Same High-Tech Press, Same Super Success, Very Different Printers
LOS ANGELES—The Komori Lithrone LS40SP Super Perfector with double coater technology—so new, there are only a few operating in the United States—inspired Komori to sponsor a media junket to California in April to see two of the presses in action.
The Super Perfector, based on Komori’s successful Lith-rone S40 series, is a tangible example of the company’s commitment to create presses from the user’s perspective, employing their input in the development of its products.
Zarik Megerdichian, president and CEO of Glendale-based 4Over Inc., who runs an all-Komori shop, claims he’s one of those end users whose input was incorporated into the design of the LSSP with double coaters. Megerdichian, who already owned a six-color S40 perfector, six-color LS40 with UV and five-color S40 perfector with coater, now operates North America’s first 10-color Lithrone S40 Super Perfector with double coaters.
“We push Komori to add new technology to their presses,” Megerdichian explains. “We’ll say, ‘Gee, wouldn’t it be great if the press could do this,’ and Komori will work on the idea. When they were developing the Super Perfector, we suggested they add coating technology. And, that’s exactly what they did.”
“Now, if they only had UV, ” adds Patrick Aristakian, 4Over’s general manager. “No worry. In a year or so, they’ll develop it.”
4Over, a 200-employee printer with 24,000 clients, generated $42 million in 2006 and is on track to double that in ’07. It serves the business-to-business market, entirely online, producing everything from business cards and brochures to pamphlets and promotional material.
“The makeready on our Super Perfector is amazingly quick. And, in the printing business, makeready is money,” Megerdichian stresses. “At 4Over, much of the work is ordered for next-day delivery or two- to four-day delivery—so time is money.”
Next on Komori’s press tour was Modern Postcard, of Carlsbad, a full-service provider of postcard-based direct mail services and direct marketing/Web-based campaigns. The company recently purchased an eight-color, 40˝ Lithrone Super Perfector with double coaters (4/4 configuration), after experiencing much success with its six-color LS40P (4/2 configuration with UV) and 40˝ Lith-rone RP (5/1). The Super Perfector became operational in February and is producing approximately 1,700 to 2,000 jobs per weeks, running at speeds of up to 13,000 sph, with 24 to 32 jobs ganged per sheet.
Modern Postcard prints all of its own material, which includes a wide variety of flat, folded and specialty postcard products printed in full color on premium card stock. To date, Modern Postcard has printed more than a billion cards and has helped a quarter million customers launch, promote or grow their small businesses in 40-plus industries across the nation. The company also provides highly targeted mailing lists and works on thousands of direct mail campaigns each month.
The majority of clients are small businesses, including one-office operations and in-home businesses, such as creative, advertising, design, freelancers, graphic artists (artists of all kinds) and photographers. All of whom depend on quality printed postcards as their mainstay marketing tool.
“Quality is our main concern,” explains Fred Hernandez, marketing program director. “We’re a premium provider of direct mail and, since we print our own material, that also makes us a high-end printer.”
Modern Postcard execs say they’re delighted with the superior print quality of the press and super low number of “hits” found in quality control (that require reprinting). Here are some actual QC figures from pressroom records: Of 2,033 jobs run in one week, QC found that only seven required reprint. Of 1,247 jobs run in a subsequent week, only four were flagged by QC for reprint.
“The Lithrone S40SP press is loaded with features,” says Hernandez, noting the virtual elimination of front/back print quality variation because of the Super Perfector’s one-pass printing technology. Cost reductions are significant because the gripper margin is necessary for only one end of the sheet. Marking and scuffing are no longer an issue due to the Super Perfector’s basic cylinder configuration, which requires no transfer cylinder between printing units, as well as its belt-guide sheet-transfer mechanism in the delivery.
With its revenues growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent each year, Modern Postcard’s growth is outpacing the growth of the postcard-based direct mail/marketing industry it helped pioneer. In 2006, the company’s sales were $50 million, and execs are expecting that to swell to about $65 million this year.
