New Four-color Press in Arkansas
Standing with Arkansas State University Printing Services’ new four-color Heidelberg Speedmaster SX 74 are (front row, from left) Pradeep Mishra (director), Terry Corn, Phareta Calkin, Lou Adams Ray, Bryan Stevenson and Arcadio Gil. Back row: Steve Franks, David Maloch (assistant director) and Floyd Cozart.
The new Suprasetter CTP system makes plates for all five of the in-plant’s presses
While many printers are watching their volumes head south, things are a little different for Arkansas State University Printing Services.
“Our volume just keeps growing, and the amount of work and the revenue we generate for the university keeps growing,” says David Maloch, assistant director of the nine-employee in-plant. “So they like us over here.”
That strong administrative support earned the in-plant a Distinguished Performance Award from the university for team achievement last year. It also came in handy when the in-plant put forth the bold suggestion of buying a brand new four-color press.
“They love what we do,” Maloch says of university administration. “So they were willing to help us fund this new press.”
And since students in the university’s four-year graphic communications program use the in-plant as a laboratory, they would also benefit from having access to the latest offset technology. (The in-plant’s director, Pradeep Mishra, is a graphic communications instructor.)
As a result of this support, the in-plant just installed a new four-color, 20×29˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster SX 74 with an aqueous coater last month, along with a new chemistry-free Heidelberg Suprasetter computer-to-plate system.
“It’s really exciting,” remarks Maloch. “It’s really going to improve productivity and quality and efficiency.”
Getting a new press had become a necessity, Maloch says. The in-plant’s old four-color manroland press was breaking down frequently, impacting productivity. The in-plant needed a fast, reliable press to keep up with its heavy workload of full-color brochures, newsletters, magazines, postcards and flyers—especially considering the hefty amount of work coming from off-campus customers. Thanks to a state law requiring agencies to use state-owned printing plants, the in-plant receives almost half of its revenue from state agencies and colleges.
Printing Services looked at presses from Komori, KBA and Heidelberg, then went out to bid.
“Heidelberg was the low bidder,” says Maloch.
The Suprasetter CTP system was part of the deal.
“We decided we wanted to go a little greener,” he says. “The only thing that we use on the plates is water.”
The Suprasetter makes plates for all five of the in-plant’s presses: a one-color, 29˝ Heidelberg SORM, a pair of two-color Heidelberg Printmasters, and a four-unit Fairchild News King web press.
The new Heidelberg SX 74 comes with numerous automation features, such as auto plate loading, auto blanket/cylinder washers and auto densitometer, all controlled from an operator monitor console.
“Makeready on a typical job is going to be so much faster than what we had previously,” remarks Maloch.
The first job run on the press was 6,500 copies of a 68-page commencement program.
“Typically, it would have taken the operator on the Heidelberg SORM…30 to 40 minutes to do his makeready,” Maloch says. “This thing was up and running in seven and a half minutes.”
“When you can save 30 minutes makeready on a job—and that’s being conservative—you can run one extra job a day, easily,” he says.
Aiding those faster speeds is the press’ ability to load press-ready skids of paper.
“Instead of having to offload paper from a skid, and load it into a feeder, we can just roll a brand new skid of paper up to the back and it will feed from the skid,” he says. “That’s a nice feature.”
The aqueous coater is another great asset, Maloch adds, and should bring in at least one new agency customer with work that requires an aqueous coating.
To vent the fumes from the coater, the in-plant had to install a 30-foot ventilation pipe up through the ceiling. The shop also had to pour a new reinforced concrete pad for the press and knock down an interior wall so it would fit. A lot of electrical work had to be done in advance too, Maloch says, but it was all worth it.
Despite so many in-plants moving away from offset, he says the in-plant never considered getting a digital press instead.
“When you can run a newsletter two-up on a 19×25˝ sheet, and run at 14,000 sheets an hour, you can far outdistance a digital machine,” he points out. He adds that the shop has a Xerox 700 when it needs to produce short-run color work.
To promote the new press, Printing Services plans to hold an open house this month or next, with a wide invitation list. Even Governor Mike Beebe will be invited, Maloch says. Beebe is a big fan of the in-plant, after Printing Services did such a quality job printing a coffee table book for him on the history of the Arkansas governor’s mansion.