Employee's Invention Is the 'Ferus' of Them All
April 15, 2002 -- Necessity may be the mother of invention, but at Quad/Graphics’ Lomira, Wis., printing plant, Jon Ferus is the father.
Jon, a Finishing manager, is the driving force behind the conception of a new streamfeeder - the Ferus Feeder - that is, among other benefits, mechanically less complicated than other feeders. (It's common practice at Quad/Graphics to name an invention after its creator.) The feeder is a featured component on countless saddle stitchers in our Lomira plant, as well as stitchers in other Quad/Graphics plants nationwide.
"In making these feeders, I tried to keep everything simple, with fewer electronics and fewer parts than other automation," said Jon, a 17-year employee. Simplicity makes training easier, as well as enables stitcher operators to fix minor glitches without having to call an electrician.
While the Ferus Feeder has fewer gadgets than its counterparts, it isn't lacking in speed or efficiency. It reduces makeready time because it's easier to move a Ferus Feeder from pocket to pocket and machine to machine without the help of a forklift. In addition, when it comes to feeding forms, the Ferus Feeder puts more of the workload on the machine instead of the employee.
Jon worked on the feeder prototype with other stitcher operators for about a year, testing different paper, a variety of signature page counts and different product sizes. Once Jon and his fellow architects of invention arrived at a feeder that met their expectations, Quad’s R&D subsidiary, QTI, began manufacturing the feeders. As for Jon, he's awaiting word of a patent - and thinking about his next invention.
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