It’s the week before Christmas and while some businesses have already eased off the accelerator for the holiday break, that’s not the case at ABS Graphics (www.absgraphics.com) in Itasca, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. A combination of steady and consistent client work and moving people and equipment from two locations into new space is keeping everyone active. One of the first machines pressed into service was the new 72” Wohlenberg cutting system purchased from and installed by industry leader Colter & Peterson.
ABS is consolidating separate large format and litho operations in nearby Addison and Chicago into a new, 130,000 square-foot facility. Moving a large company from two locations is a herculean task, and owner and Principal Steve VanderVeen is quick to credit a dedicated group of 150 full-time and as many as 50 temporary employees for making significant progress every day. The move began last month and is expected to be completed sometime in late January.
Once a traditional sheetfed offset printing company that first opened its doors in 1978, ABS has expanded into large format litho and screen print as well as digital and variable data printing. For now they maintain a 24/7 schedule as necessary to accomplish the production of mixed marketing materials in a wide range of substrates and sizes for their national Fortune 500 clients. This versatile production level, as well as the ability to offer data-driven fulfillment, personalized packaging and shipment across North America, allows ABS to uniquely and effectively serve the national retail market.
“Supplying to the national retail market is what we are all about,” explained VanderVeen. “We bought the new cutting system to complement our 40” sheetfed capabilities and handle the influx of large format litho for our clients, while having the ability to cut many different items to meet customized needs. We’ve known Colter & Peterson (www.papercutters.com) for many years, and we knew they were the right place to go for this type of specialized cutter.”
The Wohlenberg system includes a 72” paper cutter with automatic rear loader, jogger and lift. It offers a ton of benefits and joins a pair of 45” and 85” paper cutters. Featuring precise cutting, a 15” touch screen display and a CIP data module, it is working in tandem with another recent addition: a KBA Rapida 142 five-color press.
“The sizeable amount of retail in-store work that is displayed in stores is printed on the large format press and requires a cutter that can handle all the material handling. The KBA press prints 40” x 56” sheets, which is double the size and weight of 28” x 40” sheets,” informed VanderVeen. “Running two-sided, we use the auto loader to pick up and turn it over, as well as aerating and jogging the loads, and then put it back on the press.”
As VanderVeen walks the floor from one area to another, he points out that run size usually varies. Picking up a stack of single use coupon books with digitally printed individual bar codes, he explains how ABS can print tracks of 50,000 at any given time for a run that eventually adds up into the millions – and repeats the process on a monthly basis.
“We bought the auto loader and jogger for its speed. With a two man operation, we’re seeing a significant increase in the amount of volume we can turn around on the Wohlenberg system,” remarked VanderVeen. “The training and installation went well except for a few minor things where we needed to make some adjustments. Our business level is very good and we will have to determine how much and how often we use it. For now, it’s as much as possible.”