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The In-plant Behind the Music

To control the quality of the printing and packaging that accompanies its musical instrument accessories, D'Addario relies on its in-plant.

January 2014
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A leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of musical instrument accessories, such as strings, drumheads, drumsticks and guitar and woodwind accessories, D'Addario & Company, Inc. is a family-owned company with roots dating back to 17th-century Italy.

With a centuries-old reputation for quality, efficiency and cost control, D'Addario naturally needs to keep a close eye on all of its package design and print advertising. To enable this, the Farmingdale, N.Y., company operates a busy in-house ad agency and in-plant printing division. The 10-employee operation includes a prepress department, press room and bindery and creates nearly all package design and print advertising in-house.

"Operating an in-plant pressroom allows D'Addario to best control the color and visual quality of our packaging," says Printing Manager Wayne Carbone. "Handling our printing needs in-house allows for better control of our inventory of packaging with shorter internal lead times than if we were to outsource."

In addition to packaging and print advertising, the D'Addario in-plant prints catalogs, stationery, music writing paper (in both book form and single sheet) and posters. Equipment in the prepress department includes a Harlequin RIP driving a Heidelberg Suprasetter platesetter and processor. The pressroom features a four-color, 29˝ Heidelberg SM74 press, a two-color Heidelberg SM52, a one-color Heidelberg GTO, and a one-color Halm Jet press. The bindery includes a single-fold Baum folder, a Polar cutter, a James Burn Wire-O punch, plus scoring, perforating and drilling equipment.

Using a Memjet-powered printer, the D'Addario in-plant is capable of variable data envelope printing. The shop also has wide-format print capabilities using an Epson Stylus Pro 7600 roll-fed inkjet printer, as well as a Gandi Innovations 4x8-foot flatbed UV inkjet printer. Additionally, it has a Pitney Bowes variable data addressing/mailing machine.

The average run length at the D'Addario in-plant is 20,000 pieces; 90 percent are four-color, 8 percent are two-color, and 2 percent are black and white. Packaging accounts for 85 percent of the D'Addario in-plant's output. This requires running heavier weight stocks and aqueous coatings. This, coupled with the size and frequency of runs, is why D'Addario remains a dedicated offset facility, instead of transitioning to digital like so many other in-plants.

Pressroom Automation Solution

"D'Addario's in-plant is anchored by our 29˝ Heidelberg SM74 offset press. This Heidelberg is a true workhorse, enabling us to turn out approximately 16 million packages for guitar strings per year," says Carbone. "However, we realized not too long ago that we needed to bring its capabilities up to speed with a comprehensive pressroom automation solution that would help us to streamline our workflow, improve quality and reduce wasted time and materials. We turned to Mark Williams of CMYK Distributors for help, and he introduced us to Digital Information's InkZone ink presetting and Closed Loop software and X-Rite's IntelliTrax spectral scanner."

Digital Information's InkZone product line delivers state-of-the-art ink key presetting technology for offset presses via network, as well as closed-loop color solutions for digital ink control on offset presses from all leading manufacturers. Featuring the ability to monitor trends and track job history, utilization of a rollback feature to revert ink key positioning, and the creation of ink key preset linearization curves based on measurement data, InkZone enables the D'Addario in-plant to realize substantially shorter makeready times on its Heidelberg SM74, as well as significantly reduced paper waste and increased productivity. With the BestMatch feature, D'Addario is now able to print according to ISO standards and to drive spot colors into LAB targets. With InkZone, D'Addario is a more consistent and productive operation.

"Our goals were to improve quality control, reduce makeready time and paper waste, and to enhance overall pressroom efficiency," notes Carbone. "InkZone ink presets and Closed Loop technology with an X-Rite IntelliTrax spectral scanner proved to be an ideal solution for us. With InkZone, the accuracy of the data being sent to the press is consistent and we are now able to achieve run-to color more quickly than ever before."

By investing in InkZone ink presets and Closed Loop technology with CIP4/JDF, the D'Addario in-plant has essentially breathed new life into its legacy printing equipment and is realizing substantial savings in time and materials each month.



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