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Lorraine Press : Printing by the Numbers

August 2010
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Lorraine Press, in Salt Lake City, is named after founder Harry B. Miller's military regiment insignia, the heraldic Cross of Lorraine. Miller had just returned from serving in World War II when he opened Lorraine Press in 1947. With about 35 employees operating out of its 25,000-square-foot facility, Lorraine has always served the high-end commercial market, working with advertising firms and large companies with internal design and marketing departments.

About a year ago, Lorraine updated its logo, adding the words "web," "marketing" and "print." The update is a reflection of a new direction for the company—taking on more and more marketing work beyond straight printing. Today, for example, Lorraine provides professional Website design, development and maintenance services.

"We are definitely in the middle of a huge industry change, and we see ourselves going more and more into the marketing services area than ever before," says Kent Brinker, pressroom manager.

"We are building Websites that are driving consumers to the Internet, and then from the Web we can drive them to print. We recognize that offering marketing and Web services, in conjunction with print, is the future," he adds. "I don't see printing coming back like it was in the 1990s. If you just stay purely in printing, it will be tough going."

Lorraine Press has always stood out in many ways. It has been doing stochastic printing for more than 15 years, and is committed to sustainability. Lorraine has reduced its waste to the local landfill by 75 percent during the past 10 years. Additionally, Lorraine prides itself on its proofing capability.

Having the end product match the proof is one of the most common challenges faced by printers today. And, choosing the right ink is an important part of this capability. But, when its ink manufacturer closed its Salt Lake City facility, the shop struggled to find quick access to ink on short notice. The company turned to Royce Imaging Technologies for a solution; Royce is a dealer Lorraine Press has done business with for more than 20 years. Royce recommended Van Son's Vs series inks and suggested a test.

"After our ink manufacturer closed its local facility, I had to buy our ink out of Denver. It had to be shipped over the mountain every time I wanted to get it, so I needed to plan ahead all the time," Brinker recalls. "This also meant keeping a higher inventory than I wanted to in case we had a big job or something that required a rush, and I didn't have enough on the floor. I try to do just-in-time if I can. So, that meant a pretty small window of error, because turnaround times can often be pretty narrow."

Royce introduced him to Van Son inks. Royce became a distributor of Van Son's Vs Series ink to offer printers in Utah and Idaho enhanced customer support backed by both Van Son's and Royce's technical expertise. Lorraine Press buys other press supplies through Royce, including plates and fountain solution.

Measure, Track Results

"If Royce takes a product into its line, I know they really checked it out," notes Brinker. "Royce figured if they could get us to test it and approve it, then it would help to open up the market for them. Folks tell me that people around town think we wear white lab coats here at Lorraine Press," he says.

"I attribute this perception to my mentor, Ron Loveless, who instilled in me a passion for measuring and tracking data. His credo was, 'If you can't put a number on it, you can't measure it.' So, we learned to analyze results in everything we do."

Brinker was familiar with Van Son from the marketing he had seen in trade publications. However, no matter what may be claimed, just like everything at Lorraine Press, the ink had to pass stringent testing. For the initial trial, the pressroom operators ran Van Son's ink on different types of substrates with different variables for a full week. It was critical to ensure that all the components used in creating a printed piece remained consistent and matched the digital proof.

Brinker reports that the testing was successful and the transition seamless. He believes taking a more scientific approach to any product changes lends more credibility to their entire operation and ensures they maintain the highest quality levels.

Lorraine Press runs two six-color, 40˝ Komori Lithrones with in-line aqueous coaters. The combination of the Vs Series inks on uncoated stock—a popular choice today—has resulted in multiple benefits. For one thing, Van Son inks dry very quickly, and that, in turn, means Lorraine Press can finish print projects faster.

"In printing, it's all about the numbers. We measure solid ink density, grey balance and dot gain to name a few, and we spot check the L.A.B. of incoming inks," Brinker explains. "With our other ink, we did have some issues when it came to consistency, which were manufacturing issues. But Van Son's Vs Series ink is always consistent. So that tells me Van Son has control of its processes."

He's happy that his pressroom operators have also embraced the change to a new ink supplier. "If they don't like it, I'm simply not buying it," Brinker states. "I've done this long enough, and I have press operators who have also been here a long time. They're experienced, they know how a good ink should perform and, if they like something, there's a measurable reason why." PI



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