D.J. Burgess, currently leading his second year term as chairman of the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) and NPES—The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, is excited about the future of graphic communications and this year’s “Embrace Technology” themed GRAPH EXPO.
Burgess also is President/CEO of Burgess Industries, Inc., a worldwide print and graphics communications industry market leader that provides innovative hardware and software automation management and handling technology. Digital CtP [computer-to-plate] imaging and high-speed sheetfed and web press technology inspired Burgess to pioneer patented and award-winning plate management and handling automation for "lights-out," fully integrated manufacturing. For more than three decades, he has guided his company through multiple markets impacted by the analog-to-digital technology and communication revolution.
How has technology shaped and changed the way your company has done business?
D.J. Burgess: Technological change is inspirational; it creates endless opportunities for growth and for application advancement to lights-out, fully integrated manufacturing. Embracing change was the driving force behind Burgess’ innovation and success through process automation.
The lights-out Valpak Manufacturing Center in Florida is an industry-leading example. While the Burgess system conveys plates from four Kodak Magnus VLF Quantum platesetters to the plant’s two Goss Sunday M4000 presses with auto-plate transfer, it also maintains quality control over the entire platemaking workflow, validating delivery and location of every critical step in the process, while also managing the on-demand output of the plates by monitoring their consumption during printing. With job changeovers occurring every 10,000 impressions, this means staying ahead of a requirement for changing up to eight plates every six minutes.
At this relentless pace of consumption, Burgess’ workflow automation technology directs the four CtP devices to produce new sets of plates ‘on-command’ whenever the presses consume them, and then reports back to the Goss Press Center that the new set of press-ready plates are imaged and delivered to the “smart” plate pods—intelligent storage and delivery units, located five steps away from the 32 press cylinders they serve, ready to run on press.
Burgess’ operator-free, fully automated plate management and handling automation technology integrates prepress and press into one efficient system, and the plate-to-press process into an exercise in fulfillment-driven supply and demand—the key to achieving Valpak’s goal of nonstop production in the pressroom, on the collation line, right through to delivery.
Our company has achieved tremendous technological strides since my father started Burgess Industries in 1977, manufacturing his patented Microfilm imaging device, which enhanced image register while eliminating the need for vacuum contact during imaging.
Eventually, digital storage replaced film—much like the filmless CtP revolution in printing. But as you can see, it has always been about his philosophy of embracing change. From creating technology for automating a process, to helping customers work smarter and faster—and managing content—that has never changed.
What have the past two years been like at the helm of GASC and NPES, leading its 400-plus member companies on the path toward the future?
D.J. Burgess: Challenging ... exciting ... and truly an honor. I have been privileged to serve these two outstanding organizations, and the industry, during these times of unprecedented change. I’ve had mixed emotions during this economically historic time in the print communications business. It’s tough to watch the struggles and challenges that have ensued—and the companies that have been hit hard.