Rex Three : Technology Provides EdgeApril 2010
As manufacturing gurus are wont to do, Sita provided his own wish list of enhancements for the version 3.0 release, ideas he thought would move Rex Three closer to "total lights out prepress." A number of Sita's suggestions were, in fact, incorporated in the latest version.
"The LithoTechnics team really listens," he says. "That type of respect and responsiveness is unique, and a key factor that we look for in a solutions partner. We were already happy with Metrix 2.0, and version 3.0 is a great step forward."
Sita is a fan of the automation and time/cost-saving elements with features like comma separated (CSV) data import, auto plan job layout based on cost considerations, intelligent drag-and-drop capabilities and Mac OS X support. Drag-and-drop, in particular, is a critical time-saving feature. Projects that involve specific color coverage, press considerations, or that lend themselves to nesting, can benefit from the capability.
Using Hot Folders, JDF data is directly and automatically imported by the Rampage system "without doing anything to it." This creates efficiencies in the desktop department, allowing Sita to take one full-timer and almost a second worker out of the computer-to-plate (CTP) area. That full-time worker was moved into a desktop operator slot, aiding Rex Three's productivity. Also, the ability to run Metrix on a Mac OS X workstation means that one less Windows-based computer is required in the CTP area.
While Rex Three is not a gang-run printer, they have certain projects that they do as combos and gang runs. The new CSV data import capability allows Rex Three to automatically import job information—product, size, quantities, etc.—from a spreadsheet, a process that CSRs used to perform manually, thus providing a solid time savings.
Having the Right Tools
Another challenge was estimating the most efficient layout and job plan for a project that included 50 different products, in multiple versions, across eight or nine different forms. "Planning combo jobs used to be a two-hour chore," Sita says. "Now, with CSV data import and the new auto plan tool, we have a good layout in about 20 minutes."
Projects come in as correctly formatted PDFs, which Metrix auto-populates into a template using Metrix XML data. With this process, the jobs go to prepress in 15 minutes or less, which allows Rex Three to provide clients a competitive price and fast turn time. Though these projects are smaller, Sita can take on more of them—50 to 100 smaller jobs per month—and trigger profitability based on higher volume.
The company has a number of other tools in its belt to set itself apart from the competition. On the press side, Rex Three is largely a Komori shop, with a half-dozen Lithrone sheetfed models in two-, five- and six-color formats. In the digital realm, it boasts a five-color Kodak NexPress to handle its variable data needs.
Rex Three's bindery features, among other things, Polar cutters, Stahl folders, Muller Martini Minuteman and Bravo six-pocket stitchers, a Duplo System 5000 bookletmaker and a Bobst SP102-SE diecutter.
Another pride and joy for Rex Three is its digital photography and design studios. Two graphic designers are on staff and a semi-functioning kitchen allows for photo shoots or food prepping. In all, it boasts nearly 3,700 square feet of photography studio space. PI