Unique in New York: Mid-Atlantic Graphic Communications Blazes with MAN Roland
Press release from the issuing company
Blauvelt, NY — Mid-Atlantic Graphic Communications is full of surprises. Even though the company’s 30,000 sq ft facility is only a half hour from New York City, only a fraction of its business comes from the metropolis.
What’s more MAG, as it is known, doesn’t have a separate sales force. It relies instead on its top executives to bring in jobs, which generally are generated by word-of-mouth or are acquired when Mid-Atlantic customers move to positions in other companies.
Finally, although Mid-Atlantic is one of the most successful printing facilities in the Northeast, it operates fully with a staff of less than 20.
Asked how MAG is pulling off that hat trick at a time when other printers are in the doldrums, Vice President Doug Arbolino points to the skill of his colleagues and the advancements provided by his technology partners.
"We don’t sell on price; we sell service and quality," he says. "When someone compares apples to apples, they understand that they get a better deal at Mid-Atlantic. With us, you get what you pay for. You get that higher level of quality at an economical price."
Mid-Atlantic’s client list consists almost exclusively of large multi-national firms located in the corporate enclaves of Rockland County, where MAG is located, in nearby Montvale, New Jersey and in Connecticut.
As to the absence of a dedicated sales force at MAG, Arbolino has this to say: "Most of our sales come from our reputation, so we don’t really need a separate sales force. Our three officers do both — bring in the jobs and also work in the plant every day. I often run over to a client for an hour to discuss a project, and then came back here to pick up the run on one of the presses. That way, we can give our customers first-hand answers to their questions and instant response to their requests."
Mid-Atlantic’s two main presses are both six color models with in-line coating— a 41" ROLAND 700 and a 29" ROLAND 300. The machines’ PECOM operating systems equip them for such working flexibility since they are networked together and to every other aspect of MAG’s digitally driven workflow.
Press manufacturer MAN Roland uses the term Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) to describe such a fully networked set-up. But Mid-Atlantic prefers to say "we’re fully automated in both the prepress and the pressroom." However it’s described, MAG’s fully networked workflow helps the company grow its high quality reputation, while keeping prices in line with the expectations of more cost-conscious clients.
A violet laser automated platesetter takes center stage in prepress. That department automatically supplies ink profiles to the presses via wire and PECOM’s PrepressLink. Meanwhile, PECOM’s JobPilot modules lets Mid-Atlantic program each MAN Roland press for the next job while the systems continue to print their current projects. That knocks about 10 minutes off every makeready.
JobPilot also lets Arbolino takes a hands-on approach to his pressroom using a standard Windows-equipped terminal: "It lets me oversee what the presses are going to be doing. I can set up the press and create my actual job ticket. JobPilot lets you control the pressroom directly."
PECOM’s PressMonitor is also on tap at Mid-Atlantic Graphic Communications. It provides real-time window as well as an archive of virtually every press function on every job. Arbolino envisions using it to track the performance of different types of inks and paper, and as a way to monitor the plant from home.
As to the overall effectiveness of PECOM and the networked operation it facilities, Arbolino confirms that the system tightens-up MAG’s makereadies and increases press uptime. "It also makes it a lot easier for the press operators. It lets them concentrate completely on the job at hand, rather than worrying about the next set-up. That keeps production going and puts the focus on quality."
MAG’s MAN Rolands are an integral part of maintaining and improving the company’s quality image. Pointing to the ROLAND 700’s transfer system, Arbolino indicates that it more than keeps up with his high-end clients’ penchant for lush promotional pieces.
"It’s markless," he says. "You can run everything from thin stock to 40 pt board through with no hassles. That’s important; when you’re running wall-to-wall solids just about every day. You don’t want to worry about the press marking."
As much as he appreciates the technological advancements on the 700, the MAG vice president points to the ROLAND 300 and says that it actually runs better, given its smaller format of 23" X 29".
"We have the perfect mix of presses, " he says. "The 700 handles the larger jobs. Then we have the 300 for everything else. We call it a three-quarters press because we can print six-up on it. That gives us 50% more productive at the same price, compared to a half-size press."
MAG’s ROLAND 300 is also equipped with perfecting, which has won the company publishing work: "It just makes you more competitive on a book job. We can be more economical for our customers’ 2/2 or 2/4 work thanks to the 300’s ability to print two sides in a single pass."
The in-line coating units on both the 300 and the 700 are also necessities rather than accessories at Mid-Atlantic. The company coats 95% of its work. Its pair of Rolands make the process automatic, while ensuring that the coating quality is as high as that of the printwork.
Automatic is also the watchword when it comes to plating the presses. "With Automatic Plate Loading, the plates go on the same way every time, no matter who the operator is, and you’re basically in register as soon as the plate is hung," Arbolino declares.
While all that automation helps MAG keep its staff size cost-competitive, it is the quality of the product that keeps customers coming back for more..
"We go the extra yard on every job and project," Arbolino explains. "Our main concern is quality. We’re not a production shop. If a client wants to do a long press check to make sure everything he envisions is achieved; we’ll do it."
Mid Atlantic has printed up to 400 line screen on its MAN Rolands and regularly prints 250 and 300 line screen in the course of fulfilling its clients’ high-end demands. "We can do high quality on a daily basis, because we have the right people and the right presses," Arbolino says. "There are two main reasons for that: Our press operators are highly skilled. And our presses are from MAN Roland."
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