Fortune smiles on the industrious. And Gal Shweiki has every reason to feel fortunate. His 38-employee printing company, Shweiki Media, operates a brand-new commercial web press in a larger space. Shweiki Media prints publications for a market segment that is actually experiencing growth. What’s more, the company is on track to post record sales volume this year.
“Delighted customers, happy employees and continuous improvement are the foundation of our business,” Shweiki said. “A lot of our current success has to do with our new Mitsubishi Diamond 16 MAX-S+ and the expanded capabilities we have as a result. We can produce more work in less time, so we are able to take on more work in a day. Because of the increased level of quality, we are attracting more projects from a number of higher-end clients.”
A full-service publication printer established in 1999, Shweiki Media specializes in the printing of small-size to medium-size magazines and catalogs. Shweiki and his vice president of sales, David Reimherr, started the company with a humble but welcome approach to business: “We Make Publishers Better.” One truly innovative approach that the company offers its clients is the Shweiki Business Booster Program. Shweiki has enlisted a team of experts that current and potential clientele can glean knowledge from in the form of weekly online webinars.
“Although some mass-media magazines are struggling, many of the local niche publications are doing quite well,” Shweiki said. “And we are committed to their growth and continued success.”
Shweiki Media’s Diamond 16 MAX-S+ is the first press of its kind installed in the United States. The four-unit, 16-page press with inline ultraviolet (UV) coater features a new ergonomic design concept based on Scandinavian design. The press styling incorporates gentle, rounded forms, while simultaneously achieving functional ease and outstanding safety.
The Diamond 16 MAX-S+ has a maximum web width of 38 inches and a 22 3/4 -inch cutoff. It can produce 8 1/2 x 10 7/8-inch books at a rate of 57,000 copies per hour. Shweiki Media retired its five-unit Mitsubishi L750C full-web press but decided to hold onto a five-unit Royal Zenith 420 half-web in case any overflow work required a backup press.
“Our older full-web was running 25,000 copies per hour, and the half-web was capable of 15,000 copies per hour,” Shweiki pointed out. “The new press consistently prints over 50,000 copies per hour. Eight-page forms are coming out at about 110,000 copies per hour, and the fours are coming out at 180,000 per hour.”
Of the four presses Shweiki has acquired for his company since 1999, the Diamond 16 MAX-S+ is first press purchased new. In fact, he originally considered buying a used press this time around and constructing a warehouse building for the press. Attending Drupa 2008 changed his mind.
“Seeing the state-of-the-art web press technology convinced me of the need to invest in new machinery,” he recalled. “The speeds and efficiencies that can be achieved make it almost impossible for printers to compete with used equipment.”
In order to justify the new press, however, Shweiki Media needed both increased revenues and reduced operating costs. The company scrapped its plans to build a new facility in favor of securing an existing 84,000-square-foot building. In addition, concentrating production on the one press immediately cut the press crew requirement for its two daily shifts in half, from 12 people to six. Total run waste also has been more than halved, according to Shweiki.
“The average run waste per form on our Mitsubishi L750C totaled 2,500 to 2,800 sheets,” Shweiki said “It is down to 1,000 to 1,200 sheets, and we believe we can reduce that further.”
Advanced automation components, such as register control, CIP3/4 server, closed-loop color technology and improved touch screen operation on the IPC II press control, help save on makeready time and waste.
“The L750C didn’t have any automatic color, register or cutoff controls,” Shweiki noted. “The Diamond 16 MAX-S+ is fully automated. Waste is so low and makereadies are so fast that we are competitive with sheetfed printers on runs as small as 2,000 copies.”
Another sophisticated system, MAX Color Navigator, simplifies color adjustments by enabling automatic fine-tuning of colors, a process that conventionally demands complex control of multiple color ink units.
“A press operator can only do so much when it comes to manually adjusting color,” Shweiki said. “Color Navigator allows the operator to make minute color adjustments very quickly using a touch panel control, checking the colors and images displayed on the print image screen. There is much less room for human error.”
Along with the press, the company installed a combination folder and a four-page/eight-page folder. The folders bring superior manufacturing efficiency to the production of full-color text pages and magazine covers. For added quality and efficiency, the inline coater can apply full and spot UV coatings. Previously, Shweiki Media relied on an offline UV coater.
“We produce sheetfed—quality work with this web press,” Shweiki stated. “Someone would really need to know what he was looking for to tell the difference between covers printed on our web press and covers coming off a sheetfed press.”
To expand its product offerings, Shweiki Media invested in a perfect binder, sheeter, cutter and perforator.
“Freestanding, single-sheet newspaper inserts are a growing niche for us,” Shweiki said. “Postcards coated with gloss or matte UV for direct mail marketing is another area where we are seeing significant demand.”
A new sales tool will create a center of attention around Shweiki Media’s products. In September, an online storefront will go live at the firm’s website (www.shweiki.com).
“Customers can order, proof and approve publications, inserts and postcards online and go straight to press,” Shweiki said. “We plan to be very aggressive with our pricing for Internet-enabled printing.”
Between the new press and moving into its new facility, Shweiki Media spent approximately $9 million. Since the Diamond 16 MAX-S+ began commercial production in February, Shweiki is more confident than ever it will pay for itself in just a few years.
“We reported sales last year of $8.7 million, and we expect to be at $10 million this year,” he said. “I predict that figure will triple over the next few years as we expand our market offerings and grow our online storefront capabilities. We will have no problem meeting our ROI projections. We have received many positive comments from customers on the press. That gives us more confidence to pursue high-end publications.”