By Cassandra Balentine
Publishing is one segment of the printing industry especially suited for the use of high-speed production inkjet technology. By offering the benefits of digital with faster speeds, continuous inkjet solutions are an attractive option for print providers focused on book production.
Gasch Printing is a publishing-focused digital print service provider that credits its success to its attention to technology trends. From a small analog shop to a bustling digital printer, the company has continuously evolved its equipment arsenal to remain productive and effective within its niche.
A Little History
In the beginning of 1982, Doug and Linda Gasch started a print operation out of its 100 square foot basement. With a small, one-color duplicator, the shop operated with minimal equipment and stress. However, as the industry changed, Gasch faced several challenges, including almost closing their doors for good.
In 2002, Linda and Doug’s son, Doug Gasch Jr., took over the operations and began moving the company towards digital printing, making strategic equipment investments when needed.
A turning point came in 2006, when the small shop teamed up with BrightKey, a warehouse and distribution company that wanted to partner with a print provider to cater to its publishing and association customers. Far from its basement years, today Gasch Printing is located in Odenton, MD, inside of a joint location with BrightKey where it provides publishers with print, warehouse, and fulfillment services under one roof.
A Lot of Digital
Gasch Printing keeps its shop lean and effective by investing heavily in automation throughout every phase of production.
The company’s first foray into digital came in 2006 with the investment in a Xerox Nuvera 120 press. “The Nuvera provided us with a good entry point into the digital market, but when we started getting into book printing marketing and printing higher quantities, we quickly outgrew the cutsheet digital press,” shares Jeremy Hess, director, sales and marketing, Gasch Printing.
The company’s next step was to invest in a web-fed, toner-based solution. While this printing equipment served the shop well for many years, it recently decided to make the jump to inkjet and installed the Océ ColorStream Mono InkJet press from Canon Solutions America.
“The decision was made in order to increase capacity, reduce operation costs, and to increase print speed,” says Hess.
The company selected the Océ ColorStream Mono InkJet in part because of its longstanding relationship with Canon. “We have a very long and good relationship with Canon/Océ, so we are very comfortable working with them, but more importantly their product gave us the best halftone print quality amongst all the vendors and they just released the new black-only system, which is what we needed,” says Hess.
The Océ ColorStream Mono InkJet press was just installed in the beginning of July. Hess says testing and installation took about three weeks.
With the new inkjet solution, the company now has both inkjet and toner-based digital web presses. “Eventually we plan to move all of the work to the inkjet to take advantage of the lower operation cost,” he says.
Gasch Printing also operates a full digital bindery, which is made up of Hunkeler products from Standard Finishing Systems. With this system, the company is able to trim and collate the books inline. One benefit of its inkjet transition is the ability to leverage its existing finishing equipment.
An Effective Niche
Through the partnership formed with BrightKey, Gasch Printing taps into an industry that is itself in the midst of an evolution. The role of digital printing became more evident, with a continued trend towards smaller runs.
Through its commitment to digital technology and automation, it has developed a one-stop shop for publishers, phasing out offset equipment in favor of digital solutions that enable efficient, short-run book production. Book printing accounts for more than 95 percent of Gasch Printing’s business. Hess says that because the company has strategically invested in both printing and binding equipment, it is able to handle most jobs in house.
According to Hess, the company has experienced ten solid years of continuous growth, rebuilding itself from a traditional shop on the brink of shutting down 14 years ago. While seeing many of its peer shops downscaling, Gasch Printing has managed to add at least one employee each year during the past decade. dps
Sep2016, DPS Magazine