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You Can’t Keep Offset Down

Wait, isn’t digital printing supposed to be taking over while offset fades quietly away? Why, then, are so many in-plants still adding offset presses?

March 2011 By Bob Neubauer
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JIMMY FRIEND didn't want a new offset press.

"We thought that we would not invest in offset in the future," reveals Friend, director of University of North Texas Printing Services.

His 40-employee in-plant had two HP Indigo digital presses, and was getting good prices for long-run offset jobs from outside printers. Why rock the boat?

Then UNT got a new president and everything changed. A strong believer in the power of self-sufficiency, the president challenged her Denton, Texas, campus to accomplish more using internal resources. So Friend analyzed the print work being outsourced and discovered that $700,000 of printing was going off campus.

"There was probably about half a million dollars worth of work that we could do," he realized—if only his in-plant had a four-color press.

So last year, UNT Printing Services installed not one but two new offset presses: a five-color, 29˝ Ryobi 755XLW and a Ryobi 3404 DI direct imaging press. Since then, the in-plant has brought lots of work back in-house.

"We're busy every day," Friend confirms—so much so that the in-plant should recoup the press's cost even sooner than planned.

"I would say it'll be recovered in probably five years, the way we're running right now," he estimates.

Offset in a Digital World

In a time when all the world is shouting "digital" and in-plants are shedding their older presses in favor of toner-based boxes, a number of in-plants have been adding sheetfed presses. In just the past year or two, new four-color presses have been installed at:

And that's just naming a few. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is preparing to install a Presstek 75DI press with an aqueous coater next month.

"In today's business climate, on-site shops must prove that they add value to a company and operate more cost effectively than outsourcing," explains Robert Pettway, manager of BlueCross's 27-employee Print Solutions operation. "The Presstek 75DI will help us reach these objectives."



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