MLP USA Inc.

Memphis Printer Installs Two Mitsubishi 40-Inch Sheeted Presses

HOT Graphics & Printing, Inc. is getting off to a great start in 2012 with the installation of two Mitsubishi 40-inch sheeted presses. The $5 million-plus commercial printer installed a 10-color Diamond 3000R convertible perfector and a six-color Diamond 3000S straight press at its recently expanded, 37,000-square-foot printing plant.

The 10-color perfecting press prints and coats both sides of the sheet at once. It features individual coating towers located after the fifth and 10th printing units. The drying package combines interstation infrared/cold-air and ultraviolet (UV) curing units. The six-color straight press is equipped with an aqueous coater.

"Differentiating ourselves from the competition is critical in our intensely competitive industry," said Danny Wynne, assistant production manager of the Memphis, Tenn.-based firm. "When we began researching perfectors, we knew we wanted a minimum of eight colors to print process colors on the front and back of the sheet. The configuration of the Diamond 3000R enables five colors plus coating over five colors plus coating for special effects using conventional and UV inks and coatings. This press is the first of its kind within a fairly large radius. There isn't another one like it between Memphis and Jackson, MS, or Little Rock, AR."

Wynne's grandfather launched the business in 1964 as House of Typography with two Monotype machines capable of setting four lines of type a minute. A Linotype machine later was added to accommodate the increasing volume of typesetting work. In 1989, House of Typography bought its first press so it could typeset and print jobs for customers. The name change to HOT Graphics & Printing in 1991 reflected more accurately the course the company had pursued.

Today, HOT Graphics & Printing produces typical commercial fare, along with labels, manuals, DVD sleeves and inserts. The full-service print shop has a workforce of more than 40 employees and a service portfolio that emphasizes printing, binding, mailing and fulfillment. Its diverse customer base ranges from manufacturers to gaming establishments to agencies.

HOT Graphics & Printing made major facility improvements in advance of the Mitsubishi presses' delivery. An addition constructed in 2011 and originally intended to warehouse incoming and outgoing supplies became the new pressroom.

"We needed to keep our existing presses running while the Mitsubishi presses were being installed," Wynne noted. "The space was organized in such a way as to create a more efficient workflow from prepress to press to postpress."

HOT Graphics & Printing plans to remove a six-color, 28-inch press, a six-color, 40-inch press and a five-color, 40-inch perfector from different press manufacturers.

"We printed many impressions and built our business on those presses, but they dated from the mid-1990s," Wynne pointed out. "The Mitsubishi presses give us better speed and automation to meet the needs of our current customers."

The Diamond 3000R surely differentiates HOT Graphics & Printing and pushes the technology envelope.

"We always wanted to move into UV printing," Wynne explained. "Because the Diamond 3000R allows us to run conventional or UV ink and aqueous or UV coating, we can branch out into other geographic areas and high-end product types that we hadn't been able to in the past. The Diamond 3000R's ability to print on synthetic substrates and apply chemical-resistant coatings will help us develop our label business."

The company's previous experience with perfected printing mainly involved printing labels one-over-four and two-over-three using paper. The 10-color Mitsubishi perfector offers a significant competitive edge.

"The press prints solid ink coverage with minimal dot gain and very clear images," Wynne said. "The ceramic jackets on the impression cylinders after the perfecting unit and the UV drying on both sides of the sheet eliminate marking issues. Sheets also are dry in the delivery of the press and ready for the bindery. That boosts productivity and cuts turnaround times on short-run and long-run jobs. The benefit is twice the amount of work with the same number of people."

Wynne said HOT Graphics & Printing has held discussions with agencies on how they might take advantage of the double coaters.

"The Diamond 3000R is perfect for UV Soft Touch coating and spot gloss UV coating," he said. "Agencies can achieve some amazing design effects with this press."

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