Gateway Press--Taking Care of Business. . . and People
The new equipment is expected to increase Gateway's production by 50 percent, transforming its annual sales from $33 million to $50 million.
Among the acquisitions: two Muller Martini high-speed saddle stitchers for the bindery department. At a combined cost of $600,000, the stitchers run 40 percent faster than the existing equipment that was replaced.
Gateway also spent $450,000 on a direct-to-plate imaging system and on hardware upgrades in its electronic prepress department. Where Gateway previously output film in order to create the plates used on-press, the CTP system allows the printer to output digital plates directly from an electronic file. With the film step and associated labor erased, Gateway is reaping even more savings.
Eliminating the film step has other benefits, including reduced errors, quicker press makeready, less paper waste, enhanced quality and quicker job turnaround.
The pride and joy of Gateway Press' expansion is easily the acquisition of an eight-unit Heidelberg Harris M-600 web press equipped with Autoplate, a JF-50 folder and 4/8 page pinless folder module.
Whereas a web offset press is generally used for long runs, the Autoplate system turns its M-600 into a more versatile, makeready-friendly machine, which can be used for shorter runs.
"It changes all 16 plates in under five minutes," Brown says. "We've had several makereadies where we stop the press, change 16 plates, start it back up and begin counting signatures again in 18 minutes.
"If the trend we've seen keeps going towards shorter and shorter runs, we can now run more jobs on the web that may have been sheetfed work before because we can cut into the makeready time."
The estimated time saved, according to Brown, is approximately 20 minutes to 30 minutes on each makeready.
Installation and start-up of the new press from Heidelberg Web Press proved to be a smooth process, Brown notes, and he is happy with the fact that it enabled Gateway to add full-time employees.