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First Impression Printing Co. buys 40-Inch Mitsubishi Diamond 3000R with tower coater

Press release from the issuing company

PITTSBURGH -- First Impression Printing Co. is no stranger to changes and challenges. Begun as a home-based quick print business in 1981, First Impression has grown, literally from the ground up, into a top commercial sheetfed printer in Pittsburgh. Gary Pandolfo, president of First Impression, can cite several reasons for his company's success. Chief among them, however, is "developing a wide range of capabilities under one roof." "Instead of being narrowly focused, we believe in looking to new frontiers in print production and job management," Pandolfo said. First Impression is on a trajectory of differentiation, assisted by recent equipment acquisitions in the pressroom and bindery intended to bring printing, specialty finishing and mailing entirely in-house. In November, First Impression installed a four-color Mitsubishi Diamond 3000R with tower coater. The 40-inch convertible perfector affords First Impression increased capacity and capabilities, according to Pandolfo. "Mitsubishi presses are the best value going," he stated. "The Diamond 3000R is a great complement to our press capacity. It prints exceptionally well and has all the automation we could want." Operating around the clock, seven days a week, First Impression employs 75 people at its 40,000-square-foot facility on Pittsburgh's historic South Side. First Impression produces two-color to six-color brochures, catalogs, magazines, direct mail pieces and corporate identity materials. The printer does work for national and regional accounts, as well as for local cultural institutions, hospitals and universities. It counts Pittsburgh-based professional sports teams among its clientele. Pandolfo billed $8 million in sales in 2005. He is budgeting revenue of $10 million in 2006. For years, First Impression provided high-quality, quick-turnaround commercial printing utilizing half-size presses. The company expanded into the 40-inch market in 2003, adding a six-color Diamond 3000S straight press. A six-color, 28-inch press is still in operation. Pandolfo said the new Mitsubishi perfector would help satisfy the increasing demand for larger projects. "The press will allow us to throughput higher-volume and higher-quality work in a range of colors," he said. "It will also free up our six-color Diamond 3000S anytime we have 40-inch work that requires four colors or less." The Diamond 3000R can print bible paper up to 12-point board in the perfecting mode. When converted to straight printing, the press easily handles print stocks up to a thickness of 24 points. The Centralized Operator MakeReady and Control (COMRAC) press control allows operators to manage press functions from the computerized console. Sheet size presetting, impression pressure presetting, multimode dampening system and double-size impression and transfer cylinders are standard features. Specially designed ceramic jackets mounted on all impression cylinders after the perfecting unit prevent ink buildup and eliminate offset. Air cushions under the transfer drums ensure contact-free transport of the sheets between printing units, effectively eliminating traditional marking problems. The press incorporates vacuum feeder belts and vacuum side guide, a high-speed impression cylinder on/off device and Quick Start Inking. Ink fountains with removable trays facilitate quicker ink changes and easier cleanup. As for consistent print quality, Pandolfo points to the closed-loop inking system with scanning spectrophotometer. "The whole sheet is scanned to give all the information operators need to specify and standardize inks before printing begins," he explained. "The computer can pretty much make decisions about ink densities on all four printing units simultaneously. It controls and reduces color error at the color-check stage and during the press run." First Impression announced in December the addition of new services enabling print buyers to use one vendor for unique multiple gluing and finishing techniques and mailing. First Impression is able to perform high-resolution variable data inkjet printing, poly-bagging, hot and cold gluing, tipping-on, automated gathering and inserting, in addition to other services. "First Impression is the only printer in western Pennsylvania to offer capabilities of this magnitude," Pandolfo said. "Typically, a customer uses a separate local printer and mail house. Many other services, such as poly-bagging, haven't been available in Pittsburgh. Now customers can rely on First Impression for unique or specialized services instead of turning to out-of-town vendors."