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VistaPrint grows with a new plant, anchored by two 5/C ROLAND 700 presses

Press release from the issuing company

Westmont, Illinois — MAN Roland today announced that VistaPrint, the source for high-quality graphic design, Internet printing and premium service, has purchased four 41-inch ROLAND 700 presses to increase its capacity and capabilities. VistaPrint currently operates two ROLAND 700 presses with in-line coating and perfecting in its production facility in Venlo, The Netherlands that is a showcase of Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). Two additional presses, configured identically to the ones already in operation, will be deployed at the company’s new North American production facility in Windsor, Ontario, just south of Detroit. Craig Fowler, vice president of operations at VistaPrint, is directing the Windsor expansion. He explains that VistaPrint had to be particularly careful in selecting its presses because the equipment had to integrate seamlessly into the company’s highly automated production stream. “We looked at all the major suppliers and found only one that was highly committed to Computer Integrated Manufacturing and had the technology to fully support the CIM workflow,” Fowler says. “MAN Roland supports our business model and our production system better than any other press manufacturer.” Eric Belcher, COO of Sheetfed Operations for MAN Roland Inc., sees VistaPrint’s production model as the ultimate in CIM implementation. “This is the first printing company I’ve ever encountered that takes full advantage of a truly automated workflow,” he declares “VistaPrint is a window into the future of printing. Their operating statistics are fantastic; they use seconds rather than minutes to measure the labor they apply to each job.” VistaPrint is applying the principles of Computer Integrated Manufacturing to drive out costs and improve response times. It connects its customers directly to its CIM chain by providing a layout program that they can use right on the VistaPrint website. (www.vistaprint.com) CIM enables VistaPrint to produce over 10,000 unique print jobs per production day while using a minimal amount of production labor per order. Business cards are VistaPrint’s top sellers. But VistaPrint’s menu of Internet-accessed products doesn’t stop there. Postcards, brochures, data sheets, stationery, presentation folders, greeting cards, even refrigerator magnets can be ordered in an instant and produced within hours. The company expects all of those categories to grow, thanks to the added efficiencies the ROLAND 700s will provide. As the MAN Rolands come on line in Windsor, VistaPrint expects to achieve a two-hour “click to ship” benchmark. Under that plan, it would take less than two hours from when a customer submits a finished order to the time the printed product is ready for pick up by an express shipping provider. VistaPrint offers a virtually unlimited number of templates, while also giving more customers a chance to create their own designs, upload graphics and photos. The program is simple to use, so that each job can be designed quickly and flow directly into VistaPrint’s prepress department. Once designed, printing jobs are aggregated, so they can be ganged together for printing on a 40-inch sheet. Of the four MAN Roland presses VistaPrint purchased, one has been the production mainstay for more than a year at the company’s European operation in Venlo, the Netherlands. The second 700 went into production in January. Meanwhile, presses three and four are awaiting completion of VistaPrint's Windsor plant, which is currently under construction and will be very similar to the Venlo facility. The MAN Rolands are scheduled to start test printing there this summer. “We will be replicating our European production process,” Fowler says. “We’re using this workflow quite effectively in Europe, and we have seen how well the ROLAND 700s complement our highly automated prepress and postpress systems. We have developed a new way to do printing and it works extremely well.” So well, in fact, that VistaPrint reports it achieves four production cycles per hour on each of its ROLAND 700s now working in the Netherlands, with less than 25 waste sheets per makeready. Every one of those cycles involves the printing of literally hundreds of jobs. MAN Roland introduced Computer Integrated Manufacturing to the graphic arts in the ’90s with the development of the PECOM operating and automation system. “PECOM helps us run extremely high volumes of very short runs,” Fowler observes. “The system automatically dials-in settings for us, eliminating most pre-run press adjustments. This, along with MAN Roland’s Auto Plate Loading (APL), enables us to achieve extra-rapid changeover from job-to-job with minimal waste.”