THE C.J. KREHBIEL CO. -- Binding Matters
When pondering what sets one commercial printer apart from the competition, the answer has to be unique capabilities. The C.J. Krehbiel Co. routinely delivers products and services that other printers cannot provide. For 128 years, the Cincinnati-based company has been partnering with clients to realize their printing goals.
From estimate to delivered products, prepress to bindery, C.J. Kreh-biel provides total in-house capabilities, saving customers time and money while producing high-quality products.
Complete in-house capabilities allow the 250-employee company to offer flexibility in printing clients' products. Their ability to print in a variety of web formats and signatures, and to produce a mix of color with black, ensures the uniqueness and success of each project. In addition to standard sizes, unique trim sizes increase the recognition of printed pieces while avoiding extra costs and turnaround time.
With annual sales of $36 million, textbooks and other children's books comprise roughly 50 percent of C.J. Krehbiel's revenues; the remainder is a mix of computer software manuals, catalogs, financial printing and specialty products. National clientele includes the likes of McGraw-Hill, Modern Publishing, Hungry Minds (IDG Books), American Greetings, Rand McNally, as well as the Cincinnati Bengals and Reds sports teams.
The company's in-house bindery is one of the largest in the Midwest, able to accommodate even the most unique requests. Hardcover adhesive and smyth sewn, saddle stitched, Wire-O, spiral and mechanical binding are just some of the choices in making these finished printed products look professional.
Because everything needed to produce high-quality printing is located under one roof, quality and efficiency are complementary. Strategies and production schedules are designed for expedient and timely delivery of products. By monitoring and controlling waste and inefficiencies, C.J. Krehbiel reduces cycle time and increases speed, saving customers time and money. To document its quality management, the company became ISO 9002 certified last May.
C.J. Krehbiel's philosophy of "always staying ahead of our time" means continually improving and updating each step of the printing process. "Our company is focusing on both sales management and production management in order to better understand how to consistently assess and analyze customer needs with our internal capabilities," states COO Charles W. (Tuck) Krehbiel Jr. The printer also focuses on the constant upgrade and acquisition of new equipment.
But partnering means much more at C.J. Krehbiel. Over the past 10 years the company has experienced significant growth and the owners decided to support that growth by investing in new technology. This forward-looking approach resulted in the revitalization of their electronic prepress department, as well as the bindery and pressroom areas.
C.J. Krehbiel knew that the success of its efforts to upgrade equipment capabilities and efficiency depended not only on the equipment, but also on its choice of vendors. Most recently, the printer has installed a CreoScitex VLF platesetter. "We will be running jobs computer-to-plate (CTP) within the next three to four weeks, and about half of our work will become CTP during 2001," reveals CEO Rob Krehbiel III.
Fully Stocked Pressroom
For its pressroom, the 200,000-square-foot operation turned to Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses and selected a four-color, 38˝ Diamond BTS single-web press. The new unit runs at 2,500 fpm and can produce 32-page magazine, tabloid size, digest size, delta or delta-chop formats. It joins two existing four-color, 32-page Heidelberg web presses, as well as a six-color, 40˝ Mitsubishi sheetfed perfector with in-line aqueous coater that is used for cover work. According to Rob Krehbiel, the company would eventually like to replace one of its Heidelberg web presses with a new machine, but the emphasis now is focused on expanding C.J. Kreh-biel's customer base and filling its added equipment capacity.
C.J. Krehbiel officials also realized that when investing millions of dollars in a high-speed web press, they should address the need for an efficient workflow between their press and finishing operation. The answer: Install a custom press delivery system. The printer selected a press conveyor system and an Avanti bundler from Muller Martini.
"We are constantly analyzing our capacities and throughput so we can accurately meet market timing demands," notes Tuck Krehbiel. "Through this analysis and subsequent current technology study, we hooked up with Muller Martini. They provided us with this service right from the top.
"Muller Martini's upper management was involved in our research on automating and refining our perfect-bound products," he adds. "Our marketing research about the future of book publishing agreed—a trend toward more four-color perfect-bound books, with an emphasis on velocity through the plant." C.J. Krehbiel has considerable capacity for 9˝ and 11˝ perfect-bound products.
When investing in a high-speed press, it's important to establish an effective link between the press and the bindery. In an effort to design an efficient, customized workflow solution, C.J. Krehbiel selected the first Muller Martini Avanti bundler to be installed in the United States.
The bundler provides an efficient link between press and finishing operations. Products are transported from the press via an overhead conveyor system to the Avanti, allowing the press to run at full speed. The shingle stream of products are fed into the Avanti and bundled. Neatly aligned, tightly compressed and strapped bundles are less subject to damage during storage and handling, thereby reducing waste.
According to Krehbiel officials, these enhanced products now run faster and more consistently for greater output in the bindery. Bundles are loaded onto stream feeders for efficient use of labor in the bindery and to allow workers to keep pace with high-speed binders.
As part of its bindery upgrade, C.J. Krehbiel also selected a Corona perfect binding line from Muller Martini to replace a Modular binder. Designed for high-volume production of books, manuals, directories, magazines and catalogs, the Corona is Muller Martini's top-of-the-line perfect binder. It features the Commander Central Control System, which enables computer-aided makeready in less than 15 minutes. Automated loading of the binder is achieved with stream feeders, which handle the bundles created on the Avanti bundler.
Finishing the Job
After trimming on a Zenith-S three-knife trimmer, finished books are conveyed to a Muller Martini book stacker. A cartoning machine packages the stacks and the cartons are automatically palletized on a Cohiba palletizer. A Universo stacker is used to stack book blocks when the line is used to gather books for sewing.
Executives at C.J. Krehbiel realize that as the available work force shrinks, their labor costs will continue to increase. The combination of the Avanti bundler at the press and the Corona perfect binder, with its computerization for automatic make-ready and automated loading options, now results in dramatic labor savings. Their press can run at higher speeds and the bindery output is optimized.
Since C.J. Krehbiel is not providing in-house UV coating, it is also running a GBC Genesis 8332 film laminator for its cover work. "We're promoting film laminates and are finding that it's more durable and less prone to cracking and flaking," notes Rob Krehbiel.
Whether the need is for books, catalogs, manuals or specialty products, the C.J. Krehbiel Co. delivers a printed product completely manufactured in-house—from prepress through printing to the bindery. This flexibility increases efficiency, allowing the company to get high-quality books, catalogs and directories "out the door" to readers quickly and at the lowest cost.
Even so, is Rob Krehbiel worried about the impact of the Internet on his company's business? "My initial concern was that some of our catalog business might dry up," he admits. "So far, though, the Web has been a help to our business, rather than a cause for concern. We've also seen strong growth in computer-related software manuals. But, as far as projecting five, even 10, years out, I wish I had a crystal ball.
"However, Rick Hastings, our vice president of sales and marketing, has put together a very strong sales team strategically located throughout the United States," Krehbiel adds. "They are charged with penetrating our niche markets. Simply stated, we will continue to do what we do best—including changing with the times and the demands of the marketplace—to keep the plant and equipment running for another century and beyond."