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Cooperative Printing--Full Speed Ahead

September 1998
In today's fiercely competitive, price-sensitive commercial printing market, printers have two options: Make it or break it.

Minneapolis-based Cooperative Printing came face to face with that decision in 1992, when the company's executives were forced to re-evaluate their then-struggling, 60-year-old printing operation. To keep up with competitive shops in the Twin Cities, Cooperative Printing decided to embrace technology and install an automated pressroom with equipment designed to meet buyers' demands for quality, turnaround and cost-effectiveness.

"Changing market trends required us to automate our manufacturing process to remain profitable," says Cooperative Printing General Manager Dennis Hanson."The PlateMaster 72/hdp (computer-to-plate and halftone digital proof system) eliminates the necessity for film and delivers laser-imaged, digital color, contract proofs and plates in less than half an hour."

Shifting into high gear, the midsize sheetfed operation invested heavily in digital prepress and pressroom technologies. This investment included a two-color, 28˝ Sakurai 272EPIIH perfector acquired in 1995; a five-color, 28˝ Sakurai 572EDII sheetfed press, equipped with an in-line aqueous tower coater; as well as Sakurai's direct-to-plate PlateMaster 72/hdp system and DPS (Digital Pre-Set) technologies.

Right on
"The DPS links our Sakurai presses directly to the PlateMaster," Hanson explains. "From there, ink key profiles are automatically transferred to the Sakurai color console to preset the press ink keys. The result: Our color is right on—right away."

To round out its purchases, Cooperative Printing invested in various digital prepress technologies, including an ICG drum scanner. The company also maintains a full-service bindery department.

"We're building the printing company of the future," Hanson enthuses. "Sakurai's press automation streamlines production and increases our throughput."

To achieve these automation goals, the printer has worked closely with Best Graphics, Sakurai USA's dealer serving Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

In addition, this locally owned and operated "cooperative" is in the process of a merger with a small printer. When the merger is complete next month, Cooperative Printing will be operating out of its newly expanded, 25,000-square-foot shop.

Cooperative Printing's facility has been functioning as a beta site for Imation's Matchprint Laser Proofer since early 1998. The company has also been selected recently by Hagen Systems to serve as a beta site for a Y2K compliance information system.

"Building the team and being committed to your employees is as important as investing in machinery," says Hanson. "Cooperative Printing has maintained a union status since first opening its doors in 1937. In that time, Cooperative Printing has never experienced a strike or even a work slowdown."

 

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