Editions   North America | Europe | Magazine


Pratt Corp. Bolsters Digital Print Capabilities With A Columbia Turbo

Press release from the issuing company

5 February 2007 - Extending its digital capabilities to meet increased demand expected in 2007, Indianapolis-based Pratt Corp. has just installed a Columbia Turbo, its third printer from Inca Digital, one of the world's leading manufacturers of large format inkjet printing technology. This is the second Columbia Turbo installed by Pratt, who also has an Inca Spyder 320. The latest high-speed Columbia Turbo increases digital capacity by 63%, without the need for further manpower. Eight years ago, Pratt was determined to transform itself from a banner printer into a provider of turnkey graphics packages for large retail chains. Today, Pratt is a successful $60 million service provider-including brand imaging/positioning, creative, printing and installation-of display materials. With successful adoption of digital technology and lean manufacturing methods, Pratt has been able to handle 30% more business with no added staff. This is accompanied by reductions of 70% in press changeover times and 40% in key inventory supplies. Pratt creates materials almost exclusively on rigid materials. When it purchased its first Inca printer, an Eagle, in 2002, it was an integral part of Pratt's printing services and particularly key for short runs. "We used to print sheets on a roll-fed printer and then mount them. The Inca printer allowed us to eliminate this step and improve efficiency," comments Doc Pratt, Executive Vice President of Pratt Corp. "We like the fact that the substrate moves under the print head. We weren't sure that combination (or hybrid) printers, where a sheet is pushed or pulled, could do as good a job. UV curing is also important. We want to move as many solvent printers-and their associated chemicals-out of here." About a year and a half ago, Pratt traded its Inca Eagle towards a new Columbia Turbo to take advantage of the increased speed and quality, along with a six-color Spyder 320. The Spyder will shortly be converted to a Spyder 320+ white, capable of printing white ink as an overprint, underprint, or spot in single, multiple or graduated layers to provide significant flexibility from one machine. With the additional capacity provided by its second Columbia Turbo, Pratt is looking to move more of its smaller runs, traditionally produced by screen printers, to the Inca presses, where they are more cost effective. "We have had very good uptime, typically operating our printers around the clock five days a week-and often more," adds Russ Greene, director of manufacturing. While implementing lean manufacturing practices for about a year, Pratt has focused on removing waste. One of their biggest sources was inventory. "Rather than producing larger runs on a screen printer to satisfy annual print contracts, we can run smaller batches on the Inca printers digitally, virtually on-demand. This ensures fast delivery and lower inventory levels," remarks Greene. "There is also a secondary benefit for our customers: fast reaction time. With smaller inventories, our customers can decide to change graphics without paying for excess, unused inventory. Our Inca presses have delivered the quality and cost-effectiveness we were all hoping for."