Heidelberg USA has announced the purchase of a Speedmaster SM 74 5-color press with aqueous coater by Aaron Thomas & Associates, Chatsworth, CA. Installation of the new press caps a year of rebuilding for the firm, whose original facility was destroyed by a fire 12 months ago. The company chose to rebuild as an all-Heidelberg shop to benefit from the single-source advantage only Heidelberg can offer.
“We used to deal with multiple vendors, but since the fire and first installation of a POLAR 137 XT cutter, we’ve been thoroughly impressed, not only with the depth and breadth of Heidelberg’s equipment options and supporting services, but also with the expertise and professionalism of its staff,” said company owner Fred Thomas. “Every time we put in a Heidelberg product, it’s been a consistently wonderful experience that everyone notices and appreciates. That experience has sold me on Heidelberg as much as anything else.”
Of the new Speedmaster SM 74, he said, “This press has everything we could ask for,” including Axis Control color measurement, and the InterTech Technology Award-winning Prinect Press Center with Intellistart navigation and integrated Wallscreen. “But what we’re most excited about is the addition of Prinect Pressroom Manager,” the world's first JDF-based pressroom management system, which he described as, “A far cry from the standalone workflow we had before the fire.”
Playing to Your Strengths
Referring to his choice of a half-size press over a full-size model, “It was never part of our plan to put in 40” capacity,” Thomas explained. “Although we have periods of high volume, a half-size press made the most sense for us. In addition to fast makereadies and high-quality printing, we can take advantage of the lower cost to operate: smaller setups, smaller plates, and a single operator—to be competitive on jobs that are too large for digital and too small for the full-size market. That said, the emphasis at Aaron Thomas & Associates is on strengthening its direct marketing capabilities, for which the company already has won multiple awards.
“We’re one of the largest political direct marketers in the country,” Thomas said. “It makes no sense for us to focus on general commercial printing and try to compete on price. That’s a losing long-term proposition.”
Previous Heidelberg installations over the past 12 months include the POLAR 137 XT cutting system, as well as a small-format POLAR 78X, a Printmaster QM 46 two-color press, and a Suprasetter A75 CtP device with Prinect Prepress Manager workflow, used to image Heidelberg Saphira plates.
Initial training on the SM 74 involved the firm’s half-size pressman, its small-format pressmen, as well as some bindery personnel. According to Thomas, the plan is to gear up by training and cross-training current employees, and then to initiate a series of new hires, who would be trained internally. “We like to help new employees grow in their careers,” he said.
Twenty-three-year-old Aaron Thomas & Associates is a $7 million, full-service, political direct mail and printing agency providing comprehensive business marketing services to government and multinational corporations; business and trade associations; labor unions; and candidates for public office.