By DPS Staff
Workflow is a critical component to an effective print operation, particularly when digital technologies are in the mix.
Located in Lafayette, CO, Morrell Printing Solutions is a family-owned, full-service printing operation. Founded in 1975 by Gerry and Janet Morrell, today in its second generation, the shop is managed by Jim Morell and a staff of 12—including several family members. Its services include offset, digital, and large format printing; prepress and design; bindery; and mailing and copying. The company reports an excess of $2 million in annual revenue.
The shop has come a long way in terms of its digital capabilities, adopting it as early as 1985. “Our first connected device was a Canon CLC 100 laser printer, which we purchased in the early 1990s,” recalls says Jim Morrell, GM, Morrell Printing Solutions.
From there, the company evolved to producing color copies with a Sharp device. “In the mid-1990s, we went to a Xerox machines, starting with the Magestic—and continuously upgrading with Xerox technology, from the DocuColor to the iGen, and finally, the Color 1000 Press,” describes Morrell.
Morrell notes that the biggest challenge with digital is maintaining the quality so that it resembles traditional offset. Finishing is also a challenge, as it is important to adapt bindery to a digital workflow. However, he is confident that the company is at an advantage, as they celebrate a learning curve of 30 years compared to those just starting to implement digital.
Throughout continued evolution of its digital printing equipment, Morrell Printing Solutions relies on skilled operators and an advanced digital front end (DFE) to alleviate prepress from mundane tasks that are instead effectively handled downstream on press.
Tried and True
Workflow became a priority for Morrell Printing Solutions when it set out to install its Xerox iGen 150 in the Summer of 2013. Upon implementation, the company intended to make the most of the investment by researching and deploying the best DFE to serve its needs. They decided on the EFI Fiery DFE, which according to Morrell, met all of the shop’s requirements.
Integration capabilities and ease of use represented two important factors in the decision to implement the EFI Fiery DFE. With the latest Fiery-Driven Xerox installation, Morrell says the shop conducts more work downstream versus upstream. With the capabilities offered in the Fiery prepress tools, operators can troubleshoot jobs on the fly to speed up the overall workflow.
Additionally, with the Xerox iGen 150 and Fiery DFE, Morrell Printing Solutions is able to take advantage of an exclusive Fiery Dynamic HD Text and Graphics feature.
Since the shop operates Fiery DFEs on its existing walk-up color and B&W copiers/printers, it made sense to use the same DFE as it continued to upgrade its printing capabilities with the Xerox iGen 150 and then the Xerox Color 1000 digital press.
Morrell Printing Solutions takes pride in the skill level of its operators and the EFI Fiery allows them to hone in on these talents. With the abilities of the DFE, press operators are able to take on some of the work typically assigned to prepress. “We keep more sophisticated operators than most, and they sometimes step in and take the role of prepress. For example, the Xerox iGen operator is really an extension of prepress. Instead of having prepress tied up in a simple business card order, the operator is able to utilize the DFE and make the decision on how best to run the job,” he says.
Morrell explains that to do this, the company uses a Fiery Hot Folder PDF workflow and trains its clients to provide print-ready, single page PDFs. Once the files are received, the front counter personnel drags them to a Hot Folder, eliminating the need for the job to go through prepress. At the DFE, the press operator can check the file and make any last-minute adjustments before printing.
“We deal with a lot of designers and artists that want critical color output. The ability to take a PDF workflow, drop the job in a hot folder, and allow the operator to print out a proof and control color spaces is helpful. It allows us to change the workflow to get the largest color gamut. We take the time to dial in on spot colors as well as create our own,” says Morrell.
Imposition tools within the Fiery are also essential. Morrell notes that the Fiery Impose software included with the EFI Fiery DFE is one of the most utilized areas of the company’s workflow. With it, they maximize the sheet size of the Xerox iGen 150, which is 14×26 inches. It is also used to accommodate special bindery needs.
“In imposition, the operator looks at stock and changes it at the last minute, or adjusts how many pages to run up, and updates it in bindery so that everything will run smoothly,” he adds.
Morrell Printing Systems prides itself on being at the forefront of technology, which is something they’ve been doing for 40 years. The shop continues to see workflow capabilities as an integral part of its future. This includes superior operator efficiency with a sophisticated DFE, communication between its production workflow and MIS, and improved Web to print capabilities.
The shop is also beginning to make its way into packaging as part of its point of purchase offerings. While it represents just a small portion of its business now, Morrell foresees it taking up a larger chunk of the business in the near future. dps
Jan2015, DPS Magazine