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Schumann Printers, Inc. to add gapless Heidelberg web press

Press release from the issuing company

DOVER, NH, February 3, 2004 - With a goal of cutting makeready times to less than ten minutes, a family-owned web printer in Wisconsin will add its first gapless Heidelberg Sunday Press this summer. Schumann Printers, Inc. will install an eight-unit, two-web Sunday 2000 equipped with the Autoplate fully automatic plate changing system as well as automated presetting capabilities and closed loop controls. The new press is the centerpiece of a $15 million expansion effort at the company's plant in Fall River. "Using the most advanced equipment available to make our customers more successful has always been a cornerstone of our success," according to Jack Schumann, who founded the company in 1963. "Stepping up to the gapless Sunday Press will keep us way ahead of the technology curve in terms of print quality, automation and productivity." Heidelberg will supply its own Contiweb CS splicers, Ecocool dryers with integrated chill rolls, and pinless combination and former folders with the new press system. Dual folders and the two-web configuration will provide versatility to print a wide range of signature formats and page counts. Schumann Printers, Inc. will also equip the press with automated stackers and palletizers. Press operators as well as mechanical and electrical maintenance crews from Schumann Printers, Inc. will complete training programs at the Heidelberg Customer Training Center in Dover, New Hampshire prior to the installation. Schumann Printers, Inc. operates five heatset web presses, including two Heidelberg M-1000 presses. The company also offers complete prepress, bindery and mailing services in a single location. Makereadies are critical Short- and medium-run publications dominate the job mix at Schumann Printers, Inc., and Jack Schumann is quick to point out that profitability is closely linked with fast changeovers and high-speed productivity.  "We don’t sell impressions as much as we sell makereadies, so we invested in a press designed to help us squeeze out absolutely every bit of inefficiency and waste possible," he explains. Run lengths for more than 250 magazine titles produced each month occasionally extend to the hundreds of thousands but generally average just 30,000 to 40,000 copies. Multiple versions are the norm. Press operators routinely complete eight or nine job changeovers in an eight-hour shift. With automated plate changing and presetting and closed loop controls on the Sunday 2000, they will be aiming to hold those makereadies to between five and ten minutes. At the same time, the company is counting on automation and ease-of-use to minimize operator involvement. Plans call for a crew of just three full-time operators, with a fourth splitting time between the new press and an existing one. High-tech and high-touch Print quality, speed and the ability to change the cylindrical blankets in under a minute without packing were key factors in the choice to invest in gapless Sunday Technology. Automation and integration features available through the Heidelberg Omnicon control system also weighed heavily in the decision. "We did a lot of research and were convinced that the Sunday 2000 allows us to leapfrog to the most innovative press platform available," Schumann explains. Schumann believes that this type of advanced technology is creating a dividing line among printers, with no middle ground. "You have to take a long-term approach and continuously invest in the latest equipment," he claims. "If you fall behind, it is almost impossible to catch up or to meet growing customer expectations." Still, he concedes that technology does not guarantee success. Personal service is the other big reason the company has been able to keep growing despite a general slump in the economy. Employees embrace the concept that their success depends on finding ways to make their customers more successful. They even take a pledge to be available any time - day or night - to meet a customer's needs. "We have positioned ourselves as a very responsive, accessible alternative to the larger suppliers and as a company willing to do whatever it takes to bring the benefits of technology directly to our customers," Jack Schumann concludes.