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Ripon Community Printers -- A Heat Wave

September 2004
Ripon Community Printers (RCP) ended a string of more than 40 years of coldset-only printing at its Ripon, WI, home with the installation of a MAN Roland Rotoman N heatset web press in a stacked configuration. A 25,000-square-foot addition was needed for the landmark press, which churned out its first job last spring. PI interviewed Andy Lyke, president of RCP, and Dennis Darnick, vice president of production, to get their views on the company's new heatset tenant.

Among the people responsible for turning on the heat at RCP after 40 years of coldset printing there, are (pictured from the left) Dennis Darnick, vice president of production; Andy Lyke, president; and Russ Welch, a web press supervisor and the employee who oversaw the MAN Roland Rotoman N web press installation project.
PI: With your company firmly established as a longtime, successful coldset web printer, why break into the heatset side?

Lyke: We had tinkered with the idea for several years. We thought we had a good base of operations already, with prepress and bindery. And we have a lot of knowledge about putting ink on paper with a web press. We thought that, by adding the ovens, we could really round out our offerings and tap into a broader market.

PI: Did you prebook work or did your customers ask you to enter that arena?

Lyke: It was a little bit of both. Some of the work was booked in advance and some customers had asked us to expand into heatset work.

PI: What have been the results so far?

Lyke: We've been extremely pleased. It was supposed to be a three-month startup…there were a few nagging problems here and there, but nothing too bad. One issue has been that customers wanted to see samples, and we couldn't run samples until we started printing work. So it was kind of a chicken and the egg-type thing.

Darnick: The print quality is definitely there. We've received good support from MAN Roland, as well as the auxiliary vendors and we're pleased at this point.

PI: Any major challenges thus far?

Darnick: Nothing that we can't overcome. Probably the biggest challenge was designing and installing the mezzanine because it was something that was brand new. We had a team of individuals working internally with an outside source to pull this off. They did a magnificent job of putting this together. It's an impressive structure.

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