New York’s UFT In-plant Sold on Prism Paper Cutter from Colter & Peterson

073016_colter_peterson_uftOscar Rivera (center) with operators Gabriel Rivera (left) and Steve Rodriguez next to their Colter & Peterson Prism paper cutter.

Days at the in-plant operation that Oscar Rivera manages for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) rival the bustling atmosphere of the shop’s environs in lower Manhattan. The Printing and Mail Department has transformed itself in the last decade, adding an array of equipment to handle an ever-increasing amount of work. The finishing department has benefitted as well, having installed a 32″ Prism paper cutter from Colter & Peterson earlier this year to help speed up the process of getting work out the door to over 200,000 members.

“The Prism is a workhorse for us,” says Rivera, who will mark 15 years as the operation’s production manager in November. “I remember the afternoon it was delivered. A flatbed truck pulls up with this heavy, 4,000-lb. cutter, and I thought it was going to be a big production. But they got it off the truck in a snap, and we were up and cutting the following morning.”

Rivera is quick to credit Rick Fassano, his local Colter & Peterson dealer at Summit Offset Service, for recommending the Prism paper cutter. Fassano had placed a 27″ Prism PC paper cutter last year at the New York Stock Exchange, a short walk from UFT’s offices.

“I’ve known Rick for 40 years when I first started in the industry as a hand typesetter, and before I moved into offset. He’s really good and always on time with getting equipment to us,” Rivera says. “Late last year, we were decommissioning an old Challenge, so we needed a new cutter. I spoke with Rick and he gave me some options to consider, but the Prism was at the top of his list.”

The 32″ Prism joins an impressive list of equipment at the UFT in-plant. In addition to web and sheetfed presses, the digital side includes various Konica Minolta bizhub presses for black and white and color work. Rivera and his team count on Epson Stylus, HP DesignJet and KIP wide format machines to handle the signage and large graphics work. With all of that firepower, the Prism gets a workout.

“The Challenge cutter wasn’t programmable and there was a lot of stopping and starting,” says Rivera, who manages a staff of 16. “The Prism is programmable and a better, more efficient product. We set the cut, cut it, and then go on to the next one. The table bed has air running under it to lift the paper, so it makes us much faster than before.

“We go full tilt every day. A lot of our work is done on 12″ x 18″ sheets that we trim down to 11″ x 17″. Business cards, letterhead, invitations, you name it. We print everything from a few hundred up to 265,000 per run, which includes the full UFT membership.”

As in any operation, Rivera’s team at times will experience busier than average periods.

“No two days are alike. Sometimes it looks like ants at a rainy picnic in here,” Rivera says. “Summer is our downtime, where we catch up on fill-in work. Once the school year begins in mid-August, the Prism cuts 40 to 50 jobs a day. We stay very busy until Thanksgiving, then do a lot of holiday related work until the end of the year.

“When everyone returns in early January, we go full tilt through the end of April. The first two weeks of May, we print many certificates of achievement, middle school promotional certificates and other recognition work.”

Most managers want what’s best for the team. For Rivera, there were other selling points to the Prism that have met all of his expectations.

“This cutter has made life easier for them. That’s great because they work very hard and stay busy with many other things, so we don’t usually have to worry about the Prism,” Rivera says. “It is a very quiet machine, and you rarely hear it.

“I also like the safety features. It has an electronic beam and some of our operators were tripping it by leaning forward as it was cutting. So the machine would just stop. Once they got used to it and changed their behavior, the team became even more productive.”

In-Plant Graphics magazine published a detailed profile of the UFT in-plant last year. Read it here.



New Paper Cutter Helps to Ramp Up Productivity at Adams Direct & Media Services

073115.adams_direct_&_media_servicesCesar Zuluga works on the new 31.5″ Prism paper cutter at Adams Direct & Media Services

Business has blossomed for Adams Direct & Media Services (East Hanover, NJ), and their direct mail side is attracting larger clients. That growth has triggered various equipment upgrades, including the purchase of a 30″ Prism® paper cutter from Colter & Peterson (Paterson, NJ) in 2012 and recently, a 31.5″ Prism from the same source.

