The Pond-Ekberg Company Installs New KBA 74 Karat Digital Offset Press
Press release from the issuing company
Dec. 11, 2003: KBA North America, a leading sheetfed offset press manufacturer based in Williston, Vt., has announced that The Pond-Ekberg Company, a Chicopee, MA.commercial printer and finisher, installed a new 74 Karat digital offset press this fall. This is Pond-Ekberg’s third KBA press in less than seven years. The Karat is part of Pond-Ekberg’s massive $2 million investment in new technology, facility renovations, and marketing initiatives.
The new KBA 74 Karat, which was installed in Oct. 2003, was the focus of an open house at Pond-Ekberg’s headquarters outside of Springfield, MA. The catered gala event on November 19 featured a live band, and drew over 250 attendees to the early evening gathering. Pond-Ekberg had invited its clients as well as potential clients and business associates from across the southern New England area.
Honing in on the Karat’s high-quality diamond theme, Pond-Ekberg gave each attendee a stress reliever shaped like a diamond set in a silver die-cut box. The outside of the box read, “Pond-Ekberg takes the stress out of your printing projects.”The firm also had a large treasure chest filled with hundreds of gifts; each attendee picked a key out of a large goblet and tried their luck to see if their key would open it.
First of its kind in western Massachusetts
“The 74 Karat is the first of its kind in western Massachusetts and we believe that it will provide access to new and bigger markets for our company,”says Jonathan Kratovil, Pond-Ekberg’s president. “We have found that our existing customers need a digital offset press that can give them quicker turnaround on short-run orders of 500 to 1,000 but in a large format size. This press has the capability to reduce job-change times as well as start-up waste plus provide high-quality predictable color and print on a variety of substrates including plastics.”
The 74 Karat is the world’s only waterless digital 29” offset press. It provides extremely fast make ready times with perfect color in less than 10 sheets. The 74 Karat’s Gravuflow inking system yields constant results and produces vibrant and strong images to the end user. The 74 Karat’s inline coating unit allows printers to easily switch between standard aqueous and white opaque coating for clear plastic and enticular printing.
“We believe that we may have an eight- to 12-month window of opportunity before regional competitors take similar steps,” says Kratovil. “We’re determined to make the most of that opportunity. We’re going to show businesses of all sizes what we can do for them and how this new technology can improve quality, save time, and save money. We’re going to use that window to make an impact.”
Pond-Ekberg is taking a very aggressive stand in its marketing campaign.Coupled with the open house, the company is putting together an intensive direct mail program, including on-air television advertising, along with promoting its e-commerce business and new web site. In addition, a local business newspaper recently ran a feature article about the company and other newspapers are planning to run articles on the company as well.
Third KBA press in less than seven years
The 74 Karat digital offset press is Pond-Ekberg’s third KBA press in less than seven years. In early January 2002, Pond-Ekberg installed a new KBA Rapida 105 41” six-color sheetfed press with inline aqueous coating, semi-automatic plate changers, CIP3/4 digital interface, automatic blanket and roller washers.
“We purchased the KBA Rapida 105 for a number of reasons,” says Kratovil. “Our company was growing in many areas and for capacity reasons, we needed another press to fulfill that anticipated growth. Plus, the Rapida offers a 41 1/2” sheet size--that was an enormous selling point for our sales and marketing staff. We presently have established a 24 x 41” print market and we use our Rapida presses to print edge to edge on many types of stocks. The Rapida 105 offers us the capability of a markless sheet transfer with full sheet ink coverage without streaking or marking issues.”
Prior to the Rapida 105, Pond-Ekberg purchased a Rapida 104 two-over-five/seven-color perfector press six years ago primarily for its greeting card market and fine stationary wrap printing and finishing. “We have always been able to offer our customers something a little different than what our competitors can, and the new KBA 105 will allow us to further promote and print on new and various substrates in the marketplace,” says Kratovil.
Kratovil has always been impressed by KBA’s smooth installation of their presses. “KBA performed a flawless installation of the 74 Karat and the Rapida105,” he says. “We still have KBA representatives here to help train our employees on the Karat. For the Rapida 105, they sent a factory representative from Germany who was directly responsible for building the press to oversee the installation. It was one of the best installations we’ve ever had.”
Established 87 years ago
The company was established in 1916 by John D. Pond who opened a printing company in his barn behind his home in Agawam, MA. He was soon joined by his friend Carl N. Ekberg. The firm became so successful that two years later they incorporated as The Pond-Ekberg Company and moved to a rented facility in Springfield. Their letterpress print shop specialized in high quality, four-color book printing. Soon they moved to their own building in Springfield. Over the years, the company acquired Phoenix Offset Printing Company and Rich Lithographic Company.
Today, Pond-Ekberg continues to grow. The 60-plus employee privately owned firm occupies a modern 55,000 sq ft facility conveniently located near many Massachusetts interstate highways. Its latest technology includes a computer-to-plate system from Kodak Polychome Graphics, a digital plate setter from Screen USA, and a Twist Prepress Job Management system from Dalim/Blanchard Systems Inc. The Massachusetts firm also has the distinction and reputation of having one of the largest and most diversified finishing operations in New England. The firm can foil stamp, emboss, die-cut, and thermo-cut on various stock sizes and substrates up to a 49” press sheet. Its prestigious Northeast and E-Commerce customer base includes clients ranging from insurance companies, colleges, medical institutions, advertising and design agencies, graphic packaging companies and fortune 500 corporations.
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