E&D Web--Pursuit of Productivity
E&D Web believes that using the latest printing technology delivers the rewards of greater productivity and profits. It's no wonder then that the 36-year-old commercial printing operation is able to push more jobs through its facility by using some of the most advanced printing equipment in the industry.
"We strive every day to operate as efficiently as possible," says Ken Love, COO of the Cicero, IL-based company. "Several press and plate processing equipment acquisitions have brought us leaps and bounds ahead of how we used to work."
In E&D Web's endless pursuit of greater quality and productivity, bi-metal plates from Printing Developments Inc. (PDI) have been a mainstay. The commercial printer of magazines, advertising inserts, covers, cover wraps and direct mail pieces has used the distinctive copper and aluminum plates exclusively since 1982. "We've always thought PDI plates the best on the market," adds Love. "They produce the quality our customers demand."
In 1998, E&D Web went digital and began using PDI's Prisma thermal CTP plates. Love says the major contributing factor to stick with PDI, after the quality, was because it eliminated the baking issue.
"You don't bake these plates," he notes. "That not only saves us an additional step that lengthens processing times, but there are no additional costs on gas and electricity. We've also reduced possible pre-baking imaging problems and post-bake plate cracking, as well as the regulatory concerns with the EPA and OSHA of people working around an oven."
As good as E&D Web believes the plates are, the printer saw a new piece of PDI gear at last year's Graph Expo show as a must-have for its productivity push. PDI's automatic, self-adjusting plate transport mechanism, which sits at the front of PDI's in-line processor, takes plates from up to three platesetters and conveys them to the PDI processor. So impressed was E&D with its capabilities, they bought the equipment right off the show floor.
Love reveals that PDI's complete CTP processing system has been tremendously efficient for E&D. "Overall, the Prisma plate has doubled the capacity of our prepress department," he says. "Conventional film processing could take 40 minutes under average conditions. With CTP and PDI's automatic processing line, we conserve a half hour per plate of man time and machine time for each of the 250 plates we produce every week. It's a huge savings.
"One of the basic concepts we operate by is to keep things simple," he contends. "Conditions are always changing—papers, PMS colors, use of varnish and temperatures. When issues come up, one of the places we don't have to look is in the plate department. The efficiency we gain in the plateroom is passed on to the pressroom."
E&D Web has made considerable productivity gains there, as well, where it uses its other equipment mainstay, Heidelberg web presses. They have five, from a 1987 Heidelberg M-1000, to its newest, a Sunday 3000 installed in late 1997.
Love says he gained considerable efficiencies using the single-web press. He cites several factors that have made makeready faster and easier. First, independent plating motors make it possible to re-plate all units at the same time and without re-webbing the press. In addition, the blankets are easily changed in seconds. And lastly the pushbutton plating system aids swifter plate change out.
"All told, the Sunday Press reduces makeready by two hours compared with our other web presses," he notes. "Since we average three makereadies every day, we added 25 percent more time to push through more jobs."
Love reports its single-web Sunday Press has also helped reduce paper waste, resulting in 51⁄2 percent savings in total paper costs. And most of all, the new press runs at 2,400 fpm, another 25 percent jump compared to its older presses. Love also adds that PDI plates have helped to reduce paper usage. "Rolling up on press, they were quicker than the competition," he says. "After coming to color, they ran much drier, reducing web breaks. If you're wasting paper, your wasting press time. They go hand-in-hand."
According to Love, the Sunday Press paired with PDI plates is a major step forward in productivity. E&D Web is working faster, while reducing paper consumption and dramatically shortening downtime.
"The system we have in place is working very well because it allows us to push more jobs through," he stresses. "All of it adds up to a significant increase in our bottom line."