Fannon Fine Printing Replaces Three Presses with a Roland 500
ALEXANDRIA, VA—06/06/07—It’s spring cleaning time at Fannon Fine Printing in Alexandria, Virginia. After a three-year search, Daniel Fannon and his team are installing a Roland 500 29-inch press. The six-color-plus-coating system replaces a pressroom full of equipment that includes a 40-inch six-color Roland Rekord, a 20-inch four-color GTO, and an 18-inch Quickmaster DI direct imaging machine.
Taking advantage of the autonomy that is inherent in a family-owned business, Fannon did not have to report to a board of directors or a flock of shareholders, instead he listened to his marketplace before zeroing in on a new press. The voices included those of the top designers and corporate marketing executives in Washington D.C. metro area.
“This was a very difficult decision,” he recalls. “We spent the better part of three years trying to determine how we should upgrade our current equipment. We considered 20, 29, and 40-inch presses, but no option seemed to position us to exceed our clients’ expectations until we landed upon the Roland 500.”
Finding a Flexible Format
At issue was expanding the application flexibility of the Fannon pressroom, while ramping up its performance to be state-of-the-art. Presently, Fannon’s 40-inch Rekord delivers award-winning print quality on larger jobs. Its GTO handles mid-level projects. And the Quickmaster DI prints the shorter runs. In its search, the company needed to find a single press that could handle all three assignments more efficiently, while putting more applications on the table. MAN Roland provided the solution.
“The Roland 500 is the fastest 29-inch press in the world and we are confident that with it, we can compete in the existing 40-inch market,” Fannon says. “We went with MAN Roland because we felt that they truly wanted to partner with Fannon Fine Printing to make us successful.”
But it was more than a feeling that powered the decision. Once Fannon realized that the six-up sheet size was the format for its future, it developed a systematic process that scrutinized all options offered by all manufacturers in that configuration.
“We analyzed and compared both the companies and the presses themselves,” he reports. “Discussions with current owners took place at length and test forms were developed to find the limitations of each press. These test forms were run in both manufacturers’ showrooms and on production equipment to compare the performance and print quality of the presses.”
The Virginia printer knows high-end print quality when it sees it. Fannon Fine Printing has been a prodigious winner of graphic arts competitions for years. At the latest International Premier Print Awards sanctioned by PIA/GATF, it received a “Benny” for best annual report and a Special Award of Recognition for receiving the most accolades for a company of 20 employees or less. And at the Printing Industries of Virginia’s (PIVA) Best In Print competition, it captured the prizes for Best Poster, Best Art Print, and Best In Show.
Fannon Fine Printing plans on keeping that winning streak going and then some. It is equipping its new ROLAND 500 with MAN Roland’s ColorPilot closed loop color control system. “ColorPilot will have a dramatic effect on our consistency and ease of production,” Fannon says. “It moves color management from a game of feel to a game of numbers and this is exactly the way it should be played. We can now profile the press and know that proofs we produce from that profile will consistently match the sheets coming off the press. Our clients will benefit immediately.”
‘A One-Man Machine’ of Many Talents
Fannon’s customers will also be pleased with the productivity the press provides. The new ROLAND 500, which is scheduled to be installed this month, will be equipped with printnet PressManager. It empowers the press operator to program in a new job, while the current project continues to print, significantly reducing press downtime between jobs. “Automation savings go directly with labor savings,” Fannon observes. “This press is a one-man machine.”
An inline Anilox coating system is another key option on Fannon’s ROLAND 500. Its job is to equip the company for more high-end packaging work, while offering the greater range of effects to existing clients. “In speaking with high-end packaging companies we came to understand that Anilox was the only way to go,” Fannon says. “We fully intend to make use of the inline unit to apply suspended coatings such as pearlescent and iridescent coatings, spot coatings, and strike-through varnishes to provide greater value to our clients.”
A Family Partnership
Fannon points out that it is not only the press but also the pressmaker that makes a difference to a company like his. “We understand our position in the global economy,“ he notes. “Because of our size, we choose to ally with strategic partners to ensure that the needs of our customers are understood and met at every opportunity. There isn’t a project that we won’t be able to handle.”
Part of that confidence stems from Fannon’s experience with the support provided by MAN Roland’s printservices. “They are knowledgeable, reliable and they made our issues their issues. We immediately felt that we were a part of the MAN Roland family,” he states.
Meanwhile, work is underway to make more D.C. area print buyers part of the Fannon family. A variety of direct mail concepts are being reviewed, and an open house will be held this summer to showcase the ROLAND 500’s capabilities.
“We have always relied on word-of-mouth marketing but feel that has to change,” says Fannon. “We’re currently seeking out new sales people and developing a marketing campaign.”
A people focus has always played a part in Fannon Fine Printing’s award-winning success. “I would challenge any company in America to compete with our low employee turnover rate,” Fannon declares. “Because of high staff retention, we’re able to truly commit ourselves to high quality. Also, our clients trust us to do the very best, allowing us to work on their most complex projects. We would not be able to achieve these honors without working with the best designers.”
With the new Roland 500 in its pressroom, Fannon Fine Printing will have the technology to take the talents of its employees and its designer customers to the next level.