let us keep the posters we printed," "The MAN Roland trip was amazing. There’s nothing like seeing a $2.5 million press printing at 15,000 sheets per hour." "I especially enjoyed working on the Roland 700 and replacing the plates. It was great watching this press work. I have never seen a press so big and so high tech." "I got to hit the switch and couple buttons to get it running. After some first pull sheets were printed, we saw how PECOM's densitometer reads the color bar and how it enables the press operators to adjust ink coverage with a couple of keystrokes on the computer." "It was just so neat to see how computerized that huge press is, and how easy they made operating it look." The on-press experience was followed by a side trip to Broadview, Illinois, where Rapid Impressions Inc. runs its sheetfed commercial printing plant. There the students witnessed another six-color Roland 700 running live jobs, complete with commentary from the printing company’s executives and crew. "At Rapid Impressions, they saw a little more of the business side of printing," Kellogg notes. "They got an assessment of how print projects are managed and completed in a real working environment." Both Kellogg and Cerfontaine are planning to make the Ball State field trips recurring events. "It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm these kids have," notes Cerfontaine. "Everyone in our industry should do what they can to turn that excitement into expertise, because at the end of the day, these students are the future of printing. The technology won’t work without them."