Major Upgrades at Ashland University Bring Printing Back In-houseFebruary 1, 2010 By Bob Neubauer
After getting by for the past couple of decades with minimal investment, Ashland University Printing Services has carried out some major equipment upgrades, allowing the shop to bring a significant amount of printing back in-house.
About a year and a half ago, the Ashland, Ohio-based university invested in a new four-color Heidelberg Speedmaster 52, along with a Heidelberg Suprasetter computer-to-plate device with Prinect workflow. At the same time, the shop replaced its aging Baum folder with a 20˝ Stahl folder from Heidelberg.
Then, in October, the six-employee in-plant followed this up by trading in three Ricoh and Konica Minolta digital printers for a Canon imagePRESS 1110P black-and-white printer with a punch and a Canon imagePRESS C6000 digital color press.
Paul Jones, director of Printing Services, cites one reason for the recent investments: “We were losing jobs to the outside,” he reports.
The shop’s old Ryobi 3302 could not provide the quality or turnaround customers wanted, he explains.
He credits University President Dr. Frederick J. Finks with understanding this and realizing that by upgrading the in-plant, the school would save money in the end. Jones adds that the in-plant will pay the university back for the equipment over a five-year period.
One large job the in-plant has brought in-house is the printing of the alumni magazine. In November the shop produced all 50,000 magazines—800,000 impressions—in 12 days. Jones says the in-plant saves the university $3,000 an issue.
“It’s really been amazing to see the speed and the quality of the work. It’s like night and day,” Jones says. “Now we’re turning jobs the next day or even the same day.”
Small Jobs Moving to Digital
The new Canon printers have also brought positive changes.
“A lot of those small jobs that we were doing on the press, we’ve moved that into digital,” Jones says.
Because the new Canons can handle heavier card stock than the old printers, jobs like posters and post cards can now be printed digitally. And since the Canons are faster and easier to use, fewer people are needed to run jobs.
“Because of the new equipment overall, we have been able to insource more jobs, complete more jobs and provide faster turnaround times, with much better quality on all materials for our customers,” proclaims Jones.