MBC--Small Printer, Big Performance
There are many unique things about Metro Business Connection (MBC), a small Minnesota instant printer. Take, for instance, its name. Unlike many print shops, the name Metro Business Connection does not connote anything to do with printing. Its work force and location—three employees working out of a separate 1,000-square-foot shop beside the owner's home—are not necessarily the norm.
But in its seven years of existence, MBC has grown to enjoy its remarkable success due to the quality and service the company offers.
"We're very service-oriented," says Neil Stromme, vice president, who operates the shop along with his wife Sarah, president, and a third employee. "Whatever the customer wants, we deliver. We take a job at noon and deliver it at 4 p.m. We'll work until midnight if we have to. And if we can't print the job, we'll tell the customer that as well. We're very honest."
And very high quality. MBC's statewide customers—corporations needing letterhead and brochures, and large magazine publishers seeking two-color inserts and blow-in cards—require tight registration of their two-color jobs.
To that end, MBC installed a new A.B. Dick 9810 with a new Townsend Anniversary Edition (AE) T-51 color head. The new press, installed in December 1997, joined an existing A.B. Dick 9810 with an older model T-head.
"The main reason we installed another T-head was because of the volume of two-color jobs," says Stromme. "The older T-head was always backed up with work, while our single-color press sat idle."
Stromme was impressed with many aspects of the new T-51. "I like the ability to raise and lower the image on the fly," he says. "If you have plate skew, you can change it without stopping by dialing in the correct register. Plus, the new T-head saves on makeready. Now, with run lengths getting shorter, I can save a lot on time and paper waste with 25 orders of 150 to 1,000 two-color runs. I might only waste five to 10 sheets with the new AE T-51 and save countless hours."
All of the T-51 plate adjustments—vertical, horizontal and twist (skew)—are running register adjustments. Once the A.B. Dick image is positioned to the paper, the T-51 image is precisely registered with the A.B. Dick image.
Plus, the new angular adjustments are made with a simple tool provided by Townsend. Rather than make adjustments manually, the press operator can easily make them with the tool.
In addition, the T-51 is equipped with a single lever control that allows the unit to be placed into the printing position in one easy move of the control lever. The T-51 is equipped with a rotating arm that allows the entire unit to be either swung away from the press or back into its normal operating position in about one minute.
To ensure high-quality printing, the T-51 features a 14 roller ink/moisture system. The system features different diameter form rollers and oscillators that control ink recovery and coverage. The T-51 moisture system is supplied with a molleton system or Townsend Aqua-Flow system. The Aqua-Flow system is a segregated dampening unit that allows the form, oscillator, transfer and ductor rolls to carry both ink and water. This provides a three form roll system. Two forms carry only ink, while one carries both ink and water.
"I've had unbelievable results with the new AE T-51," says Stromme. "There's no plate stretch and good registration."
Recently, MBC produced a price sheet for a cataloger. The job required a two-over-two hairline registration for 51,000 11x17˝ sheets. "There was tight registration all over the job," recalls Stromme. "Once we got it locked in on-press, we let the job run itself. We ran both presses full-time for this job to get it produced in three days."
In addition to the new T-51, MBC operates a UMAX flatbed scanner, Power Mac G3, two Baum folders, 30˝ cutter and an Itek camera.
Prior to owning his own business, Stromme was an A.B. Dick employee for 20 years in both a sales and a sales support role. "Everything I use, I used to sell," he says. "I know this equipment very well and know what it can do. It is competitive, and you have to be diversified. I sell and print the jobs while my wife does the typesetting, scanning and the books. We're very flexible and work well together."