Scrapbook leader Antioch installs a new ROLAND 700 to print memories more productively
Press release from the issuing company
Yellow Springs, OH — The Antioch Company has replaced two sheetfed presses with a six-color ROLAND 700 perfector equipped with in-line coating in its production facility here. The new press is producing products for the company’s Creative Memories division, a worldwide leader in creation and production of scrapbooks and the printed accessories that make them unique.
Scrapbooking has grown to become the hobby of choice for millions all over the world since Antioch established Creative Memories almost two decades ago. The business unit sells exclusively through a global network of over 70,000 consultants, who use Internet sites and local workshops to teach the craft of scrapbooking and supply users with the necessary materials.
Antioch operates four production/distribution centers, but Yellow Springs is only facility producing print-related products for Creative Memories and other sales channels. The 85,400 sq ft plant operates with a staff of 80. The ROLAND 700 was installed last July and went into service in September.
“There is no comparison to our older equipment,” says Michael R. Boos, Pressroom Supervisor at Yellow Springs. “The makeready speed and the production speeds of the MAN Roland press are awesome. The technology of the new press blows away what we had been using. We sold one of our older presses, and we do not run our other older 40” press anymore. The 700 is handling the load on its own.”
Selection of the new press was very much a team effort. “We are an employee-owned company so our management style is very open,” notes Boos. “Since every employee has a vested interest in the success of the company, an expenditure of this type gets a lot of scrutiny from everyone.”
Service & Parts a Plus
Antioch extensively print tested the 700 and 40-inch alternatives from the other leading manufacturers before selecting the 41-inch MAN Roland machine. “The service and parts aspect also was looked at very closely also to ensure responsive service after the sale,” Boos says. “We are positive that we have made the right decision.”
Initially Komori, Mitsubishi, and the incumbent, Heidelberg, were all in the running. But the final decision came down to an intensive evaluation between the two German brands. Boos sent a series of seven test jobs to the European headquarters of each competitor, complete with digital files and proofs, well in advance of his arrival. Once on site, he requested the jobs be run so he and his team could inspected the results under production conditions.
“The test jobs used a wide range of the substrates that we run in-house, and the type of work that we produce on a regular basis,” he recalls. The agenda covered such diverse materials as styrene plastic, 20 pt. board, 80 lb. Enamel, 70 lb. Windsor, and 80 lb. Cougar Cover. The jobs themselves ran the gamut from light to heavy coverage, and included gray tint screens, as well as the GATF test form.
“We took notes in both facilities, compared quality of print, ease of operation, first pull accuracy for fit and color, and color control and consistency throughout the run,” Boos reports. “MAN Roland finished all of our test forms, and the competition finished four.”
Quality Makes the Difference
But it was the quality of the printing that clinched the deal — a key factor since Creative Memories sets a high standard for its scrapbook products. “In our opinion the MAN Roland press was by far the best in print quality, which is very important to us, as well as being the most efficient through makeready and wash-up.”
Antioch was particularly impressed with MAN Roland’s PECOM operating and automation system. The company ordered the advanced version, which includes the JobPilot module for presetting makeready tasks and PressMonitor for real time monitoring and job productivity analysis.
“We use PECOM to preset every job that we run on the 700,” Boos says. “As each job is entered, we are building a data base for all of our stocks, inks, and special color sequences. These become drop-down boxes on the console’s monitor, allowing our operators to quickly activate each job. The time savings in makeready on the press created by PECOM translate into additional production hours for the press.”
The scrapbook-related products that the Yellow Springs facility produces encompasses printed papers, journal boxes, photo mats, product identification cards, posters, booklets, and insert sheets. The ROLAND 700 is printing it all with a minimum of tweaking between the diverse jobs.
“We are running a wide range of substrates on our 700 press, from 20 pt. board to 30 lb. Chiffon and everything in between,” Boos declares. “The press handles the changeovers very well.”
The press’ perfecting device similarly sees a diversity of assignments, including 4/2, 4/1 and some 1/1 work. “We are even perfecting styrene, 4/1, without marking the back side of the sheet,” Boos says.
The in-line coater on the 700 also helps to streamline production. Short-run 20 pt. board, used for packaging, is printed four-color and coated in one pass. Since the aqueous coating seals the ink, they can be backed-up immediately with a second four-color-plus-coating pass through the ROLAND 700 and then go right to finishing.
Given Antioch’s hectic production schedule, the company couldn’t afford any downtime in its transition to a more productive sheetfed solution. MAN Roland came through with a speedy installation that was scheduled around Antioch’s production schedules. The press maker also gave the Yellow Springs pressmen a head start with training at the MAN Roland Technology Center outside Chicago.
“The press crews took advantage of the PowerPrinter classes offered by MAN Roland prior to the press being installed,” Boos notes. “We also received on-site training from MAN Roland demonstrators after the press was installed.”
Antioch’s Yellow Springs facility also runs three flexo presses and a full-service bindery. A Creo CTP workflow handles prepress, while the new ROLAND 700 shoulders the sheetfed printing. It’s a workload that is projected to be increasing, as scrapbooking continues to gain popularity. “We expect to see continued growth in our domestic markets as well as our global markets,” Boos says.
MAN Roland is positioned to help Antioch keep the momentum going by providing digitally driven service and maintenance support. The press maker’s technicians can monitor the press online, 24/7, enabling them to guide Antioch crews through most technical difficulties that they might encounter. That eliminates the time and expense of live service calls.
“The extent of our remote service capabilities and our fast-response track record convinced Antioch that not only our technology, but also our support, is the best you can find in North America,” says Harry Vinson, General Manager, Central Region Sales & Service, for MAN Roland.
Dan Kelley, MAN Roland’s onsite District Sales Manager, remarks that Antioch’s intensive evaluation of a variety of presses should be emulated by other printing companies that are purchasing new equipment. “Antioch really put us through very heavy tests,” he says, “but we enjoyed their very professional and detailed approach.”
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