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Quad/Graphics--Finishing First

September 2000

Quad/Graphics has installed the latest design in Ferag gathering/stitching/ trimming systems at its plant in Lomira, WI, marking the third such system installation for Quad. The new system includes six log-fed feeders, which transport signatures to a rotary gathering drum, then to a shear-cut trimmer.

According to Frank Arndorfer, Quad/Graphics' vice president of finishing operations, adding the third Ferag unit bolsters the company in a number of ways. The Ferags are the workhorses on the shop floor.

"We lean toward Ferag because we have an application for production that requires more of a Gatlin gun approach—high volume and relative ease of use," Arndorfer says. "The real beauty and strength are their speed, the ability to produce a specific profile or product. It allows us to take relatively simple, high-volume work off of our conventional saddle stitchers and free those machines up for the kind of work they're designed to produce: custom, highly selective, variable page count and inside-outside personalization."

The high-speed Ferag gatherer/stitcher/trimmer was first introduced to the North American market several years ago, with the installation of two 10-pocket units in Quad/Graphics facilities in 1992 and 1993. Since then, Quad and Ferag have worked together to customize the system to meet Quad's needs. As a result, the existing units, as well as the new installation, make it possible to change format sizes in a matter of minutes, keep maintenance to a bare minimum and achieve production speeds as high as 40,000 copies per hour, officials say.

"Quad helped redesign the trim drum," notes Mike Paschall, vice president of commercial products for Ferag Americas. "It's basically still the same unit; Quad suggested design modifications. They've been instrumental in how they feed with logs and the gripper design, to be more effective for glossy papers.

"Quad's maintenance and engineering departments are amazing with their team play," he adds. "They didn't beat up the vendor—they worked in concert with us. They were quite instrumental throughout the process. I can't overemphasize their positive benefit to us and with the product development."

In announcing the installation, Arndorfer notes that Quad was initially impressed with the system's speed and reliability, as well as the initial design.

"This system is truly a different approach to the standard saddle-stitch systems we have," Arndorfer remarks. "In a multiple-system environment like ours, Ferag showed a willingness to grow with our specific needs. We asked for customization and speed, and Ferag responded, which eventually led to this third system.

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