Copy Express of Lexington Sees Huge Gains with CRON-ECRM
Copy Express of Lexington, Ky., recently purchased a CRON-ECRM (Booth 1644) CTP system along with their new Digital UV Blackwood plate. After purchasing a new RMGT (Booth 1244) 940 offset press, the shop realized their old half-size plate making system, which worked fine for the older presses, just couldn’t produce the necessary plates for the larger, eight-up offset press they were installing. After consulting with Graphco, a major graphic arts distributor located outside Cleveland, a decision was made to move forward with CRON-ECRM as the perfect solution for CTP and plates to complement their new press.
“We can now make plates faster, at a higher quality, and for a lesser price point than our previous system,” says Mark Hicks, President of Copy Express. “We looked at several alternatives, and one of them might have saved us a bit of money on the front end, but the plates were more expensive once you factored in the chemistry needed to stand up to UV ink. CRON-ECRM’s Digital UV Blackwood plates are very high quality, very cost-competitive, and the whole unit saves on energy costs across the board. It was a no-brainer.”
Copy Express has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with Hicks noting that he has been making strategic acquisitions over the last several years to facilitate that expansion. “That’s how I grow as quickly as I want,” he says.
The combined company - which has consolidated under the Copy Express brand - is now the largest commercial printer in the area, counting most of the ad agencies, major corporations, and universities among its client list.
Hicks wasn’t born and bred with printing ink in his veins - he got his start in the pharmaceutical market, where he worked with local printers to design and manufacture labels.
“I got the bug,” he says. While it wasn’t a straight path directly into print, once he decided to go all-in, he bought some equipment with his brother, and got himself up and running. “It was like riding a bike while we were building it,” he remarks. “We had no experience running equipment or presses. It was on-the-job training, selling it while we were figuring out how to produce it at the same time.”
He has come a long way since that humble start. And while relationships and maintaining the human element has remained important, the need for high-quality, versatile machines has also been increasingly critical. Hicks needed faster speeds, larger sizes, and added features like UV coating to continue to grow the business. In the end, he went with the RMGT 940 press, trading in two older presses for the one new machine, and increasing his capacity and capabilities at the same time. Which meant he needed to upgrade the rest of his equipment alongside it.
With the CRON-ECRM plates powering the new RMGT 940 press, Copy Express of Lexington is well-positioned for the future. Hicks isn’t ready to slow down just yet, and the added capacity and increased flexibility and efficiency of his new equipment will allow him to take advantage of more opportunities.