“They handle all our paper work such as brochures, letters and postcards,” says Jesse James, president of Adams Direct. “We are a 100% digital operation with nine presses and no sheet size larger than 14″x 26″. Depending on the size of the run, we typically process anywhere from 500 to 100,000 pieces of mail.” The Prisms, he says, are working 10 hours a day now, “but in a couple of months they’ll be needed for two shifts, six days a week.”

James notes that his Prism cutters are already getting a workout every week, and he’s been impressed with the many benefits they have to offer.

“So far they have met all our expectations,” he says. “The Prisms are very reliable, easy to operate, and our operators like them. They change out the blades on a regular basis, and it doesn’t take long to do.” Both are outfitted with the Microcut® computer control system.

The Prism cutters also have wokflow automation features that increase productivity. Connected to the plant’s JDF network, the cutters can store up to 100 preset cuts. “This is a big thing for us,” says James. “Our first cutter could store only 10 presets. Where you notice the difference is in multiple jobs with multiple cuts. It saves us a tremendous amount of time.”

Nearly everything that Adams Direct produces is customized variable data printing, 95% of which is mailed. The shop also uses an on-site postal office to optimize postage savings for its clients.

James, who began working at Adams Direct in 1986, has guided the company for the last 20 years. Owned by Lillian and Allan Adams, it serves insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical clients in the Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey area, with some national accounts as well. Adams Direct also offers cross media marketing and fulfillment and kitting services.

Time is a hard thing for any shop to replace. It’s another reason why James chose Colter & Peterson, North America’s largest independent paper cutter distributor.

“Our business is very time sensitive and we can’t afford to be down in any department.” he says. It’s a tough industry and very competitive, so being late on a deadline because of equipment downtime is not an option. The fact that Colter &  Peterson is only 30 minutes from us was a huge factor. From a service point of view, they are very responsive and have always had our best interests in mind.”

Zenger Group Prepares for Productive Future with Speedmaster XL 106 Perfector from Heidelberg

030514.zengerboncraftFrom left, Zenger Group owners John Zenger, Joe Zenger, and Steve Zenger.

Zenger Group, Inc. reports the installation of a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 eight-color perfector with Prinect Axis Control at its new corporate headquarters and plant in Tonawanda, NY. The new press takes the place of an early-generation Speedmaster XL 105 at the Zenger Group’s Orchard Park, NY facility, one of three plants to be consolidated into the new facility.

“We wanted the fastest, most productive, most reliable full-size press available to serve as the centerpiece of our sheetfed operation at the new facility,” said Steve Zenger, president and CEO. “Heidelberg presses are the benchmark in terms of production speed, output, and print stability throughout the industry.”

Capable of production speeds up to 18,000 sph in straight or perfecting mode, and with effective quality assurance via the Prinect Axis Control color measurement system, the new Speedmaster XL 106 will significantly increase Zenger Group’s capacity and broaden the scope of its manufacturing capabilities. Central control of the pressroom is managed via Prinect Pressroom Manager.

Zenger Group has been a leader and an innovative force in the western New York’s printing industry for more than 30 years.

Prospect Printing Adds Digital Capacity with Linoprint 751 from Heidelberg


From left: Dan Dibble, Angela Halloran, Matt Pryor, Michele Muccino, Mark Deloia (owner), Anthony Bracco (owner), Mike Ambrose (owner), Frank Segui, and Daryl Canuzzi.

Prospect Printing, LLC (Prospect, CT) has installed a Linoprint C751 with inline bookletmaker from Heidelberg to take advantage of higher margins on the short-run and variable data jobs it hopes to attract, based on the new machine’s fast turnaround and less expensive setup capabilities. “Being able to say ‘yes’ with confidence to short-run, quick-turn job requests alleviates a lot of stress for us,” said Anthony Bracco, a founding partner of the business. “Plus, our operators love it.”

