‘It’s paying for itself,” online printer Copyworld Inc says of new RMGT 9 Series eight-up model, which also is attracting new types of customers.
MARIETTA, GEORGIA - Since it was installed this past April, a new RMGT 9 Series five-color sheetfed, LED-UV press at Northern California-based online printer Copyworld Inc has been saving the firm anywhere between $12,000 and $15,000 per month. Running 24x36-inch sheets, “it’s bigger than a half-size press,” says plant manager Khaqan Ashraf, whose father started the company in 1987. “We can run eight up [on a sheet], and the press is powderless. Prints come off dry immediately. There’s no tackiness at all,” he notes.
“It’s such a large machine,” Ashraf adds, “but it is able to produce work just as quickly as our DI [direct-imaging] presses.” The elder Ashraf had purchased three 19x12.5-inch Quickmaster DI presses from Heidelberg years ago, as his printing company migrated to more commercial work. The meters literally had turned over on two of those older presses, Khaqan recalls. “We ran the heck out of them. One DI ran around the clock and had 150 million impressions on it, a record, according to Heidelberg,” he reports. The other ran approximately 12 hours per day and had 120 million impressions, and a third press had 80 million impressions. “These presses served their purpose but the plates are expensive,” he acknowledges. Clearly, it was time for the three-shift operation to transition to updated technology manufactured in Japan by RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology (RMGT).
However, the Ashrafs admit that they were reluctant to purchase such a large press. “We have minimal space in our 10,000-square-foot plant,” says Khaqan, “and working with the city of Berkley [CA] to upgrade power is challenging. With the 40-inch press we looked at, there was a power issue with the aqueous unit that pretty much ruled out that model.” A friend introduced Ashraf to Kian Hemmen, of Print & Finishing Solutions (Western US Distributor for RMGT), who ran some numbers: “First of all, we needed no power upgrade. Then Kian showed us how the 925 would fit. [It measures six feet or so narrower than a 40-inch machine, and about 15 or 20 feet shorter.] The bottom line is we got a brand new machine for what a four- or five-year-old Heidelberg would cost.”
Thanks to the new press, the 22 employees at the $4 million operation are adding new types of customers beyond the typical short runs of between 1,000 and 15,000 data sheets, door hangers, flyers, postcards and business cards. “We are getting into the wholesale [trade printing] business as a reseller,” Ashraf explains. With a full-service bindery that includes booklet makers, two 45-inch cutters, folders and a die cutter, he can now compete for book printing that simply was not cost-effective to produce on the DI presses. Already, he reports executing projects such as 6,000 copies of a 40-page book that was turned around within three days; 3,000 copies of a 60-page, 5.5x8.5-inch book; and a 20,000 run of a sixteen-page book. “The new press from RMGT allows us to be competitive, sell at wholesale, and still make money,” he explains.
The RMGT 925’s LED-UV capabilities are opening new doors in another way, too. There is a prospect that requires a 36-hour turnaround for an automotive client. “We had sticking issues before,” Ashraf remembers, “but now they may become my biggest customer.”