March 2008 Issue


ACROSS the nation

Prepress Upgrades Enhance Workflow DETROIT—First came the press, then came the upgrade to new prepress and platesetting technology. Crystal Clear Images runs a Heidelberg GTO press and wanted to update its workflow. Crystal and Anthony Mitchell, the husband and wife owners of the unionized shop, chose Heidelberg’s Prinect Printready prepress system and Suprasetter A52 platesetter. “When people heard that we were installing Heidelberg (prepress equipment), the amount of business influx was incredible,” reports Crystal Mitchell, who began her career as a school teacher in graphic design, before starting her own business from the basement of her house in 1995. The company, which has

BINDERY matters

American-Made Stacker/Bundler Gaining Popularity in North America YORK, PA—IMC America (sales agent for Penn Graphics) has announced three new installations in North America for the PGE300 semi-automatic stacker/bundler: Hi-Liter Graphics, in Burlington, WI; McCormick-Armstrong, Wichita, KS; and Cenveo MM&T in Toronto. The machine is an American-made stacker/bundler designed for production on today’s high-speed web presses. Back-to-Back Bobst Installations NILES, IL—Just three months after installing its first Bobst SPanthera 106-LER Autoplaten diecutter (with in-line blanking), Graphic Technologies added another. Reportedly the second largest trade finisher in the country, Graphic Technologies offers a full complement of capabilities, including folding, folding-gluing, laminating, kitting, in-house tool production

DIGITAL digest

AppForum Covers Digital Print Spread LAS VEGAS—“We now have members on every continent except Antarctica,” boasted Rab Govil, president of PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative, during his keynote address at the association’s seventh annual AppForum. “Perhaps we should recruit penguins,” he mused. While the desert chill might have been suitable for the birds, the nearly 450 human attendees were kept busy indoors with the event’s ample agenda of sessions and networking opportunities. Topics of the presentations spanned the technology, business strategies and applications crucial to running a digital printing business, under the banner “A Celebration of Digital Print.” Attendees also were given an opportunity

Drupa: Product Marketing —Sherburne

ARE YOU going to Drupa 2008? In its 14th edition (the first Drupa was in 1951, 57 years ago!), it will be the largest ever, with more than 1,800 exhibitors from 50 countries and more than 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space. More than 400,000 visitors are expected during its two-week run, beginning May 29th. Why do I bring that up in a column about marketing? Classic marketing texts talk about the “4Ps” of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. • Product: This is the physical product or service offered to the customer. It also refers to any services or conveniences that are

Economic Stimulus Package Provides Huge Investment Incentives

The economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in February provides huge investment incentives for print-ing, publishing and converting equipment sold and installed before 2009. But, as NPES President Ralph J. Nappi advises, “early action will be critical to take advantage of the tax savings on the sales of large systems that require engineering lead time and installation.” Enhanced IRC Section 179 expensing and 50 percent bonus depreciation on capital investments are the business provisions of the economic stimulus package, H.R. 5140, Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. They give companies 50 percent bonus depreciation on investment in

Education and Training — Skilled Labor: Help Wanted!

WITH 60,000 graphic arts industry employees leaving the workforce each year—and only a fraction of them being replaced—it’s easy to understand why printers are having a tough time finding skilled labor. When the going gets tough, and printers need an infusion of new workers, chances are, they’ll simply snag them from their competitors. Which still leaves a gaping hole in the industry’s workforce. In a business world based on supply and demand, the graphic communications segment continues to turn statistics on their head. In this unique manufacturing field, supply is low, demand is high, yet skilled labor is hard to find. So, what’s the

GREEN scene

PRINTER NEWS Times Printing Is Climbing Green Tier RANDOM LAKE, WI—Times Printing has announced its acceptance into Wisconsin’s Green Tier program, which is sponsored by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program “provides incentives that enable good environmental citizens to go beyond compliance and perform to a higher environmental level, while allowing the DNR to focus its resources on facilities not meeting requirements,” says Wendy Scholler, Times’ environmental, health and safety coordinator. Times’ many eco-friendly initiatives include replacing three catalytic oxidizers with one regenerative thermal oxidizer, which has dramatically reduced energy use and VOC emissions; setting up recycling programs for ink

Haapanen/Burkett Inc. — Raising the Quality Bar

THE STAFF at Haapanen/Burkett Inc. believes that being a successful, full-service commercial printer begins with an unwavering commitment to customer service, along with offering a wide variety of production capabilities to its largely pharmaceutical industry client base. Founded by Jerry Haapanen and Joe Burkett in 1984, the Gurnee, IL-based company came to fruition when the two typesetting business owners realized the advantages of merging their experience and expertise into a partnership. Built on the premise of being a one-stop shop, Haapanen/Burkett cultivated a strong business base by serving the typesetting needs of small, local printers by preparing camera-ready art. The company quickly developed

