By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Depending on the organization’s needs, in-plant print operations are tasked with producing a variety of output. When it comes to universities, printed materials range from brochures and booklets to posters, banners, and even birthday cards.
To handle a range of products, in-plant operations invest in digital printing equipment capable of outputting production quality with variable data components.
Established in 1846, Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college in Lewisburg, PA, consisting of 3,600 undergraduate students. The university operates an in-plant printing operation with 18 employees in a 6,800 square foot workspace.
Its services include offset and digital printing, wide format printing up to 54 inches wide, variable data, copier fleet management, dye-sublimation, mounting and laminating, an online storefront, and mail services, including bulk mail, campus mail, and student mail. The in-plant also runs a full offline bindery, including coil, comb, wire-o, booklet making, perfect binding, folding, cutting, and padding.
“We have existed as an in plant at the university for over 60 years,” says Tom Lydon, associate director of publications, print and mail, Bucknell University. The in-plant produces banners, booklets, brochures, business cards, cards, environmental graphics, flyers, labels, postcards, stationery, stickers, decals, and wide format graphics.
Roughly 85 percent of its jobs are digitally printed. Its offset press primarily handles letterheads and envelopes while its wide format printers produce posters and large graphics.
Bucknell University has used digital equipment for the last 30 years. Its production facility currently uses a Xerox Color Press 1000 for color printing and a Xerox DC110 for B&W work. Its quick copy center employs a Xerox CJ60 and a Xerox DC95 for color and B&W printing.
The Xerox Color Press 1000 utilizes Xerox low-melt emulsion aggregation dry ink and fusing technology. It runs all weights at rated speeds of 100 pages per minute and handles media from 55 to 350 gsm.
Bucknell University also employs Canon office equipment for its campus copier fleet, including 120 machines of various Canon models.
Its software includes Xerox FreeFlow frontend for its Xerox production black-only printer and EFI Fiery Command workstation for its other production equipment.
“The main benefit we see from digital print technology here on campus is efficiency. Departments are able to get jobs faster, with shorter run lengths, and in full color,” shares Lydon.
While Bucknell University’s production facility benefits from digital print technology, Lydon finds one challenge is ensuring their services are known throughout campus and forming relationships with other departments so that the production facility helps work towards their goals.
In Spring 2018, Bucknell University’s production facility started one of several yearly projects—to print birthday cards from the President’s Office, which are sent to all employees. For this year, the production facility’s goal was to create something unique from the past year’s cards.
“Each year we produce a birthday card that the president sends to all employees throughout the year. This project was unique in that it used our new Graphtec to cut out the B on the front of the card,” says Lydon.
The designs for the annual job were created in April. Bucknell University’s in-plant printing department used Classic Crest Recycled Bright White 100# Linen Cover for the card and printed on the Xerox Color Press 1000 with CMYK toner.
To correctly cut the card, the printing department prepared the file with Cut Master, an Adobe Illustrator plugin. According to Lydon, Cut Master applied special crop marks read by the Graphtec cutter in order to accurately cut the letter B—for Bucknell—out of the press sheet. Once the B’s were cut out it was scored and folded.
The 3,000 final birthday cards measured 7.875×5.375 inches when folded. It was printed in full color on linen cover stock and included a cutout B, rounded corners, single score, and fold.
“This was a lot to take on when we could only cut two at a time but it printed during the summer when we had a little more time,” says Lydon. “This was also a project for the President’s Office and they were open to trying something new and creative.”
The main challenge was the time it took to hand insert 1,500 sheets into its Graphtec cutter to cut out all 3,000 cards. The in-plant production department delivered partial amounts as the cards were finished so that the president could begin signing each card.
“This job stands out as a unique job that incorporated cutout in the overall design of the card,” says Lydon. The President’s Office was happy with the final project and started sending the birthday cards in September 2018.
With several digital printers and supporting finishing equipment, Bucknell University’s production facility creates a variety of applications for departments and student organizations on campus. The in-plant print provider continues to expand its capabilities.
In part two of this two-part series, we spotlight an in-plant print environment that handles printing and distribution for the U.S. state of OR.
Dec2018, DPS Magazine