4 Color Press on Track to Triple Business with 29" Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor
KENNESAW, Ga.—August 27, 2015—As an early adopter of Heidelberg’s Anicolor technology and one of its most enthusiastic proponents, 4 Color Press (4CP) of Forth Worth, Texas, has gone and done it again. Since 4CP installed its second Anicolor machine, a Speedmaster XL 75 -5+L, in May, the company is on track to triple its business in the next two years.
According to 4CP’s owners Andrew and Lisa Fuld, the company had outgrown the Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor it acquired in 2007, logging more than 103 million impressions on the machine in seven years. “We literally had no capacity left," Andrew said. That fact, coupled with attractive opportunities for larger-format work, sent the Fulds directly back to Heidelberg.
"Once you embrace the best technology—which is what Anicolor is," he continued, "it’s impossible to conceive of settling for anything less."
Building a Better Model
Since the larger machine was installed, 4 Color Press has taken 16-18 hours of run time per day on the SM 52 down to about five hours of press time on the XL 75—just the way the Fulds like it. “Our aim is to decrease run times,” Andrew explained. At this rate, he continued, “We’ll be able to add two shifts and triple our business to boot. We anticipate getting back to 100 percent capacity on the new machine within two years.” According to the Fulds, the company already has put more than four million impressions on the new machine since May.
The Fulds started 4CP in 2004, a company Andrew conceived and has realized as a short-run, high-quality specialty print business with the speed and responsiveness of a quick printer and the quality objectives of a large commercial print shop. Today, 4CP turns out short-run, four-color offset printing in a disciplined environment Fuld continually fine tunes and “proceduralizes” to maximize efficiencies. One tool being utilized is Heidelberg’s Prinect Benchmarking software, “which enables us to compare our productivity against other comparable XL 75 Anicolor presses,” Andrew explained. “We can see exactly where we can gain productivity and increase efficiencies accordingly.”
Mining a Sweet Spot
The company’s centerpiece, essential tool and sole press is the Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor, which turns out quick-turn orders in run lengths from 50 sheets and up for customers throughout the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex and nationwide, including corporations and nonprofits, manufacturers and educational institutions. 4CP rarely handles high-volume jobs, although the long-run capabilities of the XL 75 Anicolor give 4CP the flexibility to take on run lengths up to 50,000 sheets, if necessary. The XL 75’s ability to turn jobs quickly also lends itself to multiple versioning, a company specialty. “One makeready, one setup, and more than 300 full CYMK/K plate swaps,” he said. “With the XL 75 Anicolor, it isn’t nearly as onerous as it sounds.” Take for example the recent order of 168 versions of a pocket folder in quantities of 100 to 1,000. With the Anicolor’s five- minute plate transitions and 15 sheet makereadies, we were able to knock out more than 25 versions per shift.”
The Fuld’s embrace of Anicolor technology has as much to do with print quality as with production speed. “Customers that seek us out are aware of our reputation for reliable color consistency minus ghosting, banding or other printing flaws," he remarked. "Anicolor technology provides extremely stable inking.” The certified carbon-neutral Speedmaster XL 75’s up to 90 percent waste-reducing capabilities also echo 4CP’s ecological concerns. The company keeps its own carbon footprint remarkably compact, operating in 15,000 square feet of interconnected converted shipping containers, a space-saving, earth-friendly design inspired by similar structures Fuld and his wife first saw in Perugia, Italy.
Despite its modest size, however, “We are a full-blown B2B company,” Andrew attested. “I want big customers with lots of small-to-midsize needs, customers who use print to market their businesses, or who use print as a component in their products.” Shorter run lengths mean higher revenue per impression, he explained. “Multiply that by increasing the number of orders produced per day, and those numbers compound themselves very quickly.”
As long as Heidelberg’s Speedmaster XL 75 Anicolor functions as the beating heart of the Fuld’s ambitious business model, the path to 4CP’s door should continue to be a well-trodden one.