Kirkwood Printing’s co-owners, from left, Will Winship, Bob Coppinger and Eddie Kelley stand in front of the company’s new eight-color Heidelberg XL 105.

“It is our intent to provide the highest quality in everything we do.”

Kirkwood’s quest for the best didn’t stop with building systems and equipment. The new owners were also determined to use what they consider the best sheetfed ink on the market.

“There are a lot of different inks, and the main differentiator is stability,” he adds. “That’s critical. After intensive testing, we found Van Son’s Quickson PRO inks to be the most stable products on the market. Today, all five of our presses, including the Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 105; a six-color, 40˝ Speedmaster; a four-color, 40˝ Speedmaster perfector; and a pair of 40˝ Mitsubishi presses with in-line aqueous coaters (one eight-color and one seven-color), run on Quickson PRO.”

Choosing to use Quickson PRO as the sole ink in-house was not a subjective decision. Kirkwood went through an extensive evaluation period, testing a number of inks “blind” and allowing its press operators to be the final decision makers. Kirkwood used the GATF target sheet to help in the blind testing.

“With every ink we tested, Quickson PRO outperformed the other,” according to Kelley. “When the press starts up and shuts down, you run the risk of losing color. A good ink comes back to where you left off on the GATF target sheet. We tested how each ink held highlights, mid-tones, etc. We run a lot of stochastic work, so we needed an ink that could handle a small, fine dot. Our goal is to always come as close as possible to a continuous tone—the original image.

“We are a classic job shop running different jobs daily, so we need to be able to move from project to project, press form to press form,” he adds. “With Quickson PRO we can roll up to a press ‘ok’ very quickly.”

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