New Inkjet Press Brings ‘Significant’ Savings to Excellus BCBSMarch 1, 2014 By Bob Neubauer
For Rochester, N.Y.-based Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS), the transition to inkjet color production printing in October has been a resounding success.
“The cost savings are significant,” reports Catherine Ciardi, corporate director of Document Services.
After a rigorous investigation of available inkjet devices, the 33-employee in-plant installed a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 AD3/AD4, which prints 420 feet per minute (fpm) on an 18˝ wide web. It is configured with Standard Hunkeler unwinding and finishing gear—including the Hunkeler DP6 dynamic perforator—along with an IBIS Smart Binder.
With this installation, Document Services joins a handful of other in-plants that have moved into production inkjet printing. According to a recent IPG survey, 2.7 percent of in-plants have already installed an inkjet press, while 7.7 percent have either budgeted to install one or are seriously investigating the technology, with plans to install within three years.
Document Services replaced several Océ cut-sheet and continuous-feed toner devices with the InfoPrint 5000 and three other cut-sheet MICR-capable black-and-white printers: two Kodak Digimaster HD300s and a Digimaster EX138.
“We did an entire print room refresh,” notes Joe Ferrara III, workflow analyst at Excellus BCBS, upstate New York’s largest non-profit health insurance company.
The InfoPrint 5000 is now printing long runs of marketing materials, provider directories, transactional materials and more, with a speed and efficiency never seen before at the in-plant. The Standard Hunkeler DP6 dynamic perforator alone is allowing the shop to perf specific pages on the fly, saving time that used to be spent opening reams of pre-perfed paper.
Additional time savings comes from the increased uptime of inkjet equipment compared with toner devices.
“We’ve learned over the years, with toner-based printing, inherently, there’s a lot of moving parts,” explains Ferrara. “With inkjet, you’re basically just moving paper and spraying ink on the page.” So mechanical failure points—drums, pressure rollers, fuser oil—are all out of the picture now, he points out.
“Your operational uptime is increased dramatically,” he says.