Modern Litho Focuses on Short-run Work with Speedmaster Press

Pictured, from the left, are Darrell and Chris Moore; Trent and Darla Porter; Greg and Becky Meeker; and Nelson and Debra Patterson, standing next to Modern Litho's eight-color Speedmaster XL 105 press.

“Not only can we come up to color within 100 sheets, but we can maintain it for the entire run without stopping the press,” he said. “You can’t compare functionality like that to a pressman with a densitometer, no matter how talented he may be.”

Other key stress-busters include the CutStar sheeter, which reduced paper costs and increased paper feeding productivity, and AutoPlate XL, which works in tandem with Inpress Control to reduce makeready times via fast, convenient, simultaneous plate-changing. Additional savings come from Inkline Direct, which automatically feeds the press from large-capacity drums of ink, lowering ink costs by about 15 percent.

Working to a common plate size between the two XLs streamlines prepress, greatly simplifies load-balancing, and lends the company a welcome measure of production flexibility. “Most of the work we do on the eight-color is 60-, 70-, or 80-lb. text,” Moore explained, “while covers, five-color work, jobs printing on board or requiring aqueous coating are ideal candidates for the five-color.”

Don’t Fence Me In

While Modern Litho’s success with the new Speedmaster XL 105 has relieved stress in some areas, it has created challenges and opportunities elsewhere. The removal of three existing presses to make room for the new Speedmaster XL 105, for example, gave Modern Litho the much-needed space to reconfigure its workflow for greater efficiency. The company was able to relocate its prepress department directly adjacent to the pressroom, meaning that plates need travel only 20 feet to the press, rather than the previous 200 feet. It also repositioned its bindery such that material coming off the press now goes directly to cutting and folding, binding, shipping, and mailing in an uninterrupted flow of personnel and materials.

The company is planning a further enlargement that would enable it to move its warehouse (paper supplies) to the front of the press, and eventually to add new product lines. Long-range, that could include an expansion into packaging, Moore said. “We’re looking to add 20,000 to 29,000 square feet this calendar year.” In the shorter term, Modern Litho will adopt a small-format Speedmaster SM 52 from sister firm Brown Printing, intending to run it alongside the XL 105s during multiple shifts.

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