DI Presses in the In-plant

At the Missouri State Printing Center, press operators Jim Morris (left) and Jeff Claypool stand with their shop’s Ryobi 3404 DI press.

Dennis Payton, supervisor of printing at the University of Maryland, and Teresa Thacker, manager of Printing Services, show off their Presstek 34DI press.

A brand new Presstek 52DI was just installed at Glasgow Caledonian University, in Scotland. With it here are (from the left): Andrew Scott, head of Print Design Services; Steven McCart, print production manager; Colin Gaffney, offset print operator; and Karen Kernan, offset print operator.

The Heidelberg Quickmaster DI 46 at Illinois State University, operated here by John Getz, enabled the in-plant to enter the four-color market almost 10 years ago.

Scores of in-plants are installing direct imaging (DI) offset presses. Why do they feel DI technology is so well suited to their mix of work?

EVEN AFTER installing an HP Indigo 1050 digital color press four years ago, San Diego State University ReproGraphic Services still found it challenging to reach portions of the four-color market. Longer-run jobs were not cost effective on the 1050, so the in-plant was using its aging computer-to-plate (CTP) system and two-color presses to produce them. It was not the most efficient setup.

So in 2006, Leslie Rutledge, manager of the nine-employee in-plant, made the decision to install a Presstek 34DI direct imaging press. Life has not been the same since. The chemistry-free, waterless offset press images plates directly on the press, saving time, improving quality and decreasing costs.

“For our shop, it was the best decision I ever made,” declares Rutledge.

A growing number of in-plants agree with her.

Though introduced to the market back in 1991, direct imaging (DI) technology has lingered on the fringes of the industry; traditionalists were skeptical of it and progressives bypassed it for toner-based devices. Lately, though, DI seems to be gaining traction; numerous in-plants have installed DI presses in recent years, viewing it as a cost-effective way to enter the four-color market.

That was the case at California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, where the in-plant added a Presstek 34E DI to stem the flow of four-color work to outside printers—work the in-plant couldn’t previously handle with its one- and two-color presses.

“The 34E DI enables us to produce four-color work in-house,” explains Daiken Fiore, manager of Graphic Communications Services.

“We needed to get into four-color,” adds Dave Nelson, director of Printing Services at Illinois State University, in Normal, Ill., where a Heidelberg Quickmaster DI 46 has been in place for nearly a decade. “We were a two-color shop, and this was the most compact and, frankly, least risky way to get into four-color.”

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.

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