Bentley marks the first anniversary of its ROLAND 700 with new services & applications
Press release from the issuing company
Pottstown, Pennsylvania — Bentley Graphics Communications (BGC) is celebrating the first anniversary of its six-color-with-coater ROLAND 700 press by offering its customers and prospects a range of new applications and printed products.
In installing the 41-inch press last April, BGC activated the success paradigm that printers throughout the nation are using to grow. Namely: the best way to attract new business is to add extra value and new applications.
BCG ordered its ROLAND 700 with UV and hybrid capabilities so that the company could expand its range of services to encompass printing on plastics, package and label production, printing on foil, and a host of other added value applications that can’t be achieved productively with conventional inks and coatings.
The press is equipped with interdeck and delivery UV dryers that stabilize UV inks and coatings immediately after they are applied. "That opens totally new markets for us," says Jamie Bentley, CEO of the company he founded. "We’ve no longer limited to wood-based substrates or porous materials. We’re printing on foil, on 10 mil Mylar, on PVC, on styrene. You name the substrate, and we can print on it."
Printers who have tried printing on non-porous substrates know it’s no easy transition, even with the power of UV In their corner. Plastics’ and foils’ inability to absorb ink make them very unforgiving in terms of ink/water balance and color control.
There’s definitely a learning curve that lasts a minimum of six months to get a handle on UV production, especially on plastics," says Peter Korpel, Chief Operating Officer. "It’s a different animal that’s much more difficult to control than traditional offset. We did quite a bit of internal R&D to get to the point where we’re comfortable with it."
The secret of Bentley’s success in becoming a UV force in the Northeast centered on teamwork. Jamie Bentley and Peter Korpel assembled a team of suppliers for a day of testing, then gave them an hour each to run their products on the new ROLAND 700. Substrate, chemistry, ink and blanket, all took part in the evaluation.
"They were able to see what their products could do on a state-of the art press running at 10,000 sheets per hour," Korpel recalls. "They compared notes, and provided us with their feedback, which gave us a good baseline on successfully applying UV on plastics."
Korpel and his press operators also spent time at MAN Roland’s Technology Center outside of Chicago. "We got some hands-on experience there," he says. "They walked us through the challenges, which is a comfort when you’re new to a process. Now we look at substrate, look at a script of specifications we have developed for it and we know what to do. Better still, we know what the outcome will be."
As Korpel described the BGC’s progression into UV, his press operator was completing a project that involved applying opaque white, then four colors on a paper-backed foil substrate. The customer was a Disney subsidiary and the purpose was packaging for a confectionary.
"This job wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have UV capabilities," say Jamie Bentley "The amount of UV projects that are coming in continues to grow
as word gets out that we can produce special effects on foil, plastics and other exotic materials. Marketers are always looking for ways to attract attention. Our UV applications help their products stand out."
The Quality Quotient
What doesn’t print in UV gets the high-end treatment at BGC. The majority of its work is produced using 20 micron stochastic to achieve the look and detail of continuous tone graphics. The remainder of Bentley Graphic Communication’s jobs never dips below 200 line screen. A Kodak Creo CTP system automates the prepress process and controls the quality.
"Our client list includes fashion retailers, premium liquor brands, and even an elite snow board manufacturer," Bentley says. "The quality of their printing defies their brands. That’s why they come to us for high-end catalogs, annual reports, up-market direct mail, and now also for packaging, labels and point-of-sale materials."
The ROLAND 700’s inline coating system is contributing to Bentley’s image-building abilities. "Right from its start-up, the new 700 provided coating capabilities that we didn’t have before," says Jamie Bentley. "Being able to apply aqueous coating inline adds an extra dimension to what we can offer our customers, in terms of appearance, durability and faster turnaround. And when our customers need to step-up the luster and durability of the printwork, we can provide them with UV coatings."
BGC traded in a half-size MAN Roland press when it installed the six-color 700. The new 41-inch press precisely matches the format of Bentley’s five-color ROLAND 700, which it has been a production mainstay for over five years. The two 700s now operate side-by-side in BGC’s 26,000 sq ft facility.
"We make plates for them all day long, 24 hours a day," Korpel explains. "Since they both take the same size plate, we have total flexibility In scheduling the best press for any particular job. And for high volume work, we can pair them up to run the same plates simultaneously. Big jobs that used to take four or five days are now completed in less than two."
Both presses are controlled by the PECOM printnet operating and automation system, which creates a pressroom network for Bentley.
It allows Korpel to makeready the company’s MAN Roland presses from a Windows PC, while the machines continue to print the previous job. That maximizes press uptime, while shrinking the set-up interval between projects. The system also provides detailed reports on virtually ever aspect of print production, so that variables like crew performance and stock selection can be analyzed and refined.
"Every job has been sent through that system for almost five years," he says. "It would feel strange to do it any other way. We can even move CIP3 files between the two presses. Thanks to PECOM, we’re beating most of our estimated times, so our clients get their results sooner."
BGC is in the process of networking the other main elements of its operation — prepress, bindery, fulfillment and administration. It’s scheduled to be one of the three or four beta sites in the world to run Kodak’s new EMS (enterprise management software) system. "It will let us run the entire operation from a PC — from estimating to invoicing," Bentley says. "And our presses can plug right into the network."
Meanwhile, Bentley Graphic Communication’s new 700 is making a big contribution to the company’s primary sales tool — the plant tour. "Nine out of ten prospects who take it wind up working with us," according to Bentley. "We love to talk about our quality work and our new UV capabilities, and show off our people and our technology investments. We’ve found that print buyers know a good thing when they see it."
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