Lyon, March 6, 2008 - Schumann Printers, Inc., a high-volume web press printer specializing in production of special-interest publications, has benefitted greatly from a proactive strategy of putting in place the right equipment, experience, team members, technology, and standards - to streamline its production process while keeping costs competitive and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Recently taking its place as a key component in the Wisconsin company's technology and standards repertoire is CMYK Optimizer from Alwan Color Expertise.
La Crosse CEO Recommends Alwan
In the spring of 2007, Randall Peters, president and CEO of system supplier La Crosse Litho Supply, LLC of Sussex, WI, introduced Schumann to a color management product which he said had the potential to deliver considerable savings on ink. Alwan CMYK Optimizer from Alwan Color Expertise provides preflight, standardization and optimization for CMYK separations and data. It allows printers to control and improve the printability of the files they receive from their customers by optimizing their separations for the destination process, press, and/or paper. And because it solves nearly all set-off problems due to high ink weights, it can deliver the additional advantage of ink savings as high as 30%.
Ever interested in new ways to reduce costs and enhance productivity, Jack Schumann and his prepress manager, Kent Eilenfeldt, decided to give the software a try...and they have not looked back since.
Says Schumann, "We thought the ink savings could be a nice bonus, but decided to set that aside and give it a try for its other advantages. The prospect of CMYK Optimizer standardizing and optimizing customer-supplied files, generating more easily reproducible proofs, and improving printability on the press was the real appeal."
"Frankly, we were astounded by the results we achieved," Eilenfeldt says.
Alwan CMYK Optimizer Results in Several Positive Changes
He explains, "In the past we would have periodic press shutdowns on a regular basis because of over-saturated files from designers at 400% density. We would manually have to take the files back, call the customer, and then manually modify the PDF. There would be lots of back and forth."
"Alwan CMYK Optimizer automatically catches these situations," he explains. "We never think about it anymore. It allows us to take down the DMax without causing color shifts. Using GCR, Alwan takes over-inked files down to 310 or 290 density, for nice coverage on the press. It removes contaminants, delivers vibrant colors and reproduces, for example, corporate colors, correctly and automatically. The key is the Delta E feature unique to CMYK Optimizer."
With just five months using the software, the prepress department at Schumann now routinely employs Alwan CMYK Optimizer to check and handle more than 1,000 pages a day. With the in-house developed workflow system at Schumann, in which CMYK Optimizer plays a critical role, pages go through preflight, RIPping, internal proofing, and remote (monitor) proofing -- all automatically.
Says Eilenfeldt, "We don't need to take the time to look at each page. Rather, we pick settings for 99 percent of the pages - a happy medium with GCR and UCR settings - and it's automatic. It's almost like 'set it and forget it' mode. Normally that would make you suspect, but with CMYK Optimizer, every page flies through, and they go through great!"
With CMYK Optimizer software, inline conflicts - one page needing more red than the others, for example- have become a thing of the past. Says Eilenfeldt, "Before we'd under-ink the heavy page and over-ink the light page to come up with a match. The Alwan software almost eliminates this problem - we never have inline conflicts anymore. That's almost a miracle!"
"In addition," says Schumann, "CMYK Optimizer is the perfect complement to prints that require GRACoL 7, gray balance printing. It's easy to achieve with Alwan CMYK Optimizer. Black lays flat and beautiful. Nice, not over-inked and the color is vibrant and clean."
Customers Notice the Difference
Current and prospective customers alike have noticed the difference CMYK Optimizer delivers at Schumann Printers, Inc.
One long-time customer is National Business Media, a publisher of several trade magazines. According to Bob Wieber, president and CEO of NBM, "We don't want our designers dealing with color. We trust Schumann for that and to make us look good."
Wieber adds, "In a nutshell, there's a reason that we've worked with Schumann for 20 years. We have confidence that they're ahead of the curve when it comes to color and quality. We hear from many of our customers that they're impressed with the way their ads pop in our publications and of course we love to hear that."
Likewise, Jack Schumann says he was working with one prospect for almost five years to gain their confidence and get their multi-million dollar printing contract. When the customer finally visited the plant, representatives picked up some of the color being run and commented, "you people print better than anyone we've ever seen."
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