"Printing companies keep track of impressions," said Steve Sifrer, pressroom supervisor at Colbert Packaging Corp. "The number of press sheets goes hand in hand with the general condition of the press. If you have a high impression count on a good printing press, that is something to brag about."
Of course, the 40-inch Mitsubishi 3FC that recently achieved the production milestone is more than a source of bragging rights. Colbert Packaging specializes in folding cartons, rigid setup boxes, paperboard specialty products, pressure-sensitive roll labels and flexographic printing. The company prints high-caliber packaging for pharmaceuticals and health-care products, consumer goods and specialty items. Acquired in 2000, the six-color carton press is a workhorse, responsible for helping Colbert Packaging meet its customers' packaging goals.
"After 13 years, the 3FC prints extremely well," Sifrer said. "This press runs three shifts a day, six days a week. Any problems with the press in all that time have been minimal. We can always count on it to run consistently."
Colbert Packaging has two manufacturing plants in Lake Forest, Ill., and a plant in Elkhart, Ind. One of the Lake Forest locations focuses exclusively on flexographic packaging solutions and pressure-sensitive roll labels.
The headquarters facility, also in Lake Forest, houses the 3FC and a 40-inch Mitsubishi Diamond 3000TP. The seven-color dedicated perfecting press was installed in 2009. Able to perfect up to 32-point carton stock, the Diamond 3000TP prints six colors on the front of the sheet and one color on the back.
"One of the main reasons we installed the Diamond 3000TP is the reliability of its predecessor," Sifrer said. "Our average run length is 12,000 to 14,000 impressions. Other companies might print more total impressions on a press in fewer years, but we run one job right after another. Absolutely everything needs to work just so in order to maintain peak efficiency."
Keeping the Mitsubishi presses rolling around the clock is a joint effort that starts with the head office at Colbert Packaging.
"The Colbert management team is very committed to the required scheduled maintenance that the manufacturer recommends," Sifrer said. "We perform weekly and monthly maintenance on our presses and follow all the necessary procedures."
The other half of that joint effort is the Mitsubