Bradford & Bigelow — Company on a Mission
The Digital Book Factory is but one component of Bradford & Bigelow’s complete supply chain solution. In 2001, while looking for an added edge, Galligan was intrigued by the Timsons T-48A ZMR (zero makeready) book press and the prospect of printing 48-page signatures instead of 32. The zero makereadies and reduced paper waste, improved quality and smaller footprint all factored into the decision to move forward with the ZMR for longer book runs.
“Implementing new technology is never easy,” notes Heather Richardson, executive vice president of operations. “Re-imposing our film and electronic libraries for reprints from 32 to 48 pages was a challenge. On several occasions, I had to swear on a stack of bibles to John and the sales team that we could make this conversion and it would be seamless to our customers, without costly imposition errors. Thanks to our dedicated staff, we made the transition a success.”
In 2007, Bradford & Bigelow expanded its conventional capacity with the purchase of a second Timsons ZMR and boldly converted both ZMR presses to UV drying. The move complemented a six-color, 41˝ KBA Rapida 105 sheetfed UV perfector that was obtained in 2003.
Moving into UV drying technology was a move carefully considered. Galligan and Richardson sat down with Ron Croteau, lead pressman, and Juliet Midlik from Prime UV, who convinced management that traditional drying, with its heatset ovens, chillers and required permits, was obsolete technology.
“We were using infrared dryers with great success,” Galligan says. “Ron was pushing UV and I thought he made a compelling argument. For one, we’d be saving $18,000 a month in natural gas expenses. Secondly, there’s no permitting and reporting required. It also produces a better product. You don’t need cumbersome chillers and heaters that torture the paper, taking all the moisture out.
“The cost of UV equipment is less than the cost of heatset packages and chillers. The main reason printers have not adopted it is because UV ink is more expensive, but the price is coming down. But UV produces a better product and the price of natural gas is going up. Without chillers and dryers, we also save about 20 feet (of footprint) in the pressroom.”