Mail Advertising & Bindery — Getting Into a Bind

THE PRODUCTION workflow chain can be lonely toward the back end, particularly when your company specializes in mailing services. Not to mention frustrating, infuriating and a few more colorful terms. When mailing’s the name of your game, there are usually one or more vendors ahead of you in the production of a job, pushing the acceptable boundaries of deadlines. The job finally arrives in your shop; it should have been mailed yesterday; and now you are left to pick up the pieces. You either shrug and concede it to be the nature of the beast, or decide that maybe the tail end of the

Mid Island Bindery — Bucking Bindery Trends

WHAT IS this strange-looking thing? Bob Geier wondered aloud, when a customer stopped by (circa 1987) and handed him a small, round piece of plastic. “I’d never seen anything like it before,” recalls Geier, owner of Farmingdale, NY-based Mid Island Bindery. “The customer said it was a compact disc, and that it was going to be huge someday. “That was a milestone year for us,” Geier notes. “We worked hard with our customer to produce the books that accompanied every compact disc at greater speeds then they were currently being produced and hold all the specifications required by the final assembler.” Mid Island produced

Postal Increases Under Rate of Inflation

WASHINGTON, DC—The latest U.S. Postal Service (USPS) rate increase is confronting mailers, and this time there are no unpleasant surprises. For the post office, however, the news was not so comforting. As promised by the postal reform legislation passed in late 2006, the first increase under the new rules did not exceed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation. The increases fall in the 2.9 percent range and will take effect May 12. The USPS has been struggling. It reported that mail volume was down 3 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. First Class volume was down 3.9 percent, while Standard

Postal Rates Set to Increase

The Postal Service announced new rates effective May 12. This is the first rate increase that falls under the new regulations established by the PIA-championed postal reform legislation, which means that the new prices can increase on average no more than the rate of inflation. While future increases were inevitable, there is confidence that the new rate-setting process will achieve the industry’s policy goals: more predictability and affordability in relation to USPS rate increases. There is also increased transparency in the rate-hike process, as outlined in the bill signed in December 2006. Specifics released by the USPS included prices for First Class stamps

Poster Series Proves Classic Hit for Meyers —Michelson

THEY SAY the best marketing campaigns are those that, over a period of time, seem to take on a life of their own. Such is the case with the series of vintage automobile posters created by Meyers—a point-of-sale, signage and label specialist based in Minneapolis—to promote its large-format sheetfed printing capabilities. When brothers Mark, Chris and David Dillon acquired their first large-format sheetfed press in 1995, they wanted to create a print promotion that would drive home the potential of the new six-color, 63˝ MAN Roland with UV coater to customers and prospects. Although at first tempted to produce a poster utilizing the full

Pregnant Woman Killed in Diecutter

SAN FRANCISCO—A diecutting machine is believed to have caused the death of a pregnant 26-year-old employee at Digital Pre-Press International on January 29. Margarita Mojica, of Oakland, CA, was pronounced dead on the scene after firefighters extricated her from the machine, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The diecutter was manufactured by Yawa of China, the paper reported. Officials are still investigating how Mojica got caught in the diecutter. According to Burt Boltuch, Digital Pre-Press attorney, the machine had been turned off before the accident. Mojica was prepping her next job and was not near the control buttons when the diecutter trapped her, the

Print Buyers Find an Oasis in Florida

AMELIA ISLAND, FL—With daytime temperatures in the 70s and clear skies throughout the Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference and Exhibit, held here February 9th to 12th at the Plantation Resort, the Sunshine State lived up to its name. So did the quality of educational sessions and networking opportunities available to the 400 people attending the seventh annual conference geared toward print buyers, production professionals and specifiers. Hosted by Suzanne Morgan, founder of Print Buyers and Print Communications Professionals International (PCPI), this year’s event featured a special environmental sustainability track for the first time. Special presenters included Scott Paul from Greenpeace USA, Katie Miller

Print Video Rocks YouTube Community —Cagle

BITS AND PIECES WHEN YOU combine new technology with old-school craft and a little in-your-face attitude, the result is side-splitting laughter. And it’s also perhaps the biggest electronic boost for the printing industry. Pazazz, a commercial and package printer based in Montréal, was looking to put together a fun, if a bit unconventional, promotional video. So Warren Werbitt, president and CEO of Pazazz, donned a company uniform and went on an almost four-minute rant near his loading dock that was reminiscent of Dennis Leary’s hyperactive style. The video, called “Printing’s Alive,” was posted on YouTube and immediately took off. By early February, the video


