February 26, 2016 – After 13 years with automatic plate changing presses, yearbook manufacturer Herff Jones was looking for a solution that could achieve its future business goals. A year after the installation of a Speedmaster XL 106-8P, Herff Jones is more efficient than ever and anticipates even greater improvements in the coming year.
Peak Performance For Peak Season
“This press exceeds our expectations on a daily basis,” said Doug McWilliams, Vice President of Operations. “The XL 106 came on-site during last year’s peak production season, and it continues to carry the load during non-peak production months. Put it this way, the XL 106 produces the combined volume of 3 other presses each shift.”
The Speedmaster XL 106 is the leading peak performance press in the 70 x 100 format with maximum production speeds of 18,000 sheets per hour. The XL 106 8-color perfector is the industry standard, outshining the competition in terms of productivity and efficiency. Users of the XL 106 often produce well over 50 million sheets per year, with the current record at 90 million impressions per year.
“When equipped with the most advanced automation, the XL 106 is capable of regularly producing more than 100 four-over-four signatures in an eight hour shift in this extremely short-run environment,” said Clarence Penge, Vice President, Sheetfed Product Management. “As a partner, we are dedicated to assisting Herff Jones in this market and providing tailored solutions for their future requirements.”
To aid the throughput of the new press, Herff Jones invested in a Stahlfolder KH 82 and a POLAR skid turner to keep pace with the production of the XL 106. According to McWilliams, this combination of new technologies allows the company to better support its customers’ needs in a fast-paced environment.
Makereadies in Minutes
Over time, the production window for yearbook printing has become narrower as school schedules continue to change. When customers begin to submit pages in November, press production begins to ramp up with its peak season going into full swing by February. Through May, heavy print volumes continue until final page deadlines are met in the spring. Depending on the region, spring yearbooks are delivered through the end of June.
With these changes in mind, the company had a need to increase throughput, and the answer was reducing makeready times. “Our press operators strive to push the XL 106 to its full potential,” said McWilliams. “Makereadies are accomplished in a matter of minutes and paper spoilage has been reduced to a third compared to our other presses. As our operators continue to work with the new press, we still see a gradual increase in productivity after one year in operation.”
Trained to Succeed
Operating out of three plants, the company produces approximately four million yearbooks annually with average runs of 525 copies. “Based on our research, we felt the technology of the XL 106 would meet our immediate needs and help us achieve long-term goals. We had confidence in our operators, and with the help of Heidelberg’s training program, they came up to speed rather quickly,” said McWilliams. “Our operators consistently exceed our expectations — we are excited about the future.”
The Future Ahead
As a leading yearbook manufacturer, Herff Jones continues to look to the future of its business and the industry at large. “We’re prepared to handle more customized content and provide a wider range of unique applications. Our primary focus is to deliver unparalleled customer service. We believe technology upgrades, throughout our entire operation, play a key role in our ability to support our customers on all levels.”
With over 100 years of experience, Herff Jones has served the education market from kindergarten to college and beyond by promoting personal, school and community pride through customizable products and programs. Herff Jones is a one-stop shop specializing in turning memories into keepsakes through custom caps and gowns, announcements, party invitations, yearbooks, senior jewelry and apparel.