CHICAGO, IL - Don Zirk knows how to keep pace. His Marathon Printing in Portland, Oregon continues to grow, specializing in numbers for special events including marathons and track and field meets. In 1998, he bought an A.B.Dick DPM2000, an entry-level CTP device that has served him well. Willing to push the envelope and take full advan- tage of its automated features, he added a 9995A-ICS offset press with Ink Control System.
“I really like the auto plate-loading with its plate punching system. It has dramatically improved our make-ready times,” confided Zirk. “We had looked at a Hamada press but it was a time consuming process with their equipment. The ink control system of the 9995A-ICS intrigued me. It wasn’t a major issue but I’m pleased with the ink balance and color repeatability we are getting from the press. Linked with the DPM, the quality is very, very good.”
Quality describes the fabric of Marathon Printing’s work. Zirk’s father Ken, started the company in 1989. Don began working for his father in 1993 and bought Marathon four years later. Ken, who is semi-retired, is one of nine employees who print the high quality custom and stock bib numbers that runners wear at competitions. Whether it is a local char-ity run or a U.S.A. Track & Field event, chances are Marathon is printing the runners bibs.
The majority of their work is one-color, according to Zirk, but they handle many two-color assignments and everything up to and including six-colors. The tricky part is printing it on Tyvek stock. The exotic, hi-tech substrate consists of liquid plastic fiber stock. It is lightweight, difficult to tear and weather resistant, so it’s not the easiest material to print.
“Our workload and request for color keeps increasing so it was important for us to have a two-color press,” said Zirk. “We are not a large company and our equipment needs to be both reliable and flexible. A job for a local running club or non-profit organization may be as small as 100 bibs. With the larger clubs, it could be 100,000.”
Zirk has focused on increasing productivity to improve the company’s bottom line. The semi-automatic plate changer and Ink Control System on the press have reduced his labor set-up time for changing plates and registration adjustments. The ink control system also allows his press operator to review copy from the console and, if necessary, automatically adjust the ink fountain keys to provide the right amount of coverage on a printed job.
The standard size for a custom printed bib with a tear tag is 7-1/2” by 7-1/2” with 3-1/4” numerals, but an Olympian style bib measures 9” wide by 8” high, and its numbers are four or five inches tall. Some bibs also have the event logo printed on the front. The tear tag, which may or may not include a bar code to verify proper registration, instructs the participant to fill out vital medical and emergency information on the back of the bib.
“We have standard stock sizes and umpteen custom sizes all the way up to 10” by 15”,” said Zirk. “I like the DPM2000 for its durability and accuracy. Our busy season is Febru- ary through September and we’ll be doing at least 100 plates a week. The 8-mil polyester plates we use do a tremendous job and save us money since we don’t need metal.”
A.B.Dick Company is a leading worldwide supplier to the graphic arts and printing industry, manufacturing and marketing equipment and supplies for all stages of document creation -- prepress, press and post-press -- as well as continuing service and support. For more information contact Scott MacKenzie, Vice President, Marketing, 7400 Caldwell Ave., Niles, IL. 60714. Telephone (847) 779-1900, fax (847) 647-6940, Web: www.abdick.com.
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