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George Rice & Sons--Coating to Compete

September 2000
Turnaround times are collapsing. Customers demand the hottest new printing techniques. Technology changes daily. Electronic information, files and disks come at you from every direction. And, amid the whirlwind, you need to maintain the quality standards that differentiate your company. What's a printer to do?

George Rice & Sons, a Quebecor World company, tackles the challenges by utilizing the latest technology. "To compete in this industry today and tomorrow," confides Randy Ginsberg, president of George Rice & Sons, "you must have the latest technology and you must also have the people who understand it."

George Rice & Sons was started in 1879 by George Hiram Rice. Today, the company operates five web presses and five eight-color sheetfed presses, and it consumes approximately 88,000,000 pounds of paper per year. A high-end commercial printer, it does multiple color, multiple-pass work like annual reports, movie posters, automotive brochures and cruise-line brochures for a demanding and sophisticated clientele.

The company attributes its longevity to understanding and embracing technology along with having craftspeople and managers who produce, oversee and maintain consistent quality—year after year.

One key component has been to embrace new technology. By adopting a LithoCoat system from Harris & Bruno, for example, the company has been able to deliver the coating techniques that its high-end customers want—UV, mattes and spot coats—while eliminating common problems like uneven coatings, orange peel and striations. The new technology has given the company increased functionality and better coating quality, while allowing it to do work-and-turn much more quickly, improving productivity.

George Rice & Sons had been looking for a way to provide higher quality coating options to customers. "There's a growing demand from customers for aqueous coatings," says Bob Zimmon, vice president of manufacturing. "They like the visual effects, the increased durability and the tactile results." So when the competition suddenly started producing UV coatings that were "crisp, sharp and smooth," according to Zimmon, "We had no choice but to match it."

The company quickly discovered that the competition had the LithoCoat system from Harris & Bruno. With three systems now installed, the printer is delivering coating quality it has never had before. "The LithoCoat system enables us to give the customer more of what they're asking for," Zimmon adds.

An Unexpected Hero
While offset presses have become extremely automated and sophisticated, coaters have been slower to change. It's common to have a fully automated, touchscreen press with an archaic coater attached to it. Coaters have traditionally been inconsistent, unrepeatable and messy. However, using a chamber anilox system, Harris & Bruno developed a coating system that brings high technology to the coating arena. The benefit to the customer is a fully automated system that delivers repeatable and consistent coating quality.

 

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