Growth, Flexibility Follow Digital Press Installation
Last June, the University of Southern Indiana installed a Xerox Versant 180, with the ability to print digital sheets up to 26x13˝. The unit replaced an older two-color offset press as well as an older Xerox color production machine, and the shift, says Director Terri Bischoff, has allowed Creative and Print Services to become much more nimble.
“Sometimes we get requests for short-run envelopes for events on campus,” she notes. “Sometimes we might get a request for 40 9x12˝ pieces. It’s not worth setting up the two-color press for those jobs. But since we’re a university in-plant, we want to accommodate those requests from the various departments. We don’t want to tell them ‘no, we can’t do it,’ or turn them to someone else.”
Bischoff noted that beyond being able to accept much more short-run work, the Versant 180 has allowed the Evansville, Ind., in-plant to cut costs considerably — saving as much as 50% over the cost of running the offset press with the ink, plates and makeready times required.
“We were starting to see a real decline in jobs going to that press,” she says. “And it was getting harder to find parts for that press as well.”
Creative and Print Services evaluated several options, including dedicated envelope printers, since that was where a large amount of its volume came from, but the in-plant just wasn’t happy with the quality. When the shop discovered that the Versant 180 could also do envelopes, however, that’s when the in-plant decided to make the switch. Now, in addition the work the shop already had, it is starting to bring work back in-house.
“We were sending out our business card orders,” says Bischoff, “and we produce a lot of those during the course of the school year. We had an outside service that did a good job, but we felt like the capabilities of the new machine … allowed us to bring that back in house.”
Since installing the press, the University of Southern Indiana has seen the amount of work funneled to it steadily increase over time. The in-plant has tracked an increase in walk-up traffic from both students and faculty.
“The Versant 180 gets used a lot on projects for our graphic design and photography students,” Bischoff notes. It is also being used to print personal projects for staff.
“Word is getting around, and our efforts are paying off,” she says.
In fact, the walk-up copy center portion of Creative and Print Services is now doing anywhere from 6,000-7,000 jobs per school year, versus around 1,200 jobs per year in the pressroom, where the in-plant also has a four-color Presstek DI press and an HP Latex printer for wide-format work. Its finishing equipment includes a Standard Horizon creaser/folder system, installed around the same time as the Versant 180, and a Standard Horizon bookletmaker. The in-plant’s 12 employees include three designers, one press operator, one bindery technician, three people in the copy center (who produce print, bindery and wide-format work), one courier for deliveries on campus and three administrative staff members.