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How Daily Printing got the binding

Sep 1, 2004 12:00 AM

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Daily Printing is an $18 million commercial printer located in Plymouth, MN. This past March the company had the best month in its 53-year history. The milestone is attributable to several things. First, there's the people factor. Because Daily Printing is employee-owned, all of its 100 employees have a vested interest in the company's success.

You can't ignore good salesmanship, either. Daily Printing's team knows how to establish and maintain long-term customer relationships. Clients know they can expect far more than ink on paper. In addition to printing point-of-purchase materials, for example, Daily assembles and packages them into kits and ships them to multiple locations. Customers can be confident that the kits will arrive on time, at the correct location and in perfect condition.

The equipment factor

Finally, there's the equipment factor. Daily Printing has a Rampage workflow driving a Fuji Saber violet platesetter as well as four Heidelberg presses: a 23 × 29-inch six-color CD 74 with coater; a 28 × 40-inch two-color Speedmaster 102 perfecting press; and a pair of 28 × 40-inch six-color CD 102s with coaters. And in terms of data collection, the company is networked completely.

The platesetters enable Daily to achieve better print quality with faster turnarounds. In the pressroom, speedier presses, coupled with automatic plate changing, also are contributing to the company's increased productivity.

But the real story is in the bindery. Daily Printing's postpress department employs 18 workers over three shifts and offers everything from custom hand-assembly to automatic multi-pocket binding. Saddlestitching, spiral binding and special diecutting are all in a day's work. And, thanks to the company's new automated Polar Cutting System 3.2 with Offline Jogging System 5 and Compucut, there's no bottleneck at the cutter.

Dramatic gain in cutting efficiency

“We would not have been able to complete all of our cutting in March without the Polar system,” says Peter Jacobson, Daily Printing's president and CEO. “With the volume of work coming out of the pressroom, we would have had to send out some cutting or miss delivery dates.”

The company, which reportedly is running the new cutter at 80 percent capacity, cites a 50 percent gain in cutter efficiency as a result of the installation. Jacobson says the advantages of Polar's automatic job setup and material handling features are apparent particularly when cutting sheets of greeting cards and 4 × 6-inch cards. These jobs typically are produced on 10-12 pt. board in runs of 12,000 to 24,000 sheets and require many square cuts. It took Daily's operators 15-20 minutes to set up the company's old cutters manually. But the Polar system's JDF-compliant Compucut option automatically sets cutter parameters using prepress job data generated by UpFront, an imposition software program.

Dan Sandvik, Daily Printing's vice president of production, says the new cutter does the work of two old ones: “It was a real eye-opener for us.” Until recently, Sandvik observes, many printers could live with bindery bottlenecks. An overwhelmed bindery was an inconvenience but not necessarily a competitive disadvantage. That's no longer the case.

“We didn't have a choice [about upgrading the bindery] because we had to stay ahead of the competition,” relates Sandvik. “We couldn't raise our prices, so we had to offer faster service.”

Better workflow management

Daily Printing also recently installed a Heidelberg Stitchmaster ST 400 saddlestitcher. “The biggest reason we bought the new stitcher had to do with faster setup times and speedier makereadies,” says Jacobson. Adds Sandvik: “Our old stitcher ran at 8,000 cycles per hour. The ST 400 runs at 14,000 per hour.”

Daily Printing's five-year plan is straightforward, proactive and — judging from the company's 12 percent increase in sales for the fiscal year ending March 31 — effective. “We pretty much know when we're going to need new presses,” Jacobson says. “The decision is driven partly by knowledge of the industry, partly by recurring obsolescence issues and partly by income.”

On the postpress side, the exec says the company would like to add a CIP4-compliant folder. “We run CIP3 on the cutter and will graduate to CIP4 on the ST 400 stitcher,” he explains. “Better workflow management — even in the bindery — means more cost savings.”

Jacobson concedes that, for many printers, bindery upgrades tend to take a back seat to prepress and press investments. “Nevertheless, you have to make the capital investment if you want to stay in business. CTP and other front-end changes may have taken priority, but the efficiencies to be gained are on the back end now.”

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