At first I laughed,” said Tony Barongi, plant manager at C&S Press in Orlando, FL, when the benefits of Heidelberg’s Anicolor press technology (Booth 1214) were originally presented to him. “Ten-sheet makereadies? You had to show me. Then we brought our own jobs to a demo and became true believers.”
The four years since C&S acquired a 4-color Speedmaster SM 52 press with Anicolor inking unit have done nothing but highlight its value to the firm.
“We did well through the recession because of the Anicolor,” Barongi said. “Had we proceeded with our original plan to move from small-format work into an overcrowded 40" market at a time when job volumes and run lengths were shrinking rapidly, it would have been a much different story. The SM 52 Anicolor has enabled us to thrive in our small-format niche without acquiring a digital press.”
Said the late Dan Ellis, President of the company when these decisions were made, “When we compared the Anicolor press with the available digital options, the choice was clear, especially given the likelihood of click and consumables charges amounting to tens of thousands of dollars per month.” Ellis said at the time, “You can’t argue with five-minute makereadies and a maximum of 50 sheets to contract color on a 4-color job. That’s a savings of 350 sheets over a typical 4-color makeready, and it’s a huge benefit to us in terms of client satisfaction and profitability.”
While C&S utilizes the Speedmaster SM 52 primarily for shorter run work, it prizes the Anicolor machine’s flexible stock range (80-lb. text to 12- and even 14-pt. board) and availability for longer run lengths; advantages not shared by its digital counterparts. The SM 52’s outstanding productivity is such that C&S also acquired a pair of Heidelberg Prosetter CtP devices to ensure it can satisfy the SM 52’s appetite for Heidelberg Saphira violet aluminum plates.
“You have to keep it fed,” Barongi said, adding that he currently runs the press “full out” for one 10-hour shift per day, four days per week, averaging 56 makereadies per week. “With makeready on the SM 52 Anicolor at 50 sheets, the savings already are huge. Most of the time, however, the Anicolor is ready in 10-15 sheets.”
In return for proper care and feeding, the Anicolor press is capable of astonishing feats of speed and productivity, Barongi said, citing a recent order for 350 Mass cards to be delivered in time for a memorial service set for 2:00 pm the same day the order was received.
“The order came in at 9:00 am,” Barongi recalled. “We had the job proofed and on press by 9:20, and were able to deliver the Mass cards by 11:00 am; three hours ahead of schedule.”
As for quality, not only does the Anicolor press use “real ink” rather than “toner dust,” it also yields printing with greater color fidelity and dot gain equivalent to conventionally printed materials. Ink is what does it,” Barongi said.
These days, C&S is proud to be an “unofficial demo center” for the Anicolor press, proofing, and plating jobs for other “show me” printers like Barongi himself. Nevertheless, he continually urges his peers to visit Heidelberg’s Tech Center demonstration facility in Kennesaw, GA, for a private showing and a 1:1 opportunity to have their questions answered.
“Heidelberg’s SM 52 Anicolor press looks like a conventional press, but is actually a digital press that uses ink instead of toner, and minus the click and consumable charges. It’s the best investment we’ve ever made.”