By Editor Morten B. Reitoft
I can't remember the last time I visited a printing company with four VLF presses - you know, the presses that are so huge that you sometimes can't help thinking about how difficult it must be to handle these large formats. Litho Press is a 3rd generation printing company with a strong branding. Super friendly reception with - well, you'll see - but great logos, great furniture, and also lots of humor with a mannequin doll as receptionist :-)
We arrive late as planes, as usual, are delayed, with endless time at the US border control and even further delays, making it a bit of a hassle to get to Indianapolis from Europe - or at least when you live in Slovenia and Denmark. We are warmly welcomed by Dennis Groh, who runs the entire operation. Later, we learn that he is only ten weeks 'old' in the company and has relocated from the Atlanta area to work for Litho Press. Litho Press is not a super large printing company. Still, it seems to be a very busy company with many jobs, long print runs, and a company that utilizes the large formats - from a brand new Koenig & Bauer 145 to the large KBA 205 - and in between a Heidelberg and a manroland 900 press. Dennis explains that the diversity in sizes is a super advantage for the company and also gives the company a competitive advantage, as not many printing companies have the sizes and capacity Litho Press has.
In the interview, we will bring on INKISH.TV later, VP of Sales and part owner Bernie Lazy explains how the company in the '80s changed from general commercial printing into packaging. He also stated that hadn't they done so, the company would likely not have survived!
When a company like Litho Press produces formats from 145 cm and up, everything supporting the print is also huge. The guillotines, the turn units, warehousing - all dimensioned to a larger format - and I can't help smiling, as Ziga and I next day see an 8-color Heidelberg machine - and suddenly this looks tiny :-) All the machines can print both UV and conventional, and on top of that, the oldest of the offset presses - a manroland 900 - is equipped with the world's largest cold-foiling unit - delivered by Eagle Systems. In a Teams call with Mike King from Eagle Systems, he explains the hassle of developing and installing this huge cold foiler, as the roof at Litho Press is quite low. Everything is, however, installed and works. The foiling unit is 73 inches or 185 cm wide, requiring enormous tension control. Bernie Lazy explains that the foil capacity has supported existing customers and helped the company gain new customers, and he is very optimistic about the investment. The press operators are also happy, but as the Eagle isn't used all the time, the setup time takes a bit longer than expected - but as Mike (pressman) explains, mainly because they need more work for the Eagle.
As mentioned, the reception area and the meeting rooms, as are the rest of the operation, are nice, but don't get me wrong. Litho Press is an industrial production that delivers packaging print to many customers. If I could share some names, you would recognize them, but for now, you have to take my word on it - you know them :-)
Despite Ziga and I being a bit late at Litho Press because of the above-mentioned delayed planes, I believe we got great interviews with Dennis Groh and Bernie Lazy that you can soon enjoy on INKISH - and for sure learn and see how these VLF presses deliver SO much print. This was yet another cool printing company to visit. Thank you to everybody involved!