“Changing inks is one of the toughest things to do in a press room, especially one with 13 presses,” said Matt Coltharp, president of Lancaster, OH-based Cyril-Scott Company, a Consolidated Graphics, Inc. (CGX) company. “It’s even more critical when you deliver for customers the way we do, especially when you factor-in how we contribute to many other CGX companies across the country.”
Cyril-Scott delivers an extraordinary range of unique promotional pieces for customers, primarily direct mail. This includes die cuts, pop-ups, perforated pieces, sticker applications, scratch-offs and multi-sensory packages - as many as 4 million to 5 million per job - for high demand customers such as fragrance and cosmetics marketers, the automotive industry, national-brand retailers, non-profit organizations, outdoor fashion outfitters, financial services and others. From blank paper roll to fully finished, personalized ready-to-mail product is completed in one fell swoop.
“That’s the beauty and the economy of our in-line web finishing operation,” observes Joe Tirschfield, director of pre-press technology for Cyril-Scott. “If you were doing this on a sheetfed press, you would be printing, then die-cutting and personalizing, followed by gluing and inserting. All of that adds up and becomes very expensive. It’s also no match for our turnaround time on these complex, multiple-step, package-specific jobs.”
Timely turnaround and cost, always issues for printers and their customers, have taken on added importance for Cyril-Scott since it became part of Consolidated Graphics (CGX) several years ago. “We’re the only in-line finishing plant among 70-plus CGX facilities,” Mr. Tirschfield points out. “A significant number of jobs we run are for sister companies and their customers.”
Founded as one of the nation’s first in-line web finishing printers in 1959, Cyril-Scott has steadily grown and continually perfected its craft. The 13 presses include four half webs and nine full webs, a mix of Goss and Harris ,and the newest being a six-unit M-500 Goss that was installed last year. Employees number around 200, with 40 to 50 in the pressroom that includes 20 experienced press operators.
To further complement ongoing quality improvement initiatives, Mr. Coltharp hired Mr. Tirschfield in November 2010. Under Mr. Tirschfield’s guidance, Cyril-Scott soon earned its G7 Master Printer classification within six months in March 2011.
No operation, however, is immune to the challenges which can delay or disrupt runs, impact quality and also frustrate seasoned print professionals trying to identify, locate and solve them. Although Cyril-Scott had an in-plant operative with its at-the-time ink supplier, and their own press room personnel are seasoned veterans, none was able to provide the level of problem-solving support Mr. Coltharp and Mr. Tirschfield were looking for. Mr. Tirschfield recalled limited exposure to INX at his previous position.
“They were not the primary ink vendor but there was a strong feeling that, from a service standpoint, INX was a top-notch company,” Mr. Tirschfield said. Having been through ink supplier changes as recently as a few years earlier, Mr. Coltharp was understandably hesitant about moving in that direction. Nonetheless, in June, 2011, they decided to invite INX into Cyril-Scott, as Mr. Coltharp puts it, “to survey what was going on.,” even though at the time, INX was not providing Cyril-Scott with ink.
“We could see that INX had our best interests in mind,” Mr. Coltharp said, “the way they analyzed each of our processes and worked with our personnel. Leaving nothing to chance, they looked at our plate processing, how our plates were being hung, blankets were being packed and the fountain solutions we were using. Overall, the INX people helped us look for possible problems that could come up as well as solutions for any we already knew we had.”
“We were having an issue with the dampening system on one of our presses,” said Mr. Tirschfield. “Previously, no one was able to resolve it so INX looked into it. They figured out a malfunctioning piece of equipment was causing the problem.”
While an initial INX survey included inventorying equipment, the length of finish line ovens and other pertinent items, the subsequent audit more thoroughly measured specifics throughout line operations, prior to testing in July. A number of INX people were involved at various stages in the process, Mr. Tirschfield said.
“We performed tests on two of our presses, which covered both ends of the spectrum - our most aged press and the newest, the Goss M-500. We then performed G7 calibrations on both of these presses using INX product, feeling that the presses in-between would not be problematic. This proved to be true,” Mr. Tirschfield said.
INX officially became Cyril-Scott’s ink partner in August, with an in-plant specialist and several ink room enhancements, including a 15-hp ink mixer and a spectrophotometer. Lighting was also improved. “We now have more capability,” Mr. Tirschfield said, adding that the biggest changes are happening on-press and on behalf of Cyril-Scott customers.
“The transition was completely seamless,” Mr. Coltharp said. “I was thoroughly impressed with the INX people involved and the approach they took, the way they worked with our management team and our press room to make sure that everyone was fully aware and involved as needed, while necessary changes were being made. It kept our operation and customer jobs on-track.”
“The transition was truly remarkable, from audit through testing, with one in-plant shutting down and another setting up,” Mr. Tirschfield added. “We didn’t have one instance when something didn’t go well. I attribute that to good planning by the people at INX.”
Further evidence that this effort succeeded came with customer silence, what Tirschfield refers to as a “no news is good news” scenario.
Cyril-Scott is having success running INX ColorTrac LT SS 2 process inks. “That was the initial ink set they recommended for process colors,” Mr. Tirschfield said. “Remarkably, we have not had a single negative comment about the new inks from a press operator or press room supervisor. One common statement is the INX product is much stronger than what we were using previously.”