Owner Fred Thomas, left, with his cutter operators and new POLAR 137 XT. The cutter was the first piece of new equipment delivered to the Aaron Thomas plant since a blaze demolished the facility on Nov. 3, 2010.
MCTI Student Anthony Beard with MCTI’s new Printmaster QM 46.
Heidelberg has announced the following new product installations:
Aaron Thomas and Associates Marks New Beginning with POLAR Install
It was a red-letter day in February when a new POLAR 137 XT high-speed, programmable paper cutter was delivered to Aaron Thomas and Associates in Chatsworth, CA. It had been three months since fire completely destroyed the facility in early November, forcing the operation into temporary quarters and compelling a series of temporary layoffs that would enable the general commercial/political printer and direct mail marketing house to survive as a printing brokerage until arrangements could be made to restore its production capability. The POLAR machine was the first piece of equipment delivered since the fire.
“It was the cutter that got us back in business,” said owner Fred Thomas. “We instantly gained more control and a huge boost to our morale with that installation.” Beyond that, the new POLAR came complete with what Thomas termed “space-age” features including a user-friendly, integrated touchscreen display, frequency-controlled back gauge, and OptiKnife knife changing—all of which have met with enthusiastic operator approval. A second POLAR cutter is already on the way, together with a Printmaster QM 46 two-color press.
“Heidelberg’s reputation precedes it,” Thomas said. “Everything we’ve ever had runs beautifully and lasts forever.”
Aaron, Thomas & Associates is a $17 million, full-service, political direct mail and printing agency headquartered in Chatsworth, CA. Clients include government and multinational corporations; business and trade associations; labor unions; and candidates for political office. The 23-year-old firm is moving with all deliberate speed to restore staffing to previous levels, and looking forward to multiple new installations as the company regains its fighting trim.
Seckman Printing Boosts Capacity with Versatile Stahlfolder TH-66
Seckman Printing in Forest, VA recently added a fully automated, three-station, buckle-plate Stahlfolder TH-66 to its all-Heidelberg equipment lineup.
“In addition to adding significant capacity, we’ve experienced a 100 percent improvement in makeready time and are 60 percent to 70 percent more productive,” said Jay Pearce, production foreman. Moreover, the folder’s 6/4/4 configuration lends the company the flexibility to produce everything from 81/2x11” letterfolds to 26x40” 3-unit signatures for booklets, to gatefolds and other special folded projects.
The company’s first fully automated folder is a certifiable hit with Seckman’s operators, who appreciate the new machine’s intuitive control system as well as the pre-scoring/pre-slitting shaft that help keep folds consistent.
Seckman’s sheetfed pressroom also is home to a 6-color Speedmaster XL 105, a 2-color Speedmaster SM 102, a 6-color Speedmaster SM 102, and a Heidelberg GTO ZP 2-color perfector; while its bindery is dominated by a pair of 54” POLAR 137 cutters, each with lift, jogger and offloader, a 36” POLAR 92 guillotine, a pair of Heidelberg letterpresses, and assorted continuous feed Stahlfolders with right angle and 16-page attachment. The prepress department is anchored by a Heidelberg Suprasetter CtP device with single and multiple cassettes, and powered by Heidelberg’s Prepress Manager workflow and Heidelberg clean-running Saphira Chemfree plates.
Established in 1977 and currently with 94 employees, the full-service, general commercial printer serves a variety of clients.
Michigan Career and Technical Institute Installs Printmaster QM 46
The Graphic Communications department of the Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI) in Plainwell, MI reports the installation of a Printmaster QM 46-2 from Heidelberg. The new press enables the program to demonstrate advanced technology to its students, as well as facilitate the training department’s ability to produce a variety of printed materials for MCTI and other state government agencies.
