Kennesaw, Ga. -- Millennium Press, Agawam, Mass. installed its first Heidelberg press a decade ago and its most recent – a 6-color Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 with Prinect Press Center and Prinect Peak Performance Package – in 2007. In between, in a prescient move, the company added Heidelberg’s Prinect Prinance MIS, as well as a Suprasetter 75 thermal CtP system with Prinect Printready prepress workflow (since upgraded to Prinect Prepress Manager). It has continued to extend and build its suite of Prinect workflow solutions in modular fashion to become the first fully “Prinected” print shop (MIS to press with web connectivity to Millennium customers) in the U.S. last year.
In addition to Prinect Prepress Manager, recent installations and upgrades include Prinect Remote Access; Prinect Integration Manager; Prinect Pressroom Manager; Prinect Archive System; Prinect Digital Print Manager; and Prinect Scheduler. The company has also installed the new Prinect Press Center with Wall Screen application, and currently is evaluating the addition of Heidelberg’s Prinect Postpress Manager to integrate its finishing machines fully into the workflow. It also reports a steady increase in web-based ordering of “basic” printed products (business cards, postcards, flyers, and so on) via the Prinect Direct Access customer portal.
All in A Day’s Work – And That’s the Point
According to Millennium’s president, Jim Sullivan, the company’s ambitious growth strategy called for the automation of as many process steps as possible in order to accomplish more work more efficiently and in less time – without hiring additional sales staff and without incurring any degradation in quality. Heidelberg Prinect modules are now so tightly integrated into the company’s workflow, that the company can handle “rush” jobs quickly and easily, without having to reshuffle its job queue or reschedule other work. Sullivan recently shared the details of one such “ordinary” job.
Around 8 a.m. one Wednesday morning, Sullivan said, he was in the office working on an estimate when the web connect logo in Prinect Direct Access started to flash, indicating that Millennium had just received a shopping cart order for 20,000 4/4+AQ 8.5x11 flyers on 100# Gloss Text, cut and boxed. A PDF was supplied with the order. “We need the order today because it is being inserted into the newspaper,” the customer noted. “If you can't do it, don’t proceed.”
At this point, Sullivan reported, “I knew the job was doable. After bringing the customer-supplied PDF into Prepress Manager, we RIPped the file and supplied the customer with an automated proof via Prinect Remote Access. It was quickly approved, after which the job was off to Meta Dimension to create an imposition proof.” When the proof was output, however, Sullivan noticed that the customer’s geometry was off on the second page. No problem, he explained. “We simply opened the PDF in Prepress Manager, made a quick adjustment, and sent the file for plating.”
Millennium’s fully automated Suprasetter 75 with multi-cassette loader ran the plates (Heidelberg Saphira Chem-free), while the pressman finished the current job and set up the new one according to the electronic JDF job ticket he had already received from Prepress Manager. Subsequently, “The job - a 5,000 sheet run per side – was a piece of cake on our Peak Performance Speedmaster XL 75,” Sullivan continued. “We ran the first side, loaded it into our POLAR pile turner and back onto press for the second side. We ran the job as a work-and-turn to save on makereadies and plates.” Last stop for the job was Millennium’s Polar 115XT Autotrim. After boxing the flyers, “We called the customer for pickup at our dock just 3 hours and 49 minutes after the order was received,” Sullivan said. “They thought we were joking!”
Sullivan had these further observations:
• No CSR was involved. Because the Direct Access shopping cart was used, “The job specifications were already loaded and the estimate linked to those specifications, so the customer knew the price up front.”
• The job was in prepress for less than 10 minutes. “Had the customer’s geometry been correct, even less time would have been needed.”
• The Suprasetter 105 MCL ran unsupervised, thanks to the platesetter’s automatic loading and stacking features.
• Just one operator was required to man the Speedmaster SM 75 Peak Performance Press with Inpress control, “one of the most amazing products to hit the press since the introduction of closed-loop, color-reading systems,” Sullivan said. “It takes the pressman’s focus off the task of watching color so he can concentrate on overall sheet quality.”
• Cutting data was sent automatically from Prinect Prepress Manager to Millennium’s Compucut software to the POLAR 115XT Autotrim knife, saving time, lowering costs, and enabling uninterrupted production.
While Sullivan is careful to point out that the referenced job “flowed through the plant in the normal course of business” without disrupting or displacing ongoing work, Millennium’s embrace of computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) as packaged by Prinect clearly has been the key to the company’s burgeoning production capacity and its ability to do more with less. “At Millennium, we believe that CIM is the future of print, and we prove it every day in a real manufacturing environment, on live jobs with real deadlines,” Sullivan said.
Real-World Integration with Prinect
Prinect is a collection of more than 25 Heidelberg solutions that covers everything from print shop management, online customer connection, prepress and digital print workflow to makeready optimization, color, quality, machine operation, and a full range of services. By integrating the traditionally discrete areas of management, prepress, press and postpress, Prinect solutions offer greater transparency, create more efficient production workflows, and increase profitability for growth-oriented print shops. Heidelberg is the only manufacturer to offer a print shop workflow that integrates and manages the entire print production process.
Located in Agawam, Mass., the 18-employee, $3.5 million Millennium Press recently celebrated 20 successful years in business. The company serves a regional client base located throughout New England.
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