A very special event occurs when you arrive at Premier Printing in Winnipeg, Manitoba around 9 am every day. The entire production-floor staff gathers together, along with the management team. Continuous improvement practices are discussed by having daily employee meetings reviewing metrics, while awarding innovative employee improvements. All are “rowing the boat” so to speak, in the same direction. It’s a testament to process improvement and a breath of fresh air in our industry, said Heidelberg. “In the new, competitive world of printing, every opportunity for streamlining is investigated.”
Heidelberg added that it’s seeing ever-increasing variants in press configurations as well. More and more shops are buying equipment based on what their business data reveals. “It’s all in the numbers,” said the OEM. A case in point is Premier Printing’s most recent investment in a Speedmaster XL-106-4P Sheetfed Press – a highly automated press featuring AutoPlate Pro fully automated plate loading, Prinect Axis Control Spectral measuring device, and dynamic sheet brakes. The press is driven by the new Press Center XL featuring Intellistart 2 operating software, allowing for the “autonomous” processing of jobs at a speed upto 18,000 sheets per hour.
Premier Printing is a highly skilled and efficient manufacturer of school, college and university agendas, as well as general commercial printing. When “agenda” season hits, the shop must double production and meet extremely tight deadlines. This created a backlog on its current presses – a Speedmaster XL-106-10P, and a Speedmaster SM 74-8P+L. The company’s new Speedmaster press has filled the gap for the 2/2 signatures that are typical in this business. “AutoPlate Pro is a gift,” said Tom Bennet, Special Projects Manager at Premier Printing. “Agenda run lengths are 300 – 1,500 per form, so we’re performing up to 150 plate changes per day. Job changes on the 4P were as low as 1½ minutes. Keeping plates coming is the new challenge.”
Another major productivity improvement is the installation of a Heidelberg TH-82-P Stahlfolder with PFX Feeder. Capable of running signatures at 18,000 pieces per hour, this folder has doubled the amount of throughput in the shop’s busy finishing department. Ted Gortemaker, Operations Manager at Premier, added: “This new folder is a game-changer. Of all the areas in our plant, folding was the real bottleneck. The ease of operation, set-up and throughput is amazing. Watching skids of print disappear is stunning. Using the pallet feeding and Palamedis Stacking Table has greatly reduced the operator work level required.”
Premier Printing employs 80 full-time staff with up to 120 part-time staff joining in during ‘agenda’ season. The recent investment in leading edge, high-tech products from Heidelberg also allows for a better work/life balance that’s important to the management team at Premier Printing. “Our motto is Grow People and Serve the Customer,” Gortemaker said. “Happy employees will serve our customers better. Everyone wins.” Heidelberg added that it’s extremely proud to partner with such a successful and forward-thinking company.