New Press Propels UT Austin Toward Best of Show Win
The correlation is unmistakeable.
In 2015, when The University of Texas at Austin was still using its old offset press, Document Solutions did not win a single In-Print award. In 2017, with its five-color 24×29˝ Komori Lithrone SX29 press firmly in place, the in-plant took home an impressive seven awards, six of them in the offset categories.
“The number of awards that we’ve received I think we can attribute directly to that press,” affirms Richard Beto, director of the 50-employee in-plant.
Document Solutions won more awards than any other in-plant in In-Print 2017, a contest jointly sponsored by both IPG and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA). This was an honor by itself, but what Beto didn’t know when he attended last month’s IPMA awards ceremony, was that an even better honor was soon to come.
As the crowd of 200 watched, a video was played showing the judges looking over all 13 Gold award winners in the offset categories and slowly narrowing them down until only two pieces were left: a booklet from the Church of Scientology’s in-plant and a pocket folder from UT Austin with 12 pages of text and photos stitched in the center. When the votes were counted, UT Austin Document Solutions was declared the Best of Show winner.
“It’s a pretty good feeling walking away off stage thinking you’re going to take that [award] back to your shop and your employees and share that with them,” reflects Beto.
Since entering In-Print back in 2006 the in-plant has amassed 39 awards to date. It has also been honored multiple times by IPMA with awards for Print Center of the Year, Mail Center of the Year and two awards for In-house Promotional Excellence.
“The one thing we had been missing was Best of Show,” remarks Beto, who’s fully aware of how tough it is to win that honor. “The competition’s really good. I was just tickled to death for the staff. They work really hard, and I’m just appreciative of the fact that they’re being recognized by their peers. There’s no higher honor in my opinion.”
A High-Profile Piece
The winning piece was produced to highlight the Clements Center for National Security at UT Austin, a nonpartisan research and policy center. The saddle-stitched pocket folder includes a translucent flysheet followed by eight pages of text and photos.
The job was printed at a commercial print shop last year, but Printing Manager Jeff Blue convinced Catherine Evans at the Clements Center that the in-plant’s Komori press could exceed the print quality of the outside vendor. She was not disappointed.
Once the in-plant received the job files from the outside designer, Blue got the order into production and James Rutledge ran proofs on the HP Designjet Z2100 before outputting plates on the shop’s eight-up Fuji Saber Luxel Vx 9600 violet computer-to-plate device. Then press operators Mark Canepa and David Sugden took over. The new Komori press printed the cover and inside pages, using Sappi Opus Dull White Cover paper in 120-lb. and 80-lb. weights. The flysheet was printed on the four-color Heidelberg GTO press using 36-lb. UV Ultra Radiant White Text from Neenah Paper.
The covers were sent to Gilbert Business Forms for diecutting, converting and slitting. Then the inside pages and fly sheet were cut down on the Polar cutter by Frank Quiroz, before being scored and folded on a Stahl folder by Cardel DeWitty. David Garcia saddlestitched the piece using a Heidelberg stitcher.
Beto credits all operators for checking the quality in each stage of production.
“If they notice anything out of the ordinary, they’ll bring it to a CSR and they’ll ask questions,” he notes.
In the end, 1,000 pocket folders were printed. The full job took 11 hours.
To promote this win and all of the shop’s In-Print awards, Beto plans to have duplicate awards created and present them to the customers. The Best of Show trophy will be displayed, along with the shop’s four IPMA awards, in its reception area.
“To be recognized by your peers to be the best of the best is really something to be proud of,” Beto says. “And I just can’t tell you how proud I am of our employees. They work really hard. We’re one of the hidden assets of this university.”
Related story: University of Texas Installs Five-color Press
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.