As Primary Color prepares for its 30th anniversary later this year, the award-winning L.A. area printer has plenty to celebrate. An aggressive equipment investment plan devised by the Hirt family has generated solid results in the last five years. The company grew sales to an all-time high and boosted its payroll from 185 to over 300 employees to handle the influx of work, a truly impressive feat considering the state of the economy in 2009 and the highly competitive Southern California market.
The bold capital purchases included several unique presses, led by an 81” KBA Rapida 205 four-color UV sheetfed press. It handles the lion’s share of oversized work Primary Color does for its corporate base of national retail and restaurant chains, automotive, agency, corporate and entertainment clients. The press also necessitated an upgrade in the bindery department, which led to re-engaging with Colter & Peterson’s (www.papercutters.com) local office in Carson to install a 100” Harris-Seybold CJ paper cutter and Schneider Engineering automatic paper jogger.
“We always had small format paper cutters no larger than 54”. Two years ago, the electronics were going on one of them so we had a C&P Microcut® system installed,” recalls Ed Phillips, Primary Color’s print division manager in El Segundo where the new press, paper cutter and jogger reside. The company’s headquarters are based in Costa Mesa and they have other facilities in nearby Irvine and overseas in Shanghai, China.
“We’ve known them for 10 years and with the type of work being done on the KBA press, we needed a larger cutter. We did our homework, shopped and looked around, and C&P’s equipment had the correct electronics and ease of operation we were looking for. Based on the strength of our relationship, their product and service aspects, they were clearly our first choice.”
The 100” Seybold supports the KBA by handling pre- and post-trim litho, packaging, display and transit advertising work. With a 24/7 operation, the bindery runs two shifts averaging 16-20 hours per day so the cutter is living up to its workhorse reputation. A two-part strategy of installing the cutter last August and waiting until December for the paper loader worked out well, says Phillips.
“The installation process for both was seamless and clean. With the cutter, we needed one day of preparation to make room for it. The installer did his thing, went through all the options, and our guys were up and going with it the second day.”
Phillips uses two or three man crews to run his pair of cutters, which includes a smaller Polar 137. He says the Seybold is performing well, cutting maximum sheet size work of 59” x 80” that includes 80 lb. text weight up to 48 pt. board. It also handles some crossover work from two 40” Heidelberg eight-color presses.
“The Seybold cuts a variety of materials. We typically run between 500 to 20,000 sheets per job and that could be oversized signage, packaging and many different plastic products.”