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May 21, 2014
United States
Colorado

AT A GLANCE

Industry sector

Family-owned commercial printer

Challenges
  • Increasing online competition
  • The need to quickly produce high-quality personalized products to meet increasing customer demands
Solutions
  • The highly-automated Bourg BM-e Booklet Maker (tied to the BST-d10+ suction tower) improves turnaround time and finishing quality
  • The Bourg Square Edge creates high quality square edge booklets that are flat and easy to pack
Results
  • New revenues opportunities thanks to the ability to produce more complex jobs, including non-standard large formats.
  • The BM-e's flexibility enables the company to react quickly to urgent customers demand
  • Higher finishing speeds thanks to the BM-e's automated features: quicker turnaround times that online competitors cannot easily match

 

Basin Printing Keeps a Competitive Edge with C.P. Bourg

The business environment of Colorado’s Animas River Valley can be as lush as verdant hillsides fed by spring snowmelt – or as harsh as the canyons and desert that lie to the south and west. If you want to succeed as a printer here in Durango, 6,512 feet above sea level near the Four Corners junction of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, your company better offer personalized service and quick turnaround, or you won’t be doing business here for long.

Family owned and operated Basin Printing & Imaging offers all that, and more.

Basin has played a prominent role in the Durango business community since 1957, when Elvis Presley hits were topping the pop music charts. Back then, Durango thrived on the local oil and gas industry, and Basin Printing also prospered. When the Hammond family entered the firm in the early 1970s, Durango’s business base was becoming more diversified as its population grew, making it southwest Colorado's largest town and Basin its largest printer.

Raising the Bar

Basin Printing & Imaging today is a multi-faceted provider of expert services from graphic design and proofing, to printing, finishing, bulk mailing and fulfillment. Supported by a wide range of printing and finishing equipment housed in 12,600 square feet of production space, Basin’s staff of more than 20 skilled professionals – including a third-generation Hammond – helps businesses and individuals in the Four Corners region communicate effectively via print.

So when co-owners Mike and Jeff Hammond saw competition increasing from opportunistic print shops hundreds of miles away that were selling through the Internet, they raised the bar on their business a few notches by beefing up their binding and finishing operation with leading-edge equipment. The new gear helps Basin Printing & Imaging deliver a broader range of print finishing services with lightning-quick turnaround times that competitors can’t easily match.

“Print quality is a given today and turnaround times keep getting compressed, so every printer needs a competitive advantage,” says Jeff Hammond, the man in charge of the Basin Printing & Imaging’s marketing, sales and customer service. “Plus, with quality broadly under control, graphic designers are posing challenges that binderies have never seen before, producing work in unusual formats and putting design elements and color crossovers on almost every page.

Achieving a Competitive Edge

“For us, it comes down to service and our ability to produce quality work from start to finish on short notice with quick turnaround. And on that score, the bindery absolutely sets Basin apart.”

Basin’s binding edge is provided by a dual-tower Bourg BST10-d+ Suction Tower Collator tied to a new-generation and award-winning stitch-fold-trim Bourg BM-e Booklet Maker and Bourg Square Edge from C.P. Bourg of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The high-speed and highly automated Bourg booklet maker is the first finishing system to stitch, fold and trim sheet sizes up to 14.5 x 23.5 inches (370 x 600 mm) – the largest format currently output by digital printers.

The Bourg BM-e also produces up to 5,000 booklets per hour and offers a variety of unique features and innovations improving near-line finishing speed, efficiency and flexibility. These include full control via a 300-degree swivel-mounted 12-inch color touchscreen terminal, toolless job size changeovers, the ability to fold up to 30 sheets of 20-lb bond, a totally visible straight paper path and an intelligent paper folding mechanism that gauges stack thickness to prevent marking, scuffing or scratching delicate digital prints.

“We briefly considered a finisher from another supplier, but it required more manufacturing space than the BM-e and it didn’t come close on features, so we didn’t even look at it,” says Mike.

Because Bourg couldn’t ship the BM-e in December when Basin originally wanted it, Bourg loaned the printer a Bourg BDF Document Finisher for a few months to work with the newly installed tower collators, explains Jeff’s brother and co-owner Mike Hammond, who started out in the firm as a press operator 25 years ago and now spends more of his time in the bindery.

When Basin’s new Bourg BM-e was installed in early spring it fit right in with the Hammond’s line-up of Heidelberg offset presses and other top industry equipment with brands like Screen, Epson, Canon and Xerox.

“A Difference Like Night and Day”

Basin’s Bourg BM-e (and, for a few months, the BDF loaner) replaced an older Bourg T-series modular finishing system that Basin had used since the late 1990s. Before that, Basin had produced booklets by hand – a long, tedious process of folding, and collating sheets, and then stitching and trimming them one by one. Some jobs took a week to produce – a hindrance that prevented Basin from taking on finishing jobs that were larger, more complex, and often, more profitable.

“When we installed the Bourg T-series finishers in 1999, the difference between using those machines and collating, folding and stapling by hand was like night and day,” Mike vividly recalls.

Striking as that first transition was, he says moving up from the “T” series finishers to the Bourg BDF – with its touchscreen terminal, tool-less changeovers and fully integrated finishing functions in a single compact unit – was even more amazing.

“With the BDF, we could load a job in one or both BST tower collators and be up and running on a job literally within one minute. And job changeovers were equally fast and easy.”

Handling Bigger and Better Jobs

“The Bourg BM-e pushes those limits even further. It combines the freedom of using largest format size available with even more control and more automation,” Mike remarks. “Now we’re able to bid on bigger and more complex jobs – including landscape-format booklets up to 120 pages 11-1/2” x 13-1/2 inches finished dimension – and do them even faster than we could on the BDF.”

By running both of the 10-bin tower collators at full capacity to the BM-e, Basin has finished close to 30,000 booklets in a day – something they had never done before, says Mike. And it doesn’t matter to the BM-e whether the work is generated by Basin’s Heidelberg offset presses or by the shop’s Xerox digital printers because it’s designed to handle output from both.

The only difference between finishing digital and offset print output, says Mike, is that customers often want digital print jobs the same day – an issue that poses no problem for the BM-e.

“We can interrupt any job and save it in memory, start another job and have it finished and out the door in 30 minutes, and resume the first job all without a hitch.”

Other BM-e features Mike Hammond points to are the ability to jog sets up to three times and to make fine adjustments to stitch position, fold position or trim distance in increments of 1/10 mm on the fly, as the job is running. He also likes the intelligent paper crusher that applies the perfect pressure, heavy-duty face trimmer with a unique blower-assisted scrap removal that allows the operator to empty the waste bin while the BM-e keeps running at full speed, and the machine’s overall ease of use.

The Bourg Square Edge attachment has also been a hit, says Mike. It takes traditional stitchfold booklets and transforms them into square edge booklets that are flat and easy to pack, stack and handle. “Our customers love the clean, square edge that makes their booklets look like they’ve been perfect-bound.”

Nailing Crossovers, Dead-On

Colleges, government offices, hospitals, schools and a wide range of businesses large and small have joined oil and gas companies that originally supplied Basin Printing & Imaging with much of its work. The more the word gets around that Basin is able to quickly turn around high-quality finished documents from CD-sized pamphlets to oversized cookbooks and manuals landscape formats, the more – and more different – the work is that’s coming in the door.

As for those crossovers graphic designers are so fond of?

“The BM-e helps us a lot with those demands too,” says Jeff Hammond. “Our crossovers are always dead-on. With the BM-e, we’re always able to nail them perfectly.”

The same could be said of how their leading-edge bindery is helping Basin Printing & Imaging deal with the competition.