• Popular fully-automated press is helping to drive in new customers from the pharmaceutical and short-run packaging markets
• Its high-end customer base of designers and ad agencies sees even more efficiencies, quicker turn times, and higher quality
• New press technology such as industry leading color control systems and simultaneous production processes yields 40% additional capacity
Ever since it was established in 1986, Cedar Graphics has had a firm focus on delivering high-end quality printing at its expansive Hiawatha, Iowa facility. But in today’s world of printing in which designers and ad agencies are constantly pushing the envelope with creative artwork, intricate four-color builds, and massive ink coverage, Cedar’s owners rely on their knowledgeable employees and array of advanced technology, including their Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106 LED perfector press, which anchors its pressroom.
“Our Rapida 106 four-over-four press has flat out knocked the socks off of our customers,” says Scott Burnett, production manager at Cedar Graphics. “Whether it be during tours from our annual Think to Ink open house, or during requested customer press checks, our customers all walk away impressed at how quickly the Rapida 106 press matches the desired color reference and how effortlessly the press reaches top speeds of up to 18.000 sph. Not only has this allowed us to continue to exceed our customers’ expectations, but word of mouth has spread and we have been contacted by new customers that we weren’t currently servicing.”
When the press was installed in 2017, it distinguished itself with ground-breaking automated features that have proven to provide Cedar with massive gains in productivity and additional capacity. “Our makeready times have decreased by 50% and we’ve seen a reduction in makeready stock by 35% to 40%,” says Burnett. “We’ve also been able to eliminate two shifts (four operators) and repurpose those employees in our digital pressroom, thus allowing us much needed capacity in that area.”
What else has the press given Cedar Graphics?
With a goal to offer complete customer satisfaction, the new Rapida 106 LED has allowed Cedar to enhance and improve on the markets and high-end customers that it serves. Its makeready technology advancements, like DriveTronic SPC, and QualiTonic in-line color control, lets Cedar gain even more efficiencies, quicker turn times, and higher quality to its customers. “We’re now driving in new customers from the pharmaceutical market to print on 40# stock to short run packaging in which we are printing on 24 pt. board,” says Burnett. “We accomplish this production by perfecting four-over-four at high end speeds up to a maximum of 18,000 sph.”
When asked which of the many features on press have helped Cedar the most, Burnett is quick to point out the Koenig & Bauer QualiTronic system and System Brunner. The QualiTronic system, he says, has amazing quick to color capabilities as well as the consistency of color from first sheet to last sheet. It is second to none, he adds.
In Burnett’s estimation, System Brunner Instrument Flight software is industry-changing technology. Never before has a printer been able to measure and control gray balance inline on press, he says. It measures every sheet for density, TVI (tone value increase), and gray balance. Instrument Flight then takes these measurements and will raise or lower the density in each color across the sheet to keep the press in perfect gray balance based on the standard the press operator has entered into the software. “Instrument Flight is an amazing color control software that gives us the ability to keep our print jobs in a completely higher level of control,” says Burnett. “It allows us to achieve and maintain true color at all times.”
“Our innovative brands and creative customers are always pushing the envelope for eye-catching or tactile coatings and varnish combinations,” says Justin McDonald, marketing director at Cedar Graphics. “Recently, we’ve been testing LED soft touch coating. With so many customers enjoying both the look and feel of soft touch coating on their printed material, we are always looking at improving this process in quality, durability, and turn time.”
Plus, the press has given Cedar the means to produce work that they couldn’t have done before. Recently, the firm received a very difficult print project for a catalog that contained four color gray builds both in the product itself and the background color as well, recalls Burnett. By utilizing the System Brunner Instrument Flight software on its Koenig & Bauer Rapida 106, Cedar’s skilled press operators were able to control color via gray balance and keep the four color gray builds looking consistent throughout the catalog. “Controlling color by density alone is something that would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, before,” he says