In 2009, Digital Hub captured two Pinnacle Print Awards from the PII (Printing Industries of Illinois/Indiana) in recognition of outstanding craftsmanship in the creation and production of printed materials. In 2010, 12 Pinnacle Awards were presented to the printer. At the Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, Digital Hub walked away with 23 awards. Five of these were Best of Category citations that are automatically entered in the PIA’s (Printing Industry of America) Premier Print Award’s Competition in June.
Digital Hub’s Director of Marketing Michael Jones explained that the company’s rapid ascent in capturing these and other awards has been the result of simultaneous efforts to improve print quality and manufacturing productivity while dramatically reducing VOC emissions at the plant. Jones began working at Digital Hub in 2007, the same year the company acquired a new manroland ROLAND 300 5-Color Press with coater and UV capabilities. The vast majority of the awards Digital Hub has captured have been in the offset category.
The manroland press, by itself, more than doubled the printer’s offset capacity and provided the press operators with an unprecedented degree of control over all aspects of printing set-up and operation--all from a single console, which they rarely have to leave. Jones had two primary missions in his new job: get the manroland press up to full capacity and spearhead a program that would dramatically reduce the printer’s VOC emissions.
The initiative to reduce VOC emissions involved a meticulous program of evaluating VOC-free vegetable-based inks and developing processes to use them efficiently. Jones said these inks are more expensive than the VOC-based products they replaced. However, the print quality that can be achieved with them is better. More importantly, a dramatic reduction in
VOCs at the plant has resulted in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce that has more than made up for the increased cost of inks.
Digital Hub has reduced VOCs by 94.7 percent. In 2008, it received the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Governor's Pollution Prevention Award. In 2010, Green America selected Digital Hub as one of the top ten Green Companies in America and the #1 Green Printing Company in North America. Those awards put Digital Hub on the radar screen of many high-end designers and advertising agencies that value environmental responsibility. An influx of high-end projects in 2010 allowed Digital Hub to capture even more print craft awards, which, in turn, led to more and better assignments in 2011, particularly for demanding offset work.
Pressman Mike Landa, who advocated for the manroland press, said he never had any doubts about what he could accomplish with a unique press that is so dependable that press checks are accomplished in six minutes on average. He said, “I have heard rumors that some customers come here with changes just to see for themselves how quickly we can do a press check.”
Landa said that the owners of the company Al Spoerlein and Chuck Anzilotti are fanatics when it comes to controlling register and color quality. They went with Landa’s recommendation to purchase the manroland press because it allows him the broadest range of flexibility to adjust settings and push the envelope for whatever their clients are trying to achieve.
Landa continued, “Some pressmen may be intimidated by all the control options available on a press like this. But those options have been put there for a reason and we want maximize every one of them. If changing oscillation by a quarter inch is going to benefit the job, we will try it out and see what happens. We are never satisfied.”
While the business opportunities Digital Hub is garnering from its increased level of recognition is regional, the recognition itself has been international. Michael Jones said that five of the PII Best of Category awards Digital Hub received in 2010 were entered in the PIA’s international Premier Print Awards competition. Of the 105 awards presented worldwide, 12 went to companies in the United States and 3 of those to the Midwest. All of them, including a prestigious “Benny” were awarded to Digital Hub.