(l to r) Walt Baker, production manager; Lynn Nelson, owner; and Curtis Carnahan, press operator with AlphaGraphics’ new Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor press
Sometimes the solution to a problem stares you in the face, daring you to act. Until recently, such was the case with an Alphagraphics franchise in Idaho Falls, ID, which has since mapped out a clear path to growth with the installation of a fast, flexible Speedmaster SM 52 Anicolor press.
As a relative newcomer to offset printing two-and-a-half years ago, Alphagraphics ran a 2-color, small-format Printmaster QM 46 press, but subbed out its 4-color work to an out-of-state printer and “hated it,” according to owner Lynn Nelson.
To rectify the situation, the six-year-old company brought in a used, non-Heidelberg, 4-color press, and promptly began having what Nelson refers to as “vendor issues.”
“We couldn’t grow with it because we didn’t have adequate service and support,” he explained. That press was on its way out when a lightbulb flashed and Nelson recalled his company’s experience with its existing QM 46-2.
“We first were introduced to Heidelberg service when we acquired the 2-color Printmaster QM 46,” he said. “I remembered being very impressed with the way Heidelberg service techs stayed with a job until it was finished, and by the fact that they followed up on service calls to make sure everything was operating properly. That really sold me on Heidelberg.”
In addition to the certainty of staunch support, what subsequently “sold” Nelson on a 4-color Speedmaster SM 52 with Anicolor inking unit was the fast turnaround, low makeready waste, and the option to produce longer runs as the business grew.
“We’re already up to color in less than 50 sheets with this press, and its potential use goes way beyond the short-run sector. It gives us room to grow,” he said.
Alphagraphics’ new SM 52 Anicolor comes equipped with AutoPlate plate-changing system and extended stock range capabilities for a wider range of applications. The company recently processed its first packaging order—a pill bottle carton—and plans to grow its footprint in the short-run, boutique packaging market. Thanks to the even, consistent application of ink made possible by Anicolor technology, in combination with Prinect color management from Heidelberg, “We’re very happy with the quality,” Nelson said.
With the new press in production for la little over one month, Alphagraphics’ operators “love the SM 52 Anicolor,” Nelson said. Equally as important, he noted, “We are now competitive against both digital and traditional small-format offset, as well as more flexible for longer runs.”
The company is preparing for its growth spurt in other ways, too; notably, by installing a Stahlfolder USA B20 folder with right-angle attachment that can handle larger sheets and boasts in-line creasing capability, as well as POLAR 78Xplus cutter to replace a worn-out competitive machine.
Specializing in fast-turn commercial printing, Alphagraphics is on a clear path to growth. The company, which is active primarily in the healthcare, banking and finance, and agricultural markets, recorded sales of $1.6 million last year, up from $1 million in 2010, and is on pace to reach $2.3 million in 2012.