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Lorraine Press : Printing by the Numbers

August 2010
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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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