ROCHESTER, N.Y.-May 2, 2003 -Two and a half years ago a banker named Tom Conley purchased LectraMedia, a printing business in Nevada City, Calif. Today, Conley is banking his company’s future on Heidelberg’s digital black-and-white equipment.
LectraMedia was formed two decades ago as an in-house graphic arts department for a division of Tektronix. Ten years later, LectraMedia became primarily a digital print shop, and today produces short-runs of on-demand manuals and booklets for high-tech companies. The 30-employee company also provides variable data printing of financial statements, sample election ballots and county tax bills, and features an internal mail house.
As a digital shop, the company had employed two DocuTech 6135 machines, but recently made the switch to Heidelberg’s Digimaster 9110 print systems.
LectraMedia had high regard for Heidelberg based on its experiences with the company’s GTO four-color and two-color presses, and sought to improve its digital services with Heidelberg’s digital black-and-white solutions. Certain that the Digimaster system would prove itself, Heidelberg sales rep Mike White told Conley that he would install a Digimaster 9110 in his shop and let the company try it out free for two months.
Conley admits being skeptical that he’d ever see the free-trial Digimaster machine, but he did. And LectraMedia has benefited from its productivity ever since.
“Even though the Digimaster is rated at a slower speed, we got better throughput because it wasn’t broken down as much as the machines we had,” says Conley, LectraMedia president. “Half tones are better, screens are better, and it’s just a better product all-around. Companies always tell you that every product they sell is better, but in this instance Heidelberg proved it to me — without me taking any risk. Heidelberg took all the risk.”
Based on the performance of the trial machine, Conley decided to purchase two Digimaster 9110 units. Since installation, the machines have been running day and night — operating two or three shifts daily to produce up to four or five million impressions per month.
Using the Digimaster print systems, according to Conley, the digital shop’s new motto is: “Black and white, sleep at night.”
Greater productivity, simple workflow
LectraMedia’s president and employees expect to sleep even better, once they get the newest version of Heidelberg’s ImageSmart Document Mastering software. The company currently employs ImageSmart Document Mastering™ 2.1 software on its Digimaster machines and is looking forward to taking advantage of the expanded features in the version 2.2 software.
ImageSmart Document Mastering 2.2 software, available in May, will give LectraMedia greater digital prepress productivity with a simple, fast and intuitive workflow.
Conley noted that his operators like the potential of the ImageSmart solution, and they are excited about the ability to create cut and bleed tabs and to use the new version’s grid tool, which he says is absolutely imperative given the amount of manuals they produce. ImageSmart 2.2’s enhanced SmartBoard™ 1.2 application enables a grid tool that makes it easy for users to align images front to back.
“About 80 percent of our work is booklets, so we have zero tolerance for page numbers to be out of alignment,” said Dennis Wolfers, LectraMedia’s pre-production manager. “So ImageSmart 2.2 could really be an improvement for us.”
Wolfers and his pre-production team are also seeing more PDF files coming into the shop, making the new Heidelberg software’s potential even greater.
ImageSmart Document Mastering 2.2 software employs the industry-standard PDF-based workflow for complex production jobs, making it ideal for frequent reprinting, repurposing and editing. It will also enable greater collaboration between LectraMedia and its customers by allowing easy sharing of PDF documents — regardless of the application they were originally created in.
“With the volume of work we’re doing, we are probably 60 to 70 percent PDF right now,” Wolfers said. “We’re excited about our customers’ growing use of PDF files, and I suspect a year from now we’ll be getting about 95 percent of our jobs in PDF format.”
Betting the future on Heidelberg
As a banker, Tom Conley well understood the value of money. As LectraMedia president, he’s putting that knowledge to work, building a digital print shop that will meet his customers’ on-demand printing needs and provide a return on his investment. Right now, he’s putting the future of his business in Heidelberg’s hands.
“We’re betting our business on the Heidelberg Digimaster 9110,” Conley added. “We think at this point we’d rather bet on Heidelberg than we would other manufacturers. We feel like we have a true business partner, and that Heidelberg is not just a vendor — and that’s what we need, a manufacturer that adds value to our organization.”
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