Apex Color Triples Sheetfed Capacity with RYOBI MHI 925 LED-UV Press
JACKSONVILLE, FL—March 3, 2015—When Richard Ghelerter decided it was time to expand Apex Color, his long-established trade printing business, he looked at both new and used 40" offset presses.
The used equipment didn’t have the latest technology and was quickly disqualified. New 40" presses were very expensive—yet still lacked the most advanced drying technology.
Then he heard about a press from RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology that intrigued him. The five-color RYOBI MHI 925 LED-UV press delivers full-bleed, 16-page signature printing and built-in instant curing. This press had the potential to give him the big boost in print quality, capacity and throughput he sought.
So he headed to RYOBI MHI’s Southeast U.S. distributor, Paper Handling Solutions, to check out the fully equipped 36" press as it produced instantly cured print at more than 16,000 sph. RYOBI MHI is one of the world’s largest offset pressmakers.
Ghelerter, a veteran third-generation printer, was impressed. The print quality was perfect and makereadies were wrapped up in minutes. The machine was robust, including a heavy-duty feeder, double-diameter cylinders and transfer drums. The LED-UV curing system eliminated all problems of conventional hot dryers, sipped energy, and ensured print jobs could be routed immediately to the bindery and customer.
Ghelerter talked to the owner of Imprimerie Reflet, a trade printer in Montreal, Canada, who bought the RYOBI MHI 925 LED-UV press in early 2014. He reported it performed well under rigorous production conditions—and was the crown jewel of his fast-growing company.
Tony Rice, Ghelerter’s commercial print production manager, went to have a look for himself. "I’ve been in print production for more than 40 years and had experience with Ryobi’s smaller presses," Rice explained. "But once I put that big press through all the paces, I was confident it would be a great fit for our company."
Then there was the price: nearly half what other German and Japanese manufacturers were quoting for their 16-page signature presses—equipment that did not feature built-in LED-UV instant cure.
Ghelerter thought carefully, crunched all the numbers, then made the decision to invest in the RYOBI MHI. “Looking at every aspect, the 925 LED-UV press is real bang for the buck.” It was delivered in late December, was at full production within a week, and its outsized impact was felt immediately.
"Just the other day, we had a job for 3,000 32-page books with cover that we had to print, fold, stitch and deliver in under 24 hours," he noted. "The press allowed us to handle the job with ease and we were able to please a very demanding, discerning customer."
Apex Color has deep history as a Southeast U.S. print industry leader
In addition to its commercial printing business, 100 percent exclusively to the trade, Apex Color is one of the largest business forms printers in the Southeast United States. Equipment includes five rotary forms presses and four collators. The company’s distributors sell to customers ranging from small retailers to some of the world’s largest health and financial services companies.
Ghelerter is a third-generation Jacksonville printer. His grandfather started as a printer’s apprentice at Mendelson Printing in Jacksonville in 1915, shortly after emigrating from Romania. He rose up the ranks, and 20 years later, purchased Mendelson, which he and his children ran for decades.
"With six members of my family in commercial printing, the likelihood of my not going into the printing business was pretty slim," Richard Ghelerter recalled. "But I did want to strike out on my own."
In 1974, his father Irvin and uncle Clarence invested $10,000 apiece to help Richard start a printing company focused exclusively on business forms. Richard bought a used Didde Press with a Didde Snap Collator—low-cost versions of the heavy-duty forms-making equipment—and immediately established Apex Business Forms in Jacksonville.
"It was a little tough getting started," he recalled. "An employee and I were out in the morning contacting customers, then headed back to the shop in the afternoon, printing and collating often late into the evenings. Eventually, I began serving forms distributors who needed an independent producer to support them, so we grew together."
Though he had expanded his operation in the 1980s and the early 1990s, technology began eroding demand for printed forms. "The big players were expanding into services and the overall pie was getting smaller. But because of our reputation for quality and service, our slice kept growing," Ghelerter said.
By 1998, he decided to expand into commercial printing. Two operations were consolidated into a new 30,000-square foot production center in downtown Jacksonville. Two 20x26" Shinohara presses were added. In 2011, an expansion into digital printing helped build the business further.
By 2014, Ghelerter knew that to continue to grow in the future, he would need to modernize his offset footprint with a new, high-tech 16-page signature press. Today, the RYOBI MHI 925 LED-UV press cost-efficiently delivers a range of print products that impress his customers for their quality and turnaround speed. "No question—this press is a winning investment."
RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology Ltd. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of sheetfed offset printing presses. Its high-speed, fully automated presses are respected by printing company owners and managers for unsurpassed print quality, low total cost of ownership, extreme ease of operation and unmatched reliability.
Paper Handling Solutions (PHS), Marietta, GA, is the authorized distributor and provider of technical support for RYOBI MHI presses across the Southeast U.S. Since 1992, PHS has provided commercial, in-plant, package and specialty printers of all sizes across the Southeast with a broad range of prepress, pressroom and post-press equipment and services from its Marietta headquarters. The company also operates a full-service branch in Columbia, SC, and maintains a dedicated RYOBI MHI showroom and training center in Marietta.
Graphic Systems North America (GSNA) delivers the full line of RYOBI MHI sheetfed offset presses and technologies and highly responsive technical support and parts fulfillment to all 50 states and Canada through its six master distributors. GSNA also oversees a network of 20 printing equipment dealer-partners. In all, more than 30 print industry sales consultants offer sophisticated business analytics to support capital equipment decisions. Fifty-plus factory-trained technicians and parts professionals deliver real-time support in consultation with RYOBI MHI’s engineering and technical team in Japan. Spare parts depots in the United States and Canada offer printers overnight service.
Source: RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology, Paper Handling Solutions, Graphic Systems North America.