RIT Takes a Sunday Drive
By Erik Cagle
ROCHESTER, NY—Stating that the "best learning institution deserves the best resources," Heidelberg Chairman Bernhard Schreier officially handed over the reins of a $7 million to $10 million Sunday 2000 web press to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) at an April 25th formal dedication of the school's new Heidelberg Web Press Lab.
The gapless Sunday 2000 consummates a partnership of the vendor and learning institution, initially announced during PRINT 01 in Chicago. Another 17 manufacturers donated accessories, consumables and various trimmings for the Sunday 2000.
More than 200 RIT students, faculty, Heidelberg dignitaries, fellow industry vendors, printers and assorted guests packed a tent only yards away from the new 11,000-square-foot Heidelberg Lab. The press replaces an M-1000B web press donated to RIT by Heidelberg's predecessor, Harris Graphics, in 1986.
Schreier was joined at the dedication by fellow Heidelberg executives Werner Albrecht, president of Heidelberg Web Systems; Niels Winther, president of Heidelberg USA; and Wolfgang Pfizenmaier. University President Albert J. Simone and Bruce James, who chairs the school's board of trustees, praised Heidelberg for supporting the school's academic endeavors.
"This partnership is a great example of how industry and academia can work together for the greater good," Simone said.
"We want to lead technology, not keep up with it," James added. "This dedication celebrates our common goal of being printing leaders of the 21st century."
Added Albrecht: "We promise to help make RIT the best of its kind in the world."
Earlier in the day, during a luncheon celebrating the occasion, Simone repaid Schreier for the kindness he displayed during PRINT 01 in pledging the press by presenting him with an RIT jacket. At the Chicago show, Schreier gave Simone a Heidelberg jacket, sealing the newly forged partnership.
"I believe Heidelberg and RIT are natural partners," Schreier said. "And I believe the press lab is the most important aspect of our relationship.
"Heidelberg helps provide and support hardware, software and brainware. And while it's hard to make an investment of this level without a return...this transcends spreadsheets and bottom lines."
Heidelberg was well represented at the event, with countless employees taking a bow during the luncheon.
The RIT press boasts a 24-page, two-by-six plate cylinder configuration. It is equipped with a Contiweb CS splicer, Ecocool dryer, PCF-1.2 pinless folder and Omnicon controls.
The 17 suppliers that provided additional support to the laboratory—materials valued at more than $1.6 million—are AWS-a Thermal Care div., Baldwin Technology, Bottcher America, Creo Inc., Day International, Flint Ink, Fuji Hunter/Anchor, Graphics Microsystems (GMI), JC Fibers, JECO Plastic Products, Just Normlicht, Kodak Polychrome Graphics, Lincoln Industrial, NELA Ternes Register Group, Quad/Tech International (QTI), RIMA-System and Sun Chemical.
The day kicked off with an industry symposium, titled "Print Media Industry Futures: Challenges and Opportunities." James himself led off the five-speaker lecture, proclaiming, "It's certainly Heidelberg's day."
James spoke of the unique challenges facing him in his new role as U.S. Public Printer, overseer of the Government Printing Office (GPO). He spoke admirably of Heidelberg's commitment to education and appreciation for the research component of knowledge growth.
"(The Sunday press) will ensure that RIT remains at the forefront of printing education," James said.
Pfizenmaier aptly spoke on the integral role education plays in the printing industry. Turning technology into profit is a key, he explained, and that members of the industry really need to view themselves as "solution providers rather than printers."
Frank Romano, Fawcett professor with RIT's School of Print Media, examined trends that are impacting the foundation of the industry, from consolidation to more effective technologies and electronic challengers.
Barbara Pellow, Gannett professor and chair for the School of Print Media, looked at how digital technology is driving the growth rate of printing, and how tools such as ubiquitous networks, increased bandwidth and the Internet expand service leads.
Computer-integrated manufacturing and the need for lean manufacturing topped the closing by Frank Cost, associate dean, college of imaging arts and sciences, and co-director of the RIT printing industry center.