RE: The Benefits of Printing In-House, arguments for, long

Subject: RE: The Benefits of Printing In-House, arguments for, long
From: "Smith, Martin" <smithmr -at- encorp -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999 12:44:05 -0600

I thought I'd go ahead and throw out a few arguments (and numbers) in favor
of in-house printing--at least in the case of short-run color documents.

I recently completed a business plan for our company which contained many
full color Excel charts and screen shots. The resulting book was 150 pages
long. We printed 50 copies (so far) in full color.

I obtained some price quotes prior to starting this job. All quotes were
based on me providing error-free PostScript code and having a vendor print
100 copies of a 100 page book in full color (color on each page).

Kinkos offered to print the job on their DocuColor 40, a tolerable but not
exceptional quality digital color copier. (I had to show them how to send
PostScript code to the printer.) Total price: roughly $11,000.00. An
independent, locally owned copy shop came in at about the same price.

I found another vendor with an IBM InfoColor70 digital color press. This is
a really cool, very high quality, roll-fed, four color digital press.
Because the paper is fed from a continuous roll and printed on both sides,
the press is optimized for printing long runs of single page posters,
fliers, and product data sheets. Efficiency goes way down on longer 8.5 x
11" jobs because all of the manual labor required to trim the pages. (The
rolls are not large enough to print signatures.) One also pays a premium for
the computer time required to image 100 pages. Still, their pricing was
better: roughly $9,000.00 for a much higher quality product.

Printing this job on an actual sheet-fed four color press would, of course,
be out of the question. The negative costs alone would be exorbitant.

In the end we decided to lease a Tektronix Phaser 840, 1200 dpi, solid ink
color printer. This printer prints on both sides of the page and contains a
hard drive that stores the job once its processor has rasterized the
PostScript code. This allows the computer to process and send the job once.
The printer then outputs the desired number of copies using the data stored
on the hard drive. NECX sells this printer for $3949.95. We printed the job
on premium quality paper, which cost about $300.00. We also consumed about
$600.00 worth of solid ink. We ran the printer continuously for five days.
We took the books to Kinkos for binding.

We are now using this printer for all of our product data sheets, which we
were previously printing in spot color on a sheet-fed press.

We will continue to outsource the printing of our black and white manuals.
We have a vendor that prints and binds our manuals on demand using the Xerox
Docutech 135.

I fully agree that printing manuals in house is probably a bad idea.
However, short-run full color work remains expensive, even with the newer
digital presses and color copiers. (Also, most copy shop employees aren't as
highly trained as those who work at traditional service bureaus.) For us, a
small startup company with 30 employees, leasing our own color printer is
turning out to be a very attractive option. The print quality of the
Tektronix solid ink printers is amazing. One can order print samples from
their web site.


> Martin R. Smith
> Technical Writer / Audiophile
> ENCORP: The Energy Automation Company,
> (970) 686-2017 x 223

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