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Bits and Pieces: Printers Can Rise to Occasion

January 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor

As the pressman leans into a Heidelberg sheetfed machine, the voiceover intones, "You've reached the age where you've learned a thing or two." Sadly, getting the Heidelberg moving may be among our hero's core competencies, but getting the 'ol Evinrude cranking, apparently, is quite another matter. Obviously, we're talking about a different outboard motor.

Viagra, the maker of the blue pill PED (performance-enhancing drug) that has given a much-need lift to men of a certain age, has been hawking its wares the past few months via a television commercial that features the aforementioned pressman, an employee of fictional K.L. Printing.

The commercial seems to send mixed messages as to this guy's rank: Is he a first-shift lead pressman who's getting ready to knock off for the evening? After he remedies the press run's holdup, our hero goes upstairs to what appears to be his office. He's featured prominently in a few wall photos, including one with a woman who is presumably his wife or, at worst, his executive assistant. Another picture seems to give the impression that he is either the "K" or the 'L" in this firm's leadership group.

Toward the end of the commercial, our studly hero receives a text from what we can infer is his leading lady, indicating he should, umm, prepare the makeready. Cue the bluesy music and images of Steve McQueen climbing into his muscle car. And we'll completely ignore the fact that there only appears to be one or two other workers in the entire building...hey, those Heidelberg presses practically run themselves. No worries. K.L. Printing is a well-oiled machine.

It's pretty obvious why Viagra chose printing; it wanted a manly-man manufacturing backdrop, just to show that even the most macho among us requires an occasional jolt to the tower coater. But for a profession that is constantly fighting against the perception that printing is a mature industry, insinuating that it is populated by a gaggle of older men who cannot promise a quick turn time, well, that's inexcusable.

Besides, this profession knows what it takes to avoid hickies and get the job done with wrinkle-free sheets, and that counts for something.

3D to the Rescue: OK, yes, 3D printing is our distant cousin, and even though precious few print shops boast the machine, it is a terribly fascinating topic. Take this recent tidbit from the U.K.'s Daily Mirror, which reported on a life-saving application courtesy of 3D.

In Poland, a man named Michal Leslow, 31, was found in a ditch, the victim of a lawn mowing accident. His skull was shattered and there was grass, mud and bone fragments in his head. Part of his head was missing. Apparently, a rotary mower was the culprit.

"All I recall is that I woke up in a ditch with a cracking headache, like I'd been punched or hit by a car," Leslow told the newspaper.

Doctors at Lodz Hospital took a 3D scan of his head and "printed" a polypropylene implant. The surgery was a complete success. Aside from having a splitting headache, the victim said he is just happy to still be alive. PI


 

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