University of Houston’s Printing Department Celebrates 60 Years and Lots of New GearDecember 1, 2009
“We’re trying to keep more [work] in-house than ever,” remarks Sally Rowland-Ketley, who is only the fourth director this in-plant has had in its six decades of existence.
Within the past three months, the in-plant has installed:
• A Konica Minolta 6500, printing 65 color pages per minute (ppm)
• An Océ 1105, offering 110 monochrome ppm
• An Epson GS 6000 wide-format printer
• A Seal Ultra Plus 62 laminator
But the biggest investment was a four-color, 20x29˝ KBA Performa 74 offset press with aqueous coater and dryer, which went into operation last January. Able to print 13,000 impressions per hour, the press is equipped with a central console, which allows the operator to remotely control the ink keys on all four units, reducing the time drastically when matching color. It also features semi-automatic plate changing and a blanket and cylinder wash, and it is JDF-compatible.
The press replaced older two-color Heidelberg and manroland presses, which the shop had been using to produce four-color work. Two-sided jobs had to be run through those presses four times, Rowland-Ketley says.
“Our new Performa allows us to do this in two passes—a big time saver,” she says.
The in-plant is keeping the press very busy with long runs of postcards, newsletters and brochures. The shop has even had to open on Saturdays to accommodate the uptick in business.
To pay for the press, the in-plant put in $400,000 from its reserves, and the university matched this, under a payback agreement.
At the shop’s 60th anniversary celebration last month, Rowland-Ketley reflected on the shop’s long history: the fire in 1960 that claimed everything; the merger with the postal operation in 2002 that allowed the shop to offer everything from design through mailing; and even the loyalty of staff members, like Tommy Craft, assistant print manager, who has been with the in-plant for 45 years. These new investments, combined with a dedicated staff, make her confident that the shop will have a long, successful future.
“We are employees of the university and have the best interest of the university at heart,” she notes. “It really is a win-win situation for everyone.” IPG