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Scientology Church to Launch Second Massive In-plant

The Church of Scientology was so pleased at how well its digital book printing operation has worked out, that it is about to open another in-plant, this one with large sheetfed and web offset presses.

November 2009 By Bob Neubauer
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AFTER STARTING up an extensive digital in-plant almost three years ago, the Church of Scientology has decided to replicate this success with an even more ambitious in-house printing operation. Just a few months from now the church plans to open a new offset printing plant in Commerce, Calif., 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.

Among the major equipment being installed in the 180,000-square-foot facility are a five-color Heidelberg XL 105 with a coater and a six-unit Goss Sunday 2000 web press. The church plans to bring all of its magazine and direct mail printing in-house.

The decision to start an in-plant, rather than continue to send this work to commercial printers, came about after extensive analysis of current and future volumes. The church now prints between two and three million magazines a month but estimates that could reach six million a month within five years. In addition, magazines are printed in 17 languages, and the church plans to expand that to 52 languages.

"No commercial printer had the scope or the range to do all these different products efficiently and cost effectively," says Jamie McClintock, senior project manager. "It ended up saving us a significant amount of money to build a facility that produced our products. We then get total control of quality and total control of scheduling."

The church learned the benefits of in-house printing from its digital in-plant. Located in a 135,000-square-foot facility about five minutes away from the new plant, the digital shop houses two Xerox iGen3 digital presses, eight DocuPrint 1050s, four HP Indigo 5000s and an HP Indigo ws4500 web label press. The in-plant can turn out 20,000 hard-cover books (up to 450 pages in length) in two or three days, McClintock says. These books, all penned by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, are printed in 52 languages.

In-plant Advantages: Speed, Quality, Cost

"We found that a facility we owned and operated gave us the advantage of speed, quality and cost," he says, adding that most commercial shops offered only two of the three. "We hope to repeat the same success whereby we reduce turn times, increase quality and decrease unit costs.

"The other major factor is that a lot of the intricate marketing materials we produce are expensive to produce unless equipment is tailored to those styles of designs," he continues.  "We can afford to automate the process and thus significantly reduce unit costs."

 

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