Themed Sales Contest Adds Political Spin STUART, FL—Southeastern Printing recently hosted an annual awards dinner and kick-off contest for its sales, production and management personnel. After awards were given out to several sales representatives, guests gathered in the parking lot to see who was arriving inside a black stretch limousine adorned with presidential seals and escorted by a police car. Out emerged President George W. Bush impersonator John Morgan, with two “Secret Service” agents by his side. After addressing the crowd and singing a few songs, the “President” announced the theme of Southeastern’s new contest, called “Decision ’08—You Can Make A Difference,” and

Process Optimization — Makereadies Mean Money

PRINT RUNS are getting shorter. Everyone in the industry now takes that as a given, but what does it mean? Is a short run in the hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands? The answer varies depending on the piece and the platform used to print it. One thing that is clear: A trend toward shorter runs at any level requires producing more jobs to achieve the same sales volume. Printers need to have highly efficient technology and processes in place to maximize their revenue and profits from this business. They must be able to get more jobs on and off a press per shift.

Quad Eyes Possible Expansion

SUSSEX, WI—Quad/Graphics got the green light to proceed with a $14 million expansion of its West Allis, WI, printing plant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The project, which would provide 80 new jobs by the time it is completed, received approval from the West Allis Plan Commission, according to the paper. Work could begin this spring on a 225,000-square-foot addition for production and storage space, according to City Planner Kristi Johnson. But Claire Ho, company spokesperson for Quad, told the paper that while the printer has considered West Allis as a target for expansion, a final decision had not been made, and

Quebecor Shuts Plant, Signs Contracts

MONTRÉAL—With its court-appointed administrators unable to find a buyer, Quebecor World PLC of Northamptonshire, U.K., a subsidiary of Quebecor World, shut its doors in early February. The closing left 250 people without jobs. The facility specialized in web offset magazines, catalogs and specialty printed advertising products. “Quebecor World PLC sought to find a going concern buyer for the business, but unfortunately it became clear that the focus of interested parties is on the assets of the business,” said Ian Best, one of the administrators, in a statement. However, Quebecor World announced the signing of new and renewed multi-year agreements with customers across all of

RR Donnelley — One Big Green Machine

IN ONE of RR Donnelley’s private mail handling and logistics facilities, the largest operation of its kind in the world, an employee exits a section of the interior space, and the lights over that area turn off…automatically. A global enterprise elects to have RR Donnelley produce printing using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certified papers, and it responds in its plants in Mexico, Canada, the United States and China. A fan that cools a press used to run continuously. Now, it intelligently senses when heat needs to be dissipated and runs only as required. Instead of being discarded, damaged wooden pallets are

Ryobi Enters 40˝ Press Market

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN—Best known for its smaller format sheetfed offset presses, Ryobi Graphic Systems has big plans for its new 1050 series of 40˝ presses, which will debut as a five-color model at Drupa in Düsseldorf, Germany, May 29 to June 11. The announcement came during a pre-Drupa briefing and plant tour held here February 21, which included 140 customers, distributors and industry journalists from around the world. The new 16,000 sph model, which will be distributed exclusively in the United States by xpedx, will become commercially available 12 months after Drupa. Although Ryobi will be entering an already crowded field of 40˝ press manufacturers,

Shop Floor Safety — A Cause for Concern

THERE ARE two ways to view the current state of safety in the printing industry. On the one hand, as manufacturing industries go, printing is a relatively safe profession that has witnessed a steady decline in the rate of recorded injuries and illnesses, according to the PIA/GATF figures maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the most current reporting data, in 2006, the manufacturing sector had an injury and illness rate of 6.0 per 100 full time employees. Printing and publishing had a rate of just 4.2 per 100 full time employees. Unfortunately, the worst of our injuries have been splashed


Goss Recognized For Global Resources Management BOSTON—At its Manufacturing in the 21st Century Summit held here recently, The Aberdeen Group presented the Performance Excellence Award to Goss International. The award recognizes Goss for excellence in managing global resources to meet complex, engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturing requirements—citing its manufacturing operations, supply chain management and information technology support that contribute to exceptional product performance. Böwe Bell + Howell has entered into an agreement in principle to acquire OPEX Corp.’s Postal Technologies division, which includes a line of mail sorters and software products. The company will also assume all of OPEX Postal Technologies’ maintenance and licensing

The Fairness Game —Fiorenza

WHAT IF you could find one basic concept that would have a powerfully positive impact on all aspects of personnel management at your printing establishment? What if it would do more to help you avoid employee lawsuits than any compliance training you could provide to your managers or employees? What if it would do more to boost employee morale and overall performance than any set of policies, evaluation protocols or progressive discipline system? And, what if this concept came as close to “the answer” to successful human resources management as any company is likely to ever get? The answer lies in monkeys, rocks, cucumbers