Advanced Equipment Sales has appointed Dan Glenn to the position of national sales manager, and Howard Allen has joined the company as a sales engineer.
By moving into larger, more efficient headquarters of 111,000 square feet, indexing equipment manufacturer Ross-Gage has gained 50 percent more warehouse space, among other benefits. Its new address is 8502 Brookville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46239.
Travelers Commercial Accounts has introduced a suite of insurance coverages designed to fit the needs of today’s commercial printing business. It covers the intangible property of digital workflows, such as a client’s files and designs, as well as a shop’s tangible assets.
Alan Kabakoff has joined Colter & Peterson as the company’s Western regional sales manager. Kabakoff, who has held positions with Heidelberg and MAN Roland, is responsible for a sales territory that ranges from Alaska to Hawaii to Wyoming.
MAN Roland has launched an educational campaign to inform the graphic arts industry at large that environmentally sound practices can be good for business, as well as the planet. The company has published a how-to guide that covers six key areas for potential improvement. It is also introducing new pressroom components through its printcom program that can help printers be greener, such as a new line of solvent recyclers. More information is available at www.manroland.com/eco.
Mark Sherk has joined CC1 Inc. as its Midwest sales engineer, bringing with him front-line experience from having previously worked at several web and sheetfed printers, including S. Rosenthal and Tribune Publishing.
Making changes in its top management, RENA Systems has elevated Bodo von der Wense from president to chairman and Nick von der Wense, formerly vice president, has become president.
Mohawk Fine Papers has launched the new quarterly Strathmore Letterhead Contest for letterheads or complete identity systems produced on Strathmore Writing and Strathmore Script grades. Deadline for entries is June 30. Entry forms and winning entries are posted on the new Strathmore.com Website.
Komori America has promoted Mark Hopkins to regional sales manager of its Central East region, which includes 11 states ranging from Michigan to Kentucky to the Caribbean Islands. Clark Scherer has been promoted to the position of district sales manager covering a territory that includes Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Vulcan Information Packaging recently marked its 60th year in business. It designs, manufactures and imprints information packaging, including custom binders, marketing kits and more.
Lawrence Robinson has joined KBA North America as its district sales manager for the central and eastern Canada territory, extending from Ontario westward to Alberta. In other news, Georg Schneider, head of the development department at KBA’s main web press factory in Würzburg, Germany, has retired almost 53 years after joining the company. His successor is Bernd Masuch.
Randy White has become MAN Roland’s district sales manager for Southern California, serving sheetfed printers in Orange County and throughout San Diego.
Baldwin Technology, a maker of accessories and controls technology for the printing industry, has acquired Hildebrand Systeme GmbH of Switzerland, which offers web cleaning technology.
IST Metz is holding its third UV Days international event, set for June 18 to 22 at its headquarters in Nürtingen, Germany. Two technical presentations will be given each day, and more than 20 suppliers will participate in a tabletop exhibition. The free event is designed for sheetfed and web printers, and presentations will be in English. Visit www.ist-uv.com for more information and online registration.
Stora Enso recently announced the appointment of Christine Graf to the position of director, brand communications. Based in the company’s Stamford, CT, sales office, Graf has more than 20 years of advertising experience working with agencies such as Grey Worldwide and Lowe (formerly Lintas).
Three industry executives have been appointed to the board of directors of New York University’s Graphic Communications Graduate M.A. program. They are Francis A. McMahon, director of marketing, digital printing solutions and sales organization, Imaging and Printing Group, North America, Hewlett-Packard; Werner Naegeli, president and CEO of U.S. operations, Muller Martini; and Richard Schadle, vice president, worldwide sales, XMPie, a Xerox company.
Yupo Corporation America has made several staff promotions, including Paul Mitcham, director of marketing and sales support; Dave Ofstein, director of quality assurance; Angelita Millendez, finishing manager; and Cathy Rock, accounting manager.
SMART Papers is looking to expand sales, manufacturing and distribution of its premium coated and uncoated printing papers with the $45 million in new financing it secured from Wells Fargo Foothill, part of Wells Fargo & Co.
- Zarik Megerdichian