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Dec 1, 1998 12:00 AM, Andrew D. Paparozzi

In 1999, the commercial printing industry will see growth slow with the economy, the pressure to diversify continue to drive consolidation deep into the industry, and the gap between profit leaders and everyone else widen.Printers already sense this economic reality. Just 33.1 percent of the National Assn. of Printers & Lithographers (NAPL) Business Panel (a diverse group of 500 companies surveyed



If you think you can't judge a book by its cover, you haven't visited Mid-City Lithographers (Lake Forest, IL). The 60,000-sq.-ft. facility produces textbook covers, software package wraps, playing cards, baseball cards and more. Mid-City has the capacity to produce one million covers a day for books used by moms, motorcycle enthusiasts and school kids just to name a few.If you own a Better Homes


Nov 1, 1998 12:00 AM, WILLIAM C. LAMPARTER

Effective maintenance can be the hidden difference between a cost-effective, profitable printer and a competitor that is on the brink of production disaster.One characteristic of a plant in trouble is poor equipment maintenance, lack of a maintenance budget (or an inadequate one), reliance on operators to perform unsupervised preventive maintenance and a fix-it-when-its-broke operations mentality.Conversely,


Aug 1, 1998 12:00 AM, Debbie Peterson

You name it, they've got it.Today's 40-inch sheet-fed presses are armed with sophisticated automation, from ink key settings to blanket washup to fully automatic plate changing. Indeed, sheet-fed equipment is better than ever before. Better. Stronger. Faster.Automation, which has honed in on speeding makeready and washup functions, is standard on many presses. Color, too, is more important, and printers


Sep 1, 1997 12:00 AM, Michael D. Vinocur

Over the past several years, those making a living from selling prepress services have been forced to weather a storm of dreary predictions. Yet, intimations of impending death and doom generally end up being premature. One is reminded of Mark Twain's cable from London to the Associated Press in 1897 stating: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."In the early 1980s, there was talk of the

Productivity: Who Cares About Formats?

Aug 1, 1997 12:00 AM, American Printer Staff

A common misconception in evaluating prepress systems is overestimating the value of the hardware and underestimating the value of data. Computer hardware typically is written off in two to four years. Accelerating this effect is Moore's law, which roughly states the computers become twice as powerful every 18 months.Data, on the other hand, is the most important and most durable asset of any prepress

Productivity: More Than a Print Spooler

Aug 1, 1997 12:00 AM, American Printer Staff

A graphic arts server is a key element in achieving productivity in prepress operations. But how do you know which server to buy or what functions it needs to have?Before answering that question, let's consider the terminology used in developing server architectures. Currently, the trend in the graphic arts industry is to use a client/server configuration. But what does that mean in actual operation?Powerful


Jun 1, 1997 12:00 AM, Michelle Hirshowitz

Back in the late 1960s, when quick printers first started out, securing a good retail location was the basis for establishing a successful business. Today, it seems that location is still important, although the specific market you're aiming at will determine precisely which location will serve you best.Some quick printers swear that being in a highly visible retail location is the key to success.


May 1, 1997 12:00 AM,

Like most people in the graphics arts industry, you are probably familiar with the basic computer-to-plate (CTP) concept. Unless you have visited a certain prepress shop in Menomonee Falls, WI, however, you may not know about CTPFSEP--that's Computer-to-Plate for Someone Else's Press."We've been offering traditional electronic stripping and scanning since 1988," explains Dennis Redman, vice president


Feb 1, 1997 12:00 AM, Fred Ferris

The nature of the quick printing business obviously has changed significantly over the past 10 years or so. The bread-and-butter of the typical shop no longer centers around the self-service copiers or the random jobs that just happen to come through the front door.Today, the quick printing industry has evolved significantly from these humble beginnings, with many shops moving beyond printing's version

Ink estimating, part deux

Nov 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Merit, Don

Many estimators say that it doesn't pay to estimate the cost of ink. The reasoning is they never know how much coverage there will be on estimating day. Therefore, estimators may as well include ink as part of the hourly rate or figure the cost of ink as a percentage of the cost of paper (see Estimating, page 82 in the October issue of AMERICAN PRINTER). Another method is to include a minimum charge.

Proof of what?

Oct 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Zwang, Dave

The topic of proofing isn't new. Unlike many other issues of the day, proofing challenges didn't grow out of the digital design and prepress revolution. Proofing has been an issue in the graphic arts industry for decades. Nonetheless, the introduction of digital production techniques, along with some new technologies, has brought unique problems and solutions to proofing operations.In the professional

Secrets of success

Jul 1, 1996 12:00 AM,

R.R. Donnelley & Sons. Banta Corp. Quebecor Printing. World Color Press. Quad/Graphics. These behemoths all scored stellar marks in AMERICAN PRINTER'S listing of the Top 100+ printers (by annual sales) in North America.The question is, how did they make the arduous climb to the top? And how do they remain firmly ensconced there, despite a formerly precarious economy, reported lack of skilled employees,

How long on press?

Jul 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Merit, Don

If there weren't so many differences between jobs, calculating press time would be a snap. Depending on the number of colors, we would just allow a fixed amount of time for wash-up and makeready. When it comes to running, once we figured out the number of sheets, we would know how many impressions. If the job prints one side, it's the same quantity. If it prints two sides, we would double the figure.

The benefits of gifting shares

Jul 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Shelly, Donald F., Jr.

Most printing company owners are familiar with the concept of gifting shares to their children. Often advisors recommend it as an estate planning technique or method for making children shareholders in the company.Is gifting a good idea? What are the benefits and pitfalls?Gifting assets without triggering gift taxes can be accomplished under two provisions outlined in the tax code.Under the first

Running on automatic

Apr 1, 1996 12:00 AM,

this automated plant excels efficient post-press material handlingThe proliferation of shopping by mail has led to catalog production becoming one of the most rapidly growing segments of the graphic arts industry. Where not so long ago there were cornfields on the outskirts of Minneapolis, there now are imposing, modern industrial buildings, one of them home to Banta Catalog Group - The Printer.With

Speed demon

Mar 1, 1996 12:00 AM,

Computer-to-press or computer-to-plate?That's the question B & B's director of prepress, Robert Carrier, asked himself. The Bristol, TN firm, a 32-employee, full-service general commercial printer that handles work from design through bindery, initially selected the former. In fact, lured by the technology's promise of fast turnarounds, Carrier even ordered the digital press.Upon closer examination,

Short story

Mar 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Lamparter, William C.

Short-run color-the printing industry's panacea for the 90s. Everybody's doing it-or at least talking about it.Commercial printers in almost all markets are experiencing eroding run lengths but increasing color volume. As a result, they are buying equipment to cost effectively produce what is often termed "short-run color."Print buyers, too, are looking at their volume requirements in a new light.

Blanket statements

Feb 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Ferris, Fred

Okey, okay, it's true. They're not as exciting as, say, a brand-new eight-color press with all the fancy features. And, they certainly aren't one of the larger expenditures a printing firm must concern itself with.But, printing blankets are one of the most important factors influencing quality print output. They're an important investment, and may be the ultimate determination of customers' acceptance

High-flying flexo

Jan 1, 1996 12:00 AM, Lamparter, William C.

Flexography, dramatically improve printing process, but will it ever win in the commercial printing market?Flexography, characterized by its advocates as a process showing dynamic technical change, is the process of choice for the majority of package printers. It also runs a close second to offset in the related areas of tags and labels.When newspaper publishers decide to purchase a new press, flexography