The new press, which replaced an Heidelberg GTOZ, MOZP and Itek 3985 has introduced student operators to dramatically reduced makeready times, automatic plate-changing, advanced inking, and a running speed of 10,000 sph “right off the bat,” said Jeff Mount, one of two instructors in the program. “We were used to half that speed.” Students also enjoy access to a POLAR 92 EMC paper cutter and a Stahl 20x30” folder with right angle attachment.
“Heidelberg machines are built well, take a lot of abuse, and last forever,” Mount said. From a career standpoint, he added, the Printmaster QM 46 is a fixture in the majority of shops where program graduates gain employment, “so being able to train on that particular press is a real plus for them.”
Founded in 1944, MCTI serves adult students with disabilities from all over Michigan, with a goal of career education and subsequent placement in the workplace. MCTI has 14 vocational training areas: Automotive Technology, Cabinetmaking/Millwork, Certified Nursing Assistant, Culinary Arts, Custodial, Customer Service, Electronics Servicing, Grounds Maintenance, Office Automation, Machine Technology, Graphic Communications, Pharmacy Tech, Retail Marketing and Weatherization.
MCTI is a program under the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth-Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS). The mission of MRS is to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve employment and self-sufficiency. MRS provides job preparation, job placement, job retention, and independent living services for more than 45,000 residents of Michigan with disabilities annually.
Quick Stop Printing Streamlines Prepress Operation with Suprasetter and Saphira Plates from Heidelberg
Quick Stop Printing, Worcester, MA reports that its recent installation of a Suprasetter A52 CtP device and its switch to Heidelberg Saphira Chemfree plates has given the company the ability to produce high-quality jobs more quickly. “My operator loves the ease-of-use and the way the software runs,” said Jay Massei, president and owner, adding that the Saphira Chemfree plates also produce a visibly sharper dot.
None of this comes as much of a surprise to Massei, who sums up his long experience with Heidelberg equipment as follows: “I know the value, it doesn’t break, and it runs and runs and runs. When I need service, I know that Heidelberg technicians will get the job done right.”
Family run Quick Stop, a Worcester fixture since 1930, is a small-format commercial printer with five employees serving loyal clients throughout central Massachusetts. The longtime Heidelberg customer also operates three Printmaster QM 46 2-color presses, 2- and 4-color Speedmaster SM 52s, and a POLAR 78 guillotine cutter.
Vestcom International, Inc. Benefits from First-Ever POLAR Application
Vestcom has taken delivery at its Columbus, Ohio facility of a pair of POLAR 78 X cutters, specially engineered to handle contact label stock. According to Production Facility Manager Michael Smith, the unique bevel of the silicone coated blade, in addition to a proprietary cleaning pad designed to keep the back of the blade clean, facilitate the cutting of multiple lifts of adhesive-backed paper used to produce a variety of in-store retail shelf-edge labels. The new cutters are the first in the world to feature this type of application.
The new cutters replace an existing, competitive cutter equipped with a standard carbide blade that accumulated gummy, adhesive buildup and needed to be cleaned several times a day. By contrast, the new, “self-cleaning” cutters have yet to require a cleaning after a month in full production.
“The new cutters save us time and money, which provides savings for our customers,” Smith said. “The product comes off the blade clean, not stuck together. As a result, we’re much faster now, and our productivity has increased by 60 to 70 percent. We also estimate that our use of clean-cut contact paper saves approximately 15 associate hours for the retail end-user. Our customers are happy, and we’re very satisfied.”
Little Rock, AK-based Vestcom is the leading provider of customized shelf-edge communications and specialized marketing services for the retail industry—delivering proven results and influencing shopper behavior at the point-of-decision for the nation’s top retailers and their suppliers, and processing more than 100 million price/promotion updates per week through its 10 production facilities located across the United States. Recognized as one of America’s fastest growing private companies by the Inc. 500, Vestcom’s services benefit retail clients by reducing store operations expenses, increasing retail sales and coordinating in-store execution with retailers and their brand partners. For more information visit www.vestcom.com.