Marlton, N.J. – Five years after Good Printers (Bridgewater, Va.) took the digital plunge with the purchase of an HP-Indigo digital press, the company has accelerated its drive toward digital integration by improving the efficiency and flexibility of its postpress operations. A recent upgrade was the 2016 installation of a fully automated MBO M80 6/4/4/2 Continuous Flexible Buckle-Plate Folding System with interchangeable SBAP 46 vertical stacking and A76 mobile stream deliveries, which the longtime MBO customer purchased to add capacity, improve its ability to handle a growing volume of shorter runs, decrease set-up times, and increase throughput. The fully automated folder gives operators the ability to automatically calibrate fold rollers and fold plates at the touch of a button. The M80 is the company’s first automated folder.
A Friend Indeed
Of particular note is the fourth folding unit, a 32-page M7.58 module with 58mm fold rollers for thicker products, which the company uses to produce signatures for its publication work, as well to increase throughput on a 16-page project for a financial client that begins as a 23x35” offset-printed press sheet and ultimately becomes an 8 ½ x 5 ½” nested newsletter. MBO helped Good Printers devise a solution for this unusual niche project by shipping a 32-page unit from Germany to its New Jersey demo center for testing and working with the customer to achieve the desired result. “We were impressed by MBO’s professionalism and willingness to go the extra mile to help us with this project,” Meredith said. “Although we don’t use the mobile M7.58 for every job, the M80 folding system with 32-page unit has definitely given us a leg up on the competition.”
“MBO’s M80 is a revolutionary new folding system that gives users like Good Printers the ability to upgrade, reconfigure or interchange components as market demands change,” said James Martin, CEO of MBO America. “Capabilities like this are critical for printers that want to stay ahead of the event-based, time-sensitive marketing strategies embraced by their customers.”
Stepping Up to Full Automation
“We took out one of our existing folders to make room for the M80,” said General Manager Tim Meredith, “but we still gained significant capacity, along with the ability to take on jobs we couldn’t handle with our older equipment. We use the M80, with or without the 32-page unit, to fold both offset and digital output. We have excellent substrate flexibility and are able to fold from 14-pt. down to 40-lb. stocks with ease. We find the folder to be pretty evenly matched with our two Heidelberg offset presses and our HP-Indigo in terms of speed.” As for the learning curve experienced by operators who were accustomed to working with manual equipment, Meredith explained that by rotating personnel on and off the new folding system, the company makes “daily progress” bringing everyone up to speed on the operation of the new folder.
This can mean fewer touches, reduced staffing, faster processing, and improved throughput for printing businesses of all types and sizes. In this way, MBO technology fully aligns finishing with the pace, productivity, and profitability of digital printing.
The modular design technology is made possible thanks to a structural redesign and the all-new M1 control system with touchscreen control, which also can be upgraded as components are changed. MBO Modular Finishing Technology makes the M80 compatible with a wide range of additional finishing modules. Options include a Slitter Shaft Cassette MWK for quick access to the rear slitter shaft via a locking slide track; MBO Automation Technology, which can be integrated into each folding module, giving operators the ability to calibrate fold rollers and fold plates automatically; and an Alternating Deflector for increased product throughput.
Customer Service Is Key
Although Meredith acknowledges that 75 percent of Good Printers’ business is currently offset, including runs into the thousands on its two Heidelberg presses, Meredith says the company already sees significant growth on the digital side coming from an increased volume of short runs the company prints, finishes and ships within 48 hours for most jobs. For the foreseeable future, additional growth “will come from shifting a portion of our short-run book printing business to an on-demand platform,” he said. To secure its growth, Good Printers concentrates on providing the kind of responsive, high-quality customer service that will enable the company to retain existing customers and drive prospective clients to the menu of services it offers under one capable roof.
“We stay away from work that doesn’t fit our capabilities while we try to differentiate ourselves by offering our customers the widest possible range of services in-house,” Meredith said. As evidenced by the company’s purchase of the automated M80 flexible folding system, Good Printers is fully cognizant of the role a highly efficient folding operation can play in its strategic differentiation.
According to Meredith, Good Printers already has “something of a hybrid business going.” In addition to transitioning a portion of its book printing business to an on-demand platform, the company has implemented a system for another customer whereby every quarter it batch prints a portion of the one million 8-page teaching guides it produces annually, and finishes them as needed with the help of the fast, flexible M80 folding system. As a result, the company warehouses just a handful of skids at one time, while the customer enjoys the flexibility of being able to make revisions as needed. It’s just one example of a trend that will continue as Good Printers explores the integration of digital print and high-speed finishing from MBO.
Since its founding in 1902, Good Printers has established itself as a well-regarded provider of high-quality commercial printing, publication printing, and direct mail services. Its staff of 45 serves a clientele made up primarily of associations, nonprofits and conferences throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.