Progress Printing — Boom, Not Gloom

Progress Printing continued its quest to become a full-web print provider with a second MAN Roland ROTOMAN press, a four-color model.

Mike Thornton, president of Progress Printing, states that the latest ROTOMAN will increase the company’s web printing capacity by 60 to 70 percent.

Stable of Presses

“Our MAN Roland ROTOMAN has been a truly valiant workhorse day in and day out, around the clock,” Thornton says. “The second web will be the icing on the cake of productivity, throughput and turnaround.”

The company was founded in 1962 by Thomas (T.D.) Thornton—father of the current president—and the late R.L. McGee. The pair initially laid ink on paper with a pair of rebuilt, one-color ATF Chief presses and a Kenro vertical camera. Sales from the first year of operation totaled $87,000, and growth was slow but steady. Today, an assortment of four-, six- and eight-color, 41˝ MAN Roland 700 perfectors with coaters and two- and six-color, 40˝ Heidelbergs constitute its sheetfed press arsenal.

A $35 million capital improvement initiative in the 1990s propelled sales growth and bolstered capacity. Progress Printing now features 210,000 square feet of space at its Lynchburg home base and a 28,000-square-foot, full-service, sheetfed facility in Richmond, VA.

Progress Printing services customers in 40 regions, with a focus on the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic states. It manufactures, among other products, booklets, brochures, catalogs, magazines, periodicals, calendars and annual reports. Soft packaging (backed by a fleet of six sheetfed presses) and carton printing are another specialty for Progress. Among its markets are educational, travel and tourism, banking and financial, pharmaceutical and real estate.

After years of running eight-page half-webs, the move to a 16-page full web was a natural progression, according to Stan Smith, the company’s general manager in charge of manufacturing.

Press operators make real-time adjustments to a job in progress on the five-color MAN Roland ROTOMAN press.

Smith is impressed with a number of the new web presses’ features: AC shaftless drives, Power Plate Loading functions, PECOM job setup, CIP3 capabilities and QTI closed-loop color control.

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