(l to r) From Foster Printing, Kris Blackburn, VP of sales; Tim Blackburn, president; and Dennis Blackburn, CEO; with KBA sales manager Marcus Schoen.
KBA North America announces that Foster Printing Company, a large-format trade printer based in Santa Ana, California, will be installing a KBA Rapida 205 81-inch large format six-color UV press in October 2012. The new press, the largest in the world, joins two current KBA large format 64-inch presses—a five-color conventional and a six-color UV—at the firm’s 46,000 sq ft facility.
“Over the last four years we have seen tremendous growth in our business,” says Kris Blackburn, vice president of sales at Foster Printing Company. “Sales over the past year and a half have been especially good to us. Due to this growth, we have been considering the purchase of a third KBA press—the Rapida 205 81-inch press—for over three years but really started to focus on it over the last 12 months. We constantly had customers asking if we could print anything larger than our 64-inch capabilities. Those customers, along with solid research into new potential customers, pushed us to finally decide on making this important purchase.”
Providing the highest quality service to its client base was one of the main reasons that Foster inked the contract for the new Rapida 205. “This press installation gives us capabilities that our competitors do not have,” says Blackburn. “It gives us the ability to print on the largest sheet size offered on any offset press in the world. We will now be able to service all of our customers offset printing needs. We plan to capitalize on the ability to print multiple forms for customers--some that may fit our 64-inch KBA presses and others that fit our 81-inch press. This will enable one project with many different forms to be printed under one roof. It will also give us an advantage in productivity by being able to go multiple up on the Rapida 205 81” press where we would only be able to go one-up on the 64-inch press. This will help with faster turnarounds on larger quantity orders. It will also help us run multiple forms on one sheet, eliminating the need for additional set-ups and make readies.”
When the new press arrives in the fall, it will take its place beside both KBA 64-inch large-format presses that now sit side-by-side in the state-of-the-art 46,000 sq ft facility. The newest Rapida 205 81-inch will join the current two Rapida 64-inch presses with it’s own color management consol as well as the KBA Densitronic Professional closed-loop color control system that provides the best quality and repeatability available, says Blackburn. All of the presses will communicate to the KBA Logotronic management system to provide up-to-the-minute data on jobs, workflow, throughput, and quality.
Having moved to a new larger facility last year, the firm has the space to facilitate the new press addition as well as peripheral equipment. This includes a new fully-automated platesetter for the computer-to-plate department giving Foster the ability to produce both 64-inch and 81-inch plates; and a new automated cutting system. “All of these purchases feature automated systems that will help us turn jobs quickly from pre-production, to press, to post-production,” says Blackburn. “Key to allowing this type of growth was the move to our new facility. It has been wonderful and has allowed us to grow our business even more. We have the space to facilitate this addition and keep our work flow productive and efficient.”
Foster’s continued success depends on catering to its current market of finishing houses, brokers, agencies, and small format printers with fast turnaround and a clear understanding of its customers’ business. “We pride ourselves on our service and ability to meet their tight deadlines,” says Blackburn. “Having the five-color conventional press and the six-color UV press provides us with the flexibility to perform for our customers. We’ve seen a lot of growth in our UV business and we see that continuing with the addition of the 81-inch press.”
Blackburn feels that the new press will allow the firm to continue to add new customers as well as additional work from existing clientele. “We anticipate that the Rapida 205 will open up new doors of opportunity for us with new customers as well as allowing our current customers to bring all of their work to one shop,” he says. “We also plan to expand our sales positioning to other parts of the United States, not just Southern California. I feel very strongly that given the opportunity to print for a new customer, they will become a customer for life. When customers think of Foster Printing, they use adjectives such as customer-oriented, friendly, easy-to-work-with, understanding of their job, and quality. We are very confident in our pricing and service, and with the help of our new KBA presses, our quality is superb. We envision that our new KBA press will only add to our current growth for years to come.”