WAUNAKEE, Wis. -- What does it take to become a leader in your marketplace? In the case of award-winning commercial printer Suttle-Straus, Inc., a dedicated workforce, highly motivated sales staff and tradition of implementing advanced technologies to increase quality and efficiency.
The communication solutions provider added another chapter to its history with the installation of a Mitsubishi Diamond 3000R convertible perfector. The Diamond 3000R is Suttle-Straus' fourth Mitsubishi press in less than six years.
The four-color, 40-inch press has allowed Suttle-Straus to improve its sheetfed capacity by retiring "an early 1990s-vintage two-color perfector that was no longer very productive or efficient" compared to new perfecting technology, according to John Berthelsen, president.
"Several factors made the Mitsubishi perfector the natural choice for us," Berthelsen said. "We knew from past experience that Mitsubishi press technology is first-rate. The familiarity of our operators with Mitsubishi presses and ease of cross-training were other key considerations. We also have been impressed with the service and parts support Mitsubishi provides for its presses."
Located in Waunakee, Wis., a few miles from the state capital at Madison, Suttle-Straus came into being by way of the July 2001 merger of Suttle Press and Madison-based Straus Printing Co. In April 2002, the firm ceased production at the former Straus Printing facility and relocated to an expanded headquarters in Waunakee. The expansion gave Suttle-Straus a total operating area of 210,000 square feet, enabling the company to bring administrative, production, warehousing and distribution processes under one roof.
With 205 employees, Suttle-Straus provides a wide range of products to corporate, retail, industrial and agency clients throughout the upper Midwest. Suttle-Straus is renowned for its high-caliber corporate communications, direct mail pieces and advertising materials. In addition, the company prints text and covers for publications and manuals.
Its modern plant houses sheetfed and web presses, variable data imaging equipment, a completely digital prepress department, well-equipped bindery and comprehensive mailing, fulfillment and distribution operation.
Suttle-Straus offers both inline aqueous and ultraviolet coatings. Its first Mitsubishi press, a six-color, 40-inch Model 3F-13 installed in December 1999, is equipped with an on-press UV hybrid curing system. A 3-year-old Model 3F-16, also configured with six printing units, includes an aqueous coater, along with a host of production-enhancing features, such as auto-presetting, automatic blanket washing and automated plate changing.
In 2002, Suttle-Straus acquired a Mitsubishi Diamond 8 commercial web press. The Diamond 8 is an eight-page, half-web press in the long-grain format. Suttle-Straus installed a six-unit model in a 20-by-23-inch format to replace an older short-grain half-web press. The Diamond 8 incorporates inline folding, slitting and scoring/perforating/die cutting systems.
"The quality is comparable to our Mitsubishi sheetfed presses," Berthelsen observed. "We can print covers on the sheetfeds and match them up with signatures coming off the web press."
Suttle-Straus expects to realize $31 million in sales in 2005. Berthelsen said the already strong direct mail component of the company's business has grown significantly, pushing the 3F presses to their capacity.
"The perfector will improve long-term scheduling by taking over four-color jobs that previously were printed on the six-color machines," Berthelsen noted. "This will allow us to focus our six-color capabilities on work that requires more than four colors. At the same time, being able to convert the Diamond 3000R to two-over-two perfecting gives us the flexibility to quickly turn around one-color and two-color work."
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