St. Louis commercial print shop celebrates installation of seventh printing press by RMGT in Q1
SOLON, OH — Graphco, distributor of the leading eight-up sheetfed press in North America, delivered an RMGT 9 Series, four-color sheetfed press to MCI Printing, Inc.’s production facility in St. Louis, MO, this past February. Up and running now for three months, the 25×36.75” (maximum sheet size) machine is conserving paper/spoilage waste during press makereadies between MCI’s jobs. The machine opens up new possibilities, such as larger print volumes.
The 924 model prints 16-page signatures. This allows MCI to print full-size direct mail, packaging and brochures as well as booklets, presentation folders and booklets. The family-owned business has 14 employees and is counted among the area’s top 20 commercial printers, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch rankings.
“This marks our ‘lucky seventh’ press from RYOBI,” stated Vice President Jacob Icenhower, whose late father founded MCI in his basement in 1984. “Dad started 39 years ago with a duplicating machine, then graduated to quarter- and three-quarter sized presses” as the company’s capacity requirements increased. “We’ve continued to invest over the years,” he noted, “. . . and don’t have a bunch of 1990’s equipment.”
However, with only 13,000 square feet of available space in the plant, the younger Icenhower said he and his mother, President Mary Beth Icenhower, had no intentions of getting into the full-sheet market – that is, until they spoke with their friends at Graphco. “Now, with the RMGT 924 press in place, we can compete against the “big boys” at 40-inch sheetfed shops. “We don’t have a football field here,” he admitted.
Space savings – and growth
“MCI essentially changed their platform,” explains Derek Gordon, Midwest regional manager for Graphco. “Jake packs a lot of printing units – more than 16 cylinders – into that confined footprint, which is where the firm moved operations in 1996.”
The newest press also “gives MCI room to grow,” added Jake Icenhower, who is now in his 16thyear at the printing company. One area of recent growth has been in magazine work, “which we were never getting before installing the larger machine.”
Its production efficiency of up to 16,000 sheets an hour, is the most impressive feature of the 9 Series. “It only requires one operator to run” during their staggered, 12-hour daily shifts, Icenhower pointed out. “We are also using fewer [printing] plates and less paper from a consumables/spoilage perspective.”
Icenhower demonstrated, using a book as an example, that two signatures of 8 pages used to require 2 makereadies. “Now, we have one, 16-page signature. The paper size is more economical.” As a result, management is realizing a positive cost differential compared to its 7 Series, three-quarter size (23½ x 31” sheet) machine. “We see significant savings on comparable jobs,” he reported. To speed up production workflow even more, “we may add LED-UV curing down the road.”