After 10 years of upgrading their sheetfed, postpress and prepress departments to grow the company, Simpsons Printing of Rapid City, South Dakota, recently purchased Versafire CP and Versafire CV digital presses from Heidelberg.
First Time Loving Digital
After reaching capacity with their previous digital presses, Simpsons Printing needed a digital solution that would allow them to grow their shop as well as lower their costs. With the addition of the Versafire CP and Versafire CV, Simpsons Printing was able to quadruple their output easily from their less efficient technology.
A huge selling point of the Versafires for Simpsons Printing was the Prinect Digital Front End (DFE) on both presses. Achieving this through Heidelberg’s color management and renderers (both tried and tested in offset printing), the Prinect DFE enables print production to be automated and standardized for excellent efficiency, greater transparency, and a faster job flow.
However, their big driving force for switching to the Versafires was their need for excellent image quality. Being a G7 master facility, Simpsons Printing was trained by Heidelberg to achieve consistent color quality. With their previous digital presses, the print shop was incapable of completing consistent sheet to sheet color or registration
“Before the Versafires, our registration was all over the place,” said Jon Simpson, Vice President of Simpsons Printing. “Working with primarily offset presses, it was hard for us to get used to the inconsistency of digital presses. However, watching demonstrations of the Versafires and seeing their sheet to sheet registration was a huge selling point to us. We’ve had the press for 6 months now, and it’s outstanding.”
While quality might have been top priority, Simpsons Printing has also seen improvements in operating costs and reruns. Simpsons Printing is also able to better satisfy customers by printing on unconventional material like pressure sensitive vinyl and synthetics.
“With our old digital presses, we would take many print jobs off of the digital press and just do them on our offset presses instead,” said Simpson. “Now, we can be more confident with our digital print jobs. This increases our productivity, which allows us to take in more jobs and continue growing.”
10 Years of Upgrades
Before the installations of the two Versafires, Simpsons Printing went through a huge upgrade over the last 10 years in their offset, prepress, and postpress departments. They currently have a Speedmaster 74-6P+L, a Printmaster QM 46 and PM 52, a Stitchmaster, a Stahlfolder B 26, two POLAR cutters, and a new Suprasetter CtP using ND 100 plates.
Their first large investment was the Speedmaster SM 74, which was a huge improvement from their older, less efficient offset press. With the new equipment, Simpsons was able to make a large impact in decreasing their waste and improving production speed. As the output increase in their sheetfed department, Simpsons was ready to boost their postpress department. Compared to their older equipment, Simpsons Printing increased their finishing speeds by 2-3 times.
“We look at purchasing new postpress equipment as a big sign of growth,” said Simpson. “It means that we are increasing production, and we need more postpress equipment to keep up.”
On the prepress side, Simpsons was able to reduce their square footage, ecological footprint, and extra costs with a Suprasetter A 52/75. Installing the Suprasetter together with using Saphira ND 100 plates has allowed them to get rid of their dark room, processor, all chemistry, and water.
“The ND 100 plates are outstanding, and we were able to move our closed off prepress department, so it is now sitting next to our digital department,” said Simpsons.
Heidelberg Has Us Covered
While most upgrades were brand new machines, Simpsons Printing also bought a few pieces of used equipment as well. When it came to the used presses, Heidelberg was still on Simpsons Printing side with the installation process.
“It’s amazing how Heidelberg’s service still installed our used Heidelberg equipment,” said Simpson. “They went to the shop we were buying it from, uninstalled it, shipped it, and then installed it here until it was running efficiently.”