Already running static jobs from one to 1,500 sheets on the new digital press, the company is quickly ramping up its variable data expertise. With annual sales in the $2.3 million range, Prospect Printing serves customers throughout the Northeast. The Linoprint C751 is the company’s first digital machine.


Ryan Printing Moves from 29″ to 40″ Production by Installing a Speedmaster CX 102

022614.RYAN_PRINTINGAl Ryan, president of Blauvelt Printing, at the company’s new Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 offset press.

The installation of a five-color Heidelberg Speedmaster CX 102 press with Inpress Control, aqueous coater, and extended delivery earlier this month marked a watershed moment for Ryan Printing (Blauvelt, NY). The new press heralds the one-shift operation’s transition from a half- to a full-size shop with competitive firepower to spare.

“Before the installation, we were thinking of adding a second shift based on rising volume, but the speed (16,500 sph) and productivity of the CX 102 has made that unnecessary,” said Al Ryan, president. “We’ll be sticking with a five-day, single-shift operation with occasional weekend work. We’re confident we’ll be able to compete effectively by doing what we’ve always done: expanding our capabilities, extending our print market with the 40″ press, and providing great customer service.”

Ryan said that the new Speedmaster CX 102, which takes the place of a five-color, 29” Speedmaster CD 74, had its work cut out from the moment it went online. “We already had enough work for it, so keeping it busy isn’t a problem.”

At the same time, he said, “we’ve realized savings on the order of 50% to 70%, thanks to the Prinect Inpress Control inline closed-loop color management system which drives down our makeready time to 10 minutes, enables us to get to precise LAB matching color in under 200 sheets, and substantially reduces our consumption of ink and paper. Our bindery operations have been streamlined by being able to cut larger sheets of printed material and folding larger signatures.”

Thanks also to the cartridge-based InkStar ink supply, the company enjoys the benefits of fully automated ink feeding and reduced startup times by eliminating the need to skin ink cans prior to filling the fountain. The additional benefits of less wasted ink and continuous monitoring of ink levels through the Prinect Press Center Console ensure the highest quality without sacrificing the ability to change inks flexibly.

The addition of the Speedmaster CX 102 also will enable Ryan Printing to expand its packaging business. Not only will the company gain tremendous flexibility in handling substrates from lightweight paper to 40-pt. board stock, but Prinect Inpress Control will keep brand colors consistent and reduce waste to a minimum, advancing the company to a higher level of production capability.

“We’ve always manufactured some packaging materials like boxes, bottle-neckers, and window signage,” Ryan said, “but we are now into it seriously and consider folding cartons a strong growth area. The Speedmaster CX 102 is a robust, flexible press for the wide variety of high-quality commercial and packaging printing jobs our customers demand.”

In choosing the Speedmaster CX 102, Ryan Printing also has strengthened its commitment to environmental protection, based on the low energy usage, resource efficiency, and long service life that make the Speedmaster CX 102 the most environmentally friendly press in its class.

The CX 102 is ideal for reduced-alcohol and alcohol-free printing, while color measuring systems such as Prinect Inpress Control reduce paper waste on average by 200 up to 400 sheets per print job and lower the level of CO2 emissions. In addition, environmentally friendly cloth blanket wash-up devices use water and solvent to reduce the overall amount of solvent used, yielding savings of up to 90%.

Citing double-digit revenue growth from year-to-year and $7.5 million in current annual sales, Al Ryan attributes his company’s 20-year record of industry-leading service and quality to a combination of smart investment and top-notch customer service. “We give our customers what they want, when they want it,” Ryan said. “People are happy with us, and that yields more work for us as we add capabilities.”

Sandy Alexander Sets A World Benchmark by Installing Its Third HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press

Sandy Alexander (Clifton, NJ) has become the first print company in the world to purchase and install three HP Indigo 10000 Digital Presses.

Sandy Alexander was one of the first companies to install the 29″ HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press as a beta customer in 2012. After a successful beta test, the company decided to purchase the press to transform its offerings and provide the capacity needed to support new programs for its clients in the automotive, pharmaceutical, financial, and travel industries.

