As quantities of print jobs (both digital and offset) have increased due to versioning and shorter run lengths, Angstrom was experiencing a bottleneck in their folding department. “On a direct mail piece, instead of doing 300,000 pieces,” states David Neumann, president and CEO, AngstromGraphics, “our customers are doing 150,000 of much more targeted pieces of marketing material that have multiple versions, so set up time and switchovers were very difficult on our old folders.”
The AngstromGroup had four legacy folders in operation that required a significant amount of time and labor and a unique skill set to operate efficiently. “While we have some very experienced and veteran employees in our operation, the throughput was not at a rate that was maximizing our potential,” continues Neumann. “We chose to invest in the two new folders from Standard Horizon and we’ve taken our four older folders offline. We’ve opened up the breadth of our folding capability to do more types of folds and our throughput has increased dramatically.”
The four existing folders were continuous feed style which required every pound of paper to be lifted and manually loaded in the feeder by the operators. The new folders from Standard Horizon take pallets of printed sheets, which are rolled into the folder. “The difference for us is the quick change over time,” states Rich Neff, director of finishing and logistics. “We ran continuous feed here forever, and it was a bit challenging getting our guys to buy into the pile feeder at first. Now they see that we just roll in the skids, bring them up and start running. We run what we need and drop them down and put the next one in it. It's really remarkable.”
As is the case for many commercial printers, there are different jobs that need to be set up in finishing and then each job may have several versions of that job. “We are seeing dramatic savings in makeready,” states Neumann. “The changeover time between jobs, in terms of makeready, could take several hours and now we can changeover very quickly, sometimes in just ten minutes.”
“The Standard Horizon AFC-746F is a pallet-feed folder,” states Gary Greis, sales manager, Graphco. “What’s great is that the folder can handle sheets up to 29” x 43”, or a typical 8-up or 16-page signature. This kind of automation in finishing is making a big difference for commercial printers trying to maximize their efficiencies.” Other features include advanced set-up automation through a user-friendly color touch-screen control panel that displays all common fold formats and sheet sizes for easy selection. Additionally, the folder features quick changeover and fully automated setup with up to 47 automated fold adjustments and a programmable memory for up to 200 different jobs.
“We are extremely happy to work with AngstromGraphics on this exciting project. Dave’s team have quickly embraced the new folder technology from Horizon and from my days running the Hennegan Company I know how impactful replacing four machines with two new ones and adding capacity at the same time can be to an operation.” adds Greis. “The Angstrom/Graphco partnership is a strong one and we look forward to many years of successful operation from these two Horizon folders.”