Commercial Printing Technology Upgrade
Karyn Lewis Digital Print Processes 2082-401-02 Fall 2006
Background of Monroe Litho
About Monroe Litho Monroe Litho Inc. of Rochester, NY is looking into the feasibility of upgrading or changing its current equipment and workflow system in order to improve its services and bring in more business. Monroe Litho, Inc. is a Lithographic printing company that serves as a dependable provider of typesetting, one and two-color printing, and mailing services primarily to its local customers. The company is one of 17 commercial printing subsidiaries owned by the Atlantabased Graphic Industries Inc, which ranks 18th in sales of North America commercial printing companies (American Printer). Part of Graphic Industries’ corporate strategy includes adapting to change through technology. The Monroe shop is considering investing heavily in digital technology with the notion of maintaining a high-quality edge in its market. The company has won many national quality awards and certifications from customers, including Ortho Pharmaceuticals, ADP, Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb, and wants to continue its professional recognition as the industry evolves.
Monroe Litho strives to offer services that meet or exceed their customers' needs. They work with known suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that all purchased materials and services fully meet the needs of their customers, holding to the goal of building long-term relationships that ensure that the quality of their products, services, and integrity is never compromised. The plant operates as a premier graphic communications company that embraces ideas and concepts, providing the value chain of services, solutions, and products necessary to fulfill their customers' needs.
Monroe Litho Inc. is currently the only printer worldwide to hold the "Certified Supplier" status with Eastman Kodak Company. The company is an official testing facility for Mead/Westvaco sheetfed papers, and is recognized as a prime-printing supplier to Bausch & Lomb. Monroe Litho has been recognized by the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the New York State Department of Labor.
Current Workflow The Rochester company is a complete sheetfed facility with all services from PrePress through Binding and distribution available from its Rochester location. Most equipment has automated features and preset functions that reduce manual set-up and allow Monroe Litho to increase productivity within its current workflow. Jobs can be requested via fax, e-mail, or walk-ins. Additionally, some jobs can be submitted over the network through FTP access.
Once jobs are received and approved, they’re are entered into a database where job tickets are created. The job is scheduled, and then any pre-press work is done. The job is then printed, finished, packaged and made ready for pickup or shipment
Products and Services With their current workflow, Monroe Litho offers a variety of pre-press/pre-media, printing, bindery, mailing, and fulfillment services. Some of their work includes pocket folders, direct mail postcards, annual reports, pharmaceutical inserts, posters, catalogs, brochures, and catalog, rack, and sell sheets.
Software and Equipment Used For prepress work and page layout, Monroe Litho prefers to use Quark Express, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe PageMaker. Other software options including Adobe Illustrator and Freehand can be used, but these files are first converted to Encapsulated PostScript format in Quark. Adobe Photoshop is the preferred choice when it comes to color manipulation. Microsoft products can be used, but only at the cost of extra time on the print job. PDF files can easily be dropped into Quark, or ripped directly from the PDF file. Monroe currently uses an Epson 10600 Proofing System, a Kodak XP4 Approval Digital Proofing System, Creo Lotem Computer to Plate system, Crosfield Celsis 6250 digital drum scanner, Epson FlatBed Scitex Brisque Stations with Impose, and Iris 43 Wide Digital Proofers in the makeready process.
Their presses include a Komori 8-color 28" x 40" plus in-line aqueous coater, a Heidelberg 6color 28" x 40" Series CD 102 with in-line aqueous coater and extended delivery, and a Heidelberg 5-color 28" x 40" with in-line perfector and aqueous coater.
For the final finishing process, Monroe Litho uses Polar Electronic High Speed Cutters, Stahl folders with color recognition scanning heads, an Optiscanner Pharmaceutical Folder with a
Robatech HotMelt Gluing System. A Muller 331 Stitcher with 6 Pockets and a Cover Feeder, a 10-Pocket Sheet Collator, Multi-Spindle Drills, Shrink Wrapping Systems, and an Automated Polar pile turner.
Target Market and Business Goals Digital methods enable companies to supply proofs without making films, thus saving time and cost. Monroe Litho’s current concept for growth includes increasing client involvement in the prepress process by developing stronger partnerships with customers via the front end of its business. The only limitation is the amount of equipment the company has in operation. Monroe Litho would like to produce 90 percent of their work electronically, as opposed to the 40% they produce now (American Printer).
Most commercial printers now do some form of digital printing. Printing processes today use scanners and digital cameras to input images and computers to manipulate and format the graphic images prior to printing. Digital printing also is transforming prepress operations as well as the printing process. It eliminates much of the lengthy process in transferring print files to the printing press by directly transferring digital files to an electronically driven output device bypassing traditional prepress operations.
A Changing Print Economy Over the past five to seven years, digital electronics have become the pre-press norm, and computerization of presses themselves is following not too far behind. The industry is one of the most tightly competitive around, and to stay in the game printers have to concentrate first on getting work out. Offset presses are designed to make tens of thousands of copies at a time, and require plates to be made that press the images onto paper. Digital presses streamline the process, eliminating plates and allowing for smaller orders and customized marketing materials, for which a premium can be charged. According to Frank Romano, “Even though offset printing is evolving to provide more economical and more competitive approaches, some of its volume will continue to erode” (Business Forms, Labels & Systems). The offset commercial printing market is changing, but digital printing offers the industry a promising escape route. By 2010, in fact, the NAPL predicts 21% of the commercial printing revenue will likely come from digital printing. This is up from 7.4% today. Conversely, traditional offset printing’s share of commercial
revenues is expected to decline to 58% by 2010, from 77% today (Wall Street Journal). “Compared to offset, both estimates and orders are up for digital printing” (Romano). The chart below shows the growth of offset and digital estimates and orders over four years, with a projection through the end of 2004.
Potential benefits of Digital Printing Print providers must constantly deal with new modes of communication, a new commercial geography, and new business models. Prospering in this environment requires a merging of conventional and digital technologies that Kodak terms a “blended” production approach (American Printer).
A huge factor is the cost differential. With standard traditional printing, print buyers are basing decisions on cost per page. With digital, the issue is the cost of acquiring a new customer or increasing returns on an ad campaign. Instead of talking about printing several thousand direct mail pieces at pennies per page, distributors are discussing the value of variable content in targeted, personalized mailers for greater responses that can be mapped back to specific campaigns (Business Forms, Labels & Systems).
Determined best workflow option Although the digital printing industry is growing, offset will not die out. The bet option for Monroe Litho is to invest in software and equipment that will work with their current offset setup to increase production and services provided.
New equipment “The level of investment is directly related to the printer’s target market and application mix” (Pellow). Traditional commercial print firms generally place initial focus for their digital investment on short-run, quick turnaround, on-demand jobs. The infrastructure and IT resource requirements, however, are limited for Monroe Litho with the equipment and software they have now.
Because Monroe Litho already has the Creo computer-to-plate system in place, the most costeffective and beneficial step the company could take is to invest in an HP digital printer. “Companies that own an HP Indigo Press have the opportunity to easily integrate with traditional offset commercial printers and expand their digital print volume” (Media Week). “The HP- IndioCreo solution is a professional workflow for increased productivity, faster turnaround time, and outstanding image and color quality.” With the purchse of the press, Monroe Litho would get Creo’s Production Stream Server as part of a bundle. Together, this system would maximize productivity and streamline the digital workflow.
The HP Indigo press 5000 is an ideal choice for commercial printers who want to provide digital, full-color, offset-quality for emerging applications such as marketing collateral-on-demand, personalized direct mail, versioned manuals and photo-related services.
New Digital Workflow Additional digital equipment will dramatically decrease makeready time and costs. The process of platemaking, meticulous setup, and drying will be eliminated. Post production inventory and recycling will be reduced as well. With a Creo hybrid workflow, proofs, short runs, and supplementary runs can all be rerouted from a traditional workflow to a digital workflow. The Creo server’s support of JDF will enable unified workflow for the easy routing of offset jobs to digital. The HP Indigo Press 5000 will maximize the workflow using electronic collation, automatic duplexing, seamless job changes, and color personalization.
New Capabilities Digital methods will help by supplying proofs without making films, thus saving time and cost. They are more predictable and consistent than other types. A digital system will also free up press schedules and allow the company to take on more print jobs. Some jobs can be produced completely via electronic means—scanning, stripping, and proofing. Monroe Litho will have a professional workflow, extended variable data printing capabilities, and superb image quality.
Projected Capital Expenditure The cost of the press will take Monroe Litho back about $4,000. Additional costs may be in corporate training and supplementary staff.
Overview Savings will appear in three areas—time, labor, and film (American Printer). First, digital proofing will allow the firm to make a good color proof for clients without producing films.
Monroe Litho will be able to turn around work much faster—within minutes instead of hours. CEPS operators won’t even have to leave their seats, and this type of proofing won’t slow other jobs or the next part of a current job. Monroe Litho’s customers will also gain in a more direct way. Since it increasing productivity, digital proofing allows the firm to handle more work for clients. The technology allows the printing company to handle more work without adding extra personnel, while also bringing CEPS operators up to speed on new systems. The equipment will keep Monroe Litho one step ahead of everyone else in the print industry environment.
Monroe Litho. Monroe Litho, Inc. 1 Oct 2006. <http://www.monroelitho.com>. Pui-Wing Tam. “Technology (A Special Report); Offsetting Losses: Digital presses offer commercial printers an escape route during a brutal shakeout.” Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, NY: Dec 19, 2005. 1 Oct 2006. <http://proquest.umi.com>. Maggie DeWitt. “Dive Into Digital.” Business Forms, Labels & Systems. Philadelphia: Mar 20, 2006. Vol. 44, Issue 3; pg 28, 4 pgs. 1 Oct 2006. <http://proquest.umi.com>. Katherine O’Brien. “Tasty Digital & Offset Combinations.” American Printer. Chicago: May 2006. Vol. 123, Issue 5; pg 8, 1pgs. 1 Oct 2006. <http://proquest.umi.com>. Frank J. Romano. “Straight Talk From the Digital Printing Council: Digital printing is now a business.” OnDemand Jounal.com. 1 Oct 2006. <http://mycourses.rit.edu>. “Creo Print On-Demand Solutions Group Launches New HP Indigo Production Stream Server Powered by Creo for Unified Offset and Digital Workflows at IPEX 2006.” Media Week. London, UK. 1 Oct 2006. <http://graphics.kodak.com>. “Color Proofing: Proof Positive.” American Printer. Chicago: Oct. 1992. Vol. 210, Issue 1; pg 44, 3 pgs. 1 Oct 2006. <http://proquest.umi.com>. Creo. Creo POD Solutions group. <http://www.creopod.com>. Barbara A. Pellow, Michael J. Pletka, Heather A. Banis. “Investing in Digital Color… The Bottom Line.” Rochester: Nov 2003. 1 Oct 2006. <http://www.rit.edu>.