In June 2013, Sandy Alexander added a second HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press to meet growing demand for the larger sheet size and support its expanding capabilities in one-to-one marketing. Now, Sandy Alexander has purchased a third HP Indigo Digital Press to increase marketing and variable data printing capabilities.

“The success of several of our ongoing loyalty and acquisition campaigns led to increased demand for personalized print output in the larger sheet size,” stated Rob Mayerson, general manager of Sandy Alexander’s Digital Solutions Division. “In a few cases, we found our agency clients designing communications specifically for the HP Indigo 10000, further leading to increased demand and a call for capacity.”

Sandy Alexander is a leading direct marketing and commercial print provider for companies across the U.S. Sandy Alexander has an unwavering focus on color consistency and quality, making the HP Indigo 10000 a perfect match. With three digital presses the company will increase its digital output, offering faster turnaround to customers, and providing more digital print with high-quality color matching and effects like white ink and raised print.

“In this competitive marketplace, we strive relentlessly to help our clients maximize the effectiveness of their marketing efforts,” said Mike Graff, CEO and president of Sandy Alexander. “The ability to leverage the larger sheet size in combination with superior quality and data driven personalization has been a true differentiator. It has opened the door to even deeper relationships with Fortune 500 clients in the automotive, retail, luxury goods and travel industries.”

Book Manufacturer G&H Soho Stays Sharp with New Accutrim HD1680 Three-Knife Trimmer from Colter & Peterson

021414.g&h_sohoJim Harris, president of G&H Soho, and lead operator Lynley Bernstein with their new Accutrim HD1680 three-knife trimmer from Colter & Peterson.

Now in their 29th year at G&H Soho Inc., Jim Harris and Gerry Burstein have experienced all the highs and lows of owning a business in the printing industry. The Elmwood Park, NJ, shop has always operated in the New York City metro area, and today, business for the niche book printer is certainly on the upswing.

Last month, to better handle the influx of hardcover, paperback, spiral, and saddlestitched work, G&H Soho became one of the first shops in the metro market to install a new Accutrim HD1680, a fast, efficient, and flexible three-knife trimmer from Colter & Peterson. They also bought a POLAR 66 reconditioned paper cutter from C&P to cut book covers and jackets.

“Since we purchased the three-knife trimmer and paper cutter, we’ve booked so much new work,” says Harris, president of G&H Soho. “After nearly 30 years, we know the book business. It’s in our DNA.”

Harris also knows how important it is to seize the moment when business is good. His father and uncle began the business as Ganis and Harris in 1946. Burstein started Soho Studio in 1971. Harris and Burstein decided to combine companies in 1985, becoming one of the first providers in the metro area to use digital information for producing bound galleys on the Xerox DocuTech production publishing system. Business was booming, and the company moved to Hoboken, NJ.

Belt-tightening and DocuTech work helped G&H Soho to survive tough times in 2001 when, on the same day, two major clients informed Harris that they were taking advantage of cheaper rates in India for typesetting books. The company survived the recession of 2008-2009 only to see the bottom fall out in 2010. The turning point for today’s renaissance came in May 2102 with a decision to move from Hoboken to the company’s present 12,500-sq.-ft. facility in Elmwood Park. Five months later, Hoboken was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

G&H Soho is now a complete digital shop. An HP Indigo press handles color books, color inserts, and both paperback and hardcover covers. There’s also an Océ press for black-and-white text and a Horizon 270 perfect binder. Harris says the average run length is 100 to 300 copies with the occasional longer run of 2,000 copies. The work consists primarily of 6″ x 9″, 7″ x 10″, and 8″ x 11″ books for academic and university publishers and individuals.

What sets G&H Soho apart from other digital book printers is the willingness to print non-standard sizes and customize books to satisfy their clients. The shop is humming, running 15 hours a day during the week with a 10-hour shift on Saturday. Harris says he plans to hire more employees this year, perhaps sooner than he expected.

Last September, however, Harris and Burstein discovered that they had a problem in their bindery department.

