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Rapid Impressions installs a second ROLAND 700, Expands its CIM workflow

Press release from the issuing company

Broadview, Illinois — Three years ago, Rapid Impressions moved up into full-size sheetfed printing by purchasing a six-color ROLAND 700 with a PECOM operating and automation system. This spring, the company is taking another quantum leap forward, installing a new nine-color ROLAND 700, complete with perfecting, in-line coating and a host of additional automated advancements. “Before our first 700, we had a Shinohara half-size press with minimal automation,” says Jim Kosowski, Vice President at Rapid Impressions. “If we had not invested in the 700 with PECOM we would not be in business today.” That reflection is not a sentiment, but a dollars and cents assessment from an MBA-credentialed executive who has expanded his business during a period of industry-wide contraction. Advanced automation is a prime reason why. Rapid Impressions uses the JobPilot PECOM module to pre-program its ROLAND 700 with the next job’s specifications, while the current job continues to print. That productive practice will be replicated on company’s new nine-color 700, when it’s up-and-running in May. “Makereadies are fast and efficient,” Kosowski says. “With PECOM and CCI (Computer Controlled Inking), we can break into long run jobs when required with minimal impact on total cost and time. For short run work, we make our money on the makeready.” Scheduling flexibility was the reason Rapid Impressions chose to go with a second ROLAND 700 rather than running with another brand or model. “We operate a just in time manufacturing operation with very dynamic scheduling requirements,” Kosowski notes. “Adding a second press in the same format facilitates greater scheduling flexibility and pushes scheduling decisions later in the process.” Production redundancy was another check in favor of the ROLAND 700: “By having a second press of the same format and model, we have backup production ability should we have a problem on one press. Furthermore, there are cost savings through inventory reduction of spare parts and maintenance items and bulk purchasing of like consumable items.” Rapid Impressions plans on making the most of the nine-color capacity of the new press, and is ready to capitalize on the unique niche opportunities that the extra units will provide. “We are currently running 20 micron Staccato screening with a goal of 10 micron later this year,” Kosowski comment. “We are also implementing Hexachrome and are exploring a number of other quality enhancing processes. “Our credo is that we will print anything that can be printed on a sheetfed press. Being versatile has created numerous opportunities to expand our services into more profitable niches.” Many of those niches as well as bread-and-butter work will be more cost-effectively served thanks to the new press’ 4/5 perfecting capabilities. Rapid Impressions has a number of continuing projects that are well suited to the two-sided printing procedure and intends to maximize its use. The new 700 will be equipped with OptiPrint Jackets to ensure that print quality remains pristine during the perfecting process. Enhancing the perfector’s prowess will be an in-line scoring/perforating/die cutting system. “It will enable us to do a number of jobs that now are printed each side and then off-line press scored and perforated. We will be able to accomplish in one pass what previously took us three.” An across-the-board productivity boost is also expected to come from the implementation of a Logic Management Information System from EFI. Initially, Rapid Impressions is using EFI’s Auto-Count interface to have its presses and other workflow components communicate with its MIS network. “Phase two will consist of direct interface to prepress and to PECOM,” Kosowski says. “The purpose of the system is to facilitate better communication throughout the production process and create time. Our commitment to a lean, efficient manufacturing process allows for greater per person production.” Rapid Impressions is also making sure the human side of its production equation is up-to-speed on its new equipment. Not only will its press operators undergo on-site sessions delivered by MAN Roland instructors, they are also scheduled for PowerPrinter training at the press maker’s Westmont headquarters. That program is designed to explore more deeply the press’ PECOM-driven automation, so the pressmen can make the most of all the 700’s advanced capabilities. That people-oriented perspective is another reason why Rapid Impressions continues to partner with MAN Roland. “Originally, I picked MAN Roland because I felt the 700 delivered the best printed product,” Kosowski says. “MAN Roland worked with Rapid Impressions to create a value proposition that met all of our needs. During the past three years, we have developed a very close partnership with MAN Roland that is mutually beneficial.”