UTHealth: Adapt and Thrive

Standing with UTHealth’s six-color Heidelberg are (from left) Donna Horbelt, director; Robert Haseman, production manager; and Kelly Williams, graphics and prepress manager.

Nguyen Lee and Ray McKinney inspect a job printed on UTHealth's Xerox iGen4 90.

The in-plant’s two-color ABDick stays busy printing more than 3 million envelopes a year. Operating it here is Paul Cacciotti.

Jose Gonzales and Brenda Tillis collate and stitch a job on the Stahl ST 70 Multibinder.

Jose Gonzales cuts a post card job on the Polar cutter.

Heyward Etienne folding an eight-page form on the Stahl 20” folder.

A busy offset operation with a booming digital color print business, UTHealth Printing and Media Services is a well-rounded in-plant, ready to take on any job that comes its way.

The in-plant produces about 8,000 jobs annually, such as newsletters, magazines, brochures, pocket folders, stationery, invitations and more than 3 million envelopes a year. Nearly half of the in-plant’s revenue (45 percent) comes from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, part of The University of Texas System. Another 8 percent comes from state or non-profit clients, such as Sam Houston State University.

Offset Brings in the Bacon

UTHealth Printing is one of only a handful of in-plants with a six-color offset press. Horbelt’s reasons for sticking with offset are simple.

“Because it’s 68 percent of my revenue,” she proclaims, punctuating it with a laugh. “My six-color is booked all the time. I have a lot of large runs that you can’t do digital”—such as a recent run of 49,000 20-page conference brochures for MD Anderson Cancer Center, she notes.

A year and a half ago the in-plant overhauled its prepress operation to improve productivity. An old, maintenance-prone CTP system was replaced with a Heidelberg Suprasetter A75 Gen III thermal platesetter. The Prinect Prepress Interface presets the ink zones on the press.

“This system is wonderful,” she proclaims. “The quality of the plates…we never have issues on press any more. This system has really streamlined my production area.”

The automation also allowed her to eliminate one position in prepress.

Though digital jobs account for 32 percent of the in-plant’s revenue, they make up 78 percent of the shop’s jobs, says Horbelt, who tracks the numbers closely. This is all due to the iGen4, she adds, which brought a surge of color printing in-house when it was installed in 2009.

“The iGen saved the shop,” she contends.

This isn’t an exaggeration.

18 Months to Turn a Profit

Related story: Digital Makeover Boosts 
Business for UTHealth

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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