“We had a bottleneck when it came time to trim the books,” Harris says. “As we got busier, our people began competing for time with the existing paper cutters. We needed a solution to make our situation significantly better.”

At the time, Paterson, NJ-based Colter & Peterson—North America’s largest independent distributor of paper cutters and paper handling equipment—had just introduced the Accutrim HD1680. User friendly, it offers a maximum book thickness of 3.5″ with trim sizes from 3.15″ x 3.15″ to 11.8″ x 16.5″. Its computer controlled makeready permits through feed or one-man operation, and it has a slew of benefits that are usually not associated with off-line, on-demand three-knife trimmers.

“Until I saw it, I originally thought it had too many moving parts and would be down too often,” Harris says. “I was surprised that this was not the case, and it has proven to be a very productive machine with a relatively easy changeover to go from 6″ x 9″ to 7″ x 10″ or 8″ x 11″ or any size in between.” He adds that the trimmer’s two-year warranty for parts was another key factor in the decision.

The Accutrim HD1680’s 5º swing angle lets operators make the highest quality cuts and reduce wear and tear while extending the life cycle of the knife. Minor format changeovers typically take less than one minute, and complete format changes can be made in less than three minutes—another important consideration for the G&H Soho team.

The Accutrim HD1680 is doing 80% of the book trimming at G&H Soho. “We’re having a great time,” Harris says. “In addition to our regular publishing clientele, we are now printing books for professional photographers and galleries in New York City. We’re also utilizing our warehouse space and doing fulfillment work. We’ve been able to expand our services and client base at the same time. I feel pretty confident about the future of books and the long term success of our company.”


Heidelberg Executives Visit Long Island Trade Printer


AllColorVisit.smLeft to right, Thomas Cummings, Heidelberg USA; Steven Bogue, Operations Manager, All Color Business Specialties; Dr. Gerold Linzbach, CEO Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, William Bogue, Owner, All Color Business Specialties, Ltd.; Robin Karpp, Investor Relations, Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG; and Harald Weimer, President, Heidelberg USA.

All Color Business Specialties, Ltd.,  recently hosted Dr. Gerold Linzbach, CEO of Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG, and Harald Weimer, President of Heidelberg USA, at its facility in Deer Park, NY. The company, a mainstay of the local market, followed up its May 2013 installation of a Speedmaster XL 75 with a new Suprasetter 106 CtP device, and a Linoprint C751 digital printing system. Founded in 1959, All Color provides a broad range of services to the trade, including prepress, printing, binding and finishing, and mailing. The company counts eight other Heidelberg presses, multiple Stahlfolders, ST 90 and ST 100 saddlestitchers, two POLAR cutters, and a pair of Heidelberg die cutters. Workflow components include Prinect Business Manager (MIS), Prinect Prepress Manager, and Prinect Pressroom manager to promote maximum efficiency, optimal quality, and high profit potential. “It cannot be a coincidence that our success has grown by partnering with Heidelberg,” said company owner William Bogue.

Sandy Alexander Brings Second HP Indigo 10000 On Line, Expanding Its Capabilities in 1:1 Marketing

June 18Sandy Alexander (Clifton, NJ), a leading direct mail and commercial print provider, announced today that it has concurrently brought on line its second HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press while also expanding its capabilities in 1:1 marketing.

Sandy Alexander was one of the original beta sites for the HP Indigo 10000 and the first in the U.S. to be operational with the new press.  Since the system is primarily used for 1:1 marketing / variable data printing campaigns, the company also has expanded its team of experts and its capabilities in variable data composition, data management, and custom workflows.

“The demand for the new, larger sheet size provided by the HP Indigo 10000 in combination with our variable data printing capabilities has been phenomenal,” said Mike Graff, CEO and president of Sandy Alexander. “The HP Indigo 10000 allows us to transform our offerings, created by the unique combination of format size and image quality. That capability in combination with our industry-leading 1:1 and cross marketing capabilities lets us support new programs for our Fortune 500 clients in the automotive, retail, financial and travel industries.”

The HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press is the first B2-format (29.5″ x 20.9″) sheetfed solution from HP Indigo.  According to Graff, combining the new sheet size with expanded content management offerings enables clients to more easily implement and manage personalized communications with highly targeted messaging.

“This has provided our clients with increased creativity and efficiency and has resulted in more impactful marketing campaigns,” he said.  “This has generated a competitive advantage in the marketplace for our clients while also dramatically increasing their marketing ROI.”

The two HP Indigo 10000 Digital Presses are complemented by an HP Indigo W7200 digital web press and an HP Indigo 7000 sheetfed press. The company has also applied its proprietary cross-platform color management solutions to these systems.

Sandy Alexander Inc. is the largest independently owned, high-end commercial graphics communications company in the nation, serving the needs of Fortune 500 companies and many other enterprises from coast to coast.  Sandy Alexander’s broad array of services ranges from digital solutions, sheetfed and web capabilities, webs with in-line finishing and personalization, and wide- and grand-format printing for retail visual merchandising.

Sandy Alexander is also a leader in protecting the environment with 100% wind energy; Sustainable Green Partnership (SGP) certification; carbon-neutral facilities for digital, wide- and grand-format production; and tri-certification for chain-of-custody paper.

For more information, call Doug Hazlett at (973) 470-8100 or visit

To B2 or Not To B2? Sandy Alexander Says ‘Yes’ in Its Beta Test of an HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press

At the HP Indigo 10000 in beta test at Sandy Alexander are Rob Mayerson (left), vice president and general manager, and Mike Graff, president and CEO.

B2-format digital presses were the talk of drupa, and many in the industry are still speculating about where these platforms fit into the scope of commercial print production. But, Sandy Alexander (Clifton, NJ) isn’t paying heed to the rumor mill—it’s weighing the merits of B2 digital printing for itself by beta-testing one of the most advanced examples of the technology.

The test case is an HP Indigo 10000, a 29.5″ x 20.9″ sheetfed press that HP introduced at drupa and plans to make commercially available this year. Sandy Alexander has been working with the machine since October, becoming one of four sites in the U.S. where beta testing is taking place.

The company expects to acquire the machine when testing concludes in March. If all continues to go well, a second HP Indigo 10000 may be on its way to Sandy Alexander’s digital press department as the company gears up to meet what it says is a rising demand from its customers for variable-data printing in color.

For Sandy Alexander—a full-spectrum provider of graphic communications services with a history of being first to test emerging production techniques—early adoption of digital printing in B2 format was a predictable step forward.

The company, which also offers sheetfed and web offset litho and grand-format printing, has been running digital presses for five years, settling on the HP Indigo platform as the solution that best meets its high-end quality requirements. But over time, those requirements began to outgrow the 13″ x 19″ sheet size that, until recently, represented the largest format that most sheetfed digital presses were capable of printing.

A B2 press, on the other hand, can print eight 8.5″ x 11″ pages in duplex, four to a side—a format that gives commercial printers the flexibility they need. That makes B2 the “logical layout” in variable-data digital output for the commercial market, according to Mike Graff, president and CEO of Sandy Alexander.

“It would be naïve to think that 1:1 marketing could be constrained to a four-page product,” he says. To expand into B2, Graff decided to replace a pair of existing HP Indigo 7000s with the HP Indigo 10000 he currently is testing and, depending on discussions now in progress with HP, a second installation of the machine.

One of the HP Indigo 7000s has been retired, and one remains. To help Sandy Alexander maintain digital capacity while the new B2 press comes fully online, the manufacturer has temporarily provided an HP Indigo W7200 web press that will fill any gaps in production until the second HP Indigo 10000 comes in. HP also is supporting the transition by providing an Indigo technician from the factory in Israel to monitor the testing.

Being in the vanguard of B2-format digital printing is “not for the faint of heart,” acknowledges Rob Mayerson, vice president and general manager in charge of digital operations at Sandy Alexander. Nevertheless, testing has progressed to a point where the press now is printing its first live job, a variable-data project running in batches of about 10,000 sheets per day.

Those who have seen the results are enthusiastic, and the kudos are coming not only from personnel at Sandy Alexander. “Customers would like us to be beyond beta” with the HP Indigo 10000, says Douglas Hazlett, vice president of sales and marketing. “They are lining up.”

Industrywide, most of what goes into digital production consists of static output. The HP Indigo 10000 at Sandy Alexander, however, is intended largely if not exclusively for variable-data printing. The company is so committed to reserving the device for VDP, says Mayerson, that it has installed an additional offset press—a six-color Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52 perfector— “to take the static out of here.”

With VDP, Sandy Alexander can offer its customers printing that lets them leverage what they know about the consumers who are buying products and services from them. Print customized with 1:1 content generates response rates that static promotions can only dream about—as high as 30% in some cases, Hazlett says.

Sandy Alexander produces VDP-enhanced materials for automotive, fashion, cosmetic, and retail accounts. Clients furnish the data through a custom content management system that lets them create templated documents, update text and images, and manage their projects in real time. This channel for client input “is as important to the selling proposition as the iron,” Mayerson says.

The result is printing that drives behaviors and triggers outcomes by responding to specific consumer preferences and requests. “Hand-raisers”—expressions of interest culled from web sites and other sources—can be translated into brochures and other pieces that deliver precisely what the end-user wants to see.

Tens, hundreds, or thousands of pieces customized in this way can be printed in the same run on Sandy Alexander’s HP Indigo 10000. Thanks to the 1:1 power of VDP, says Mayerson, “we don’t send you anything that you don’t ask for”—a  benefit that adds value to variable output and enables VDP producers to charge a premium for it.

The VDP-capable HP Indigo 10000 can print in B2 format (29.5” x 20.9”) in up to seven colors at about 1,700 sph (4/4).

Mayerson says that the B2 platform on which this proposition rests is now running on two shifts at speeds of about 1,700 sheets per hour, 4/4, on both coated and uncoated stocks. He points out that because the B2 sheet offers more than twice the printing area of a 13” x 19” sheet, printing the larger format at the same speed increases productivity in proportion.

Like all Indigo presses, the HP Indigo 10000 is an electrophotographic device that uses a printing fluid dubbed “ElectroInk” by HP. Sandy Alexander’s press can run up seven colors of ElectroInk, including Hexachrome, spot colors, and white. For the moment, production is limited to CMYK, fully color-managed with the company’s offset and grand-format processes. The press is soon to receive a field upgrade that will enable it to handle stocks as thick as 18 pt.

A press as formidable as the HP Indigo 10000 “is not meant for someone who dabbles,” says Mayerson, who had to raise the ceiling in the digital pressroom before bringing it in. The machine is heavy enough to need a reinforced floor, and it has temperature-control requirements as well.

Although, as a half-size color press, the HP Indigo 10000 conceivably could take work away from the equipment in the company’s offset pressroom, that kind of job migration isn’t likely to occur. That objective was “very, very secondary” in the decision to install the press, says Mayerson, noting that the machine “was not purchased as a cost-saving device to replace offset.”  There would have been scant ROI, he adds, in paying what the company had to pay for its HP Indigo 10000 just to gain a little production efficiency.

Besides, the two processes can be teamed profitably in projects like the car owner’s information kit that Sandy Alexander produces for one of its automotive customers. Here, the mailing envelope and the portfolio enclosure are printed on litho equipment. Digital printing customizes the diecut, tabbed, and wire-bound booklet inside the portfolio.

The company’s advance into B2 digital production is in keeping with its policy of making continuous technical progress on multiple fronts. Among its other innovations, Sandy Alexander was one of the first printers to use gray balance as a technique for controlling color on press. It also served as a beta test site for GRACoL G7 certification, and it was the first printer in the East to install an eight-unit litho press.

“If you stand still, you are guaranteed not to succeed,” says Graff. Pioneering new methods of solving problems for Sandy Alexander’s customers is “just the fabric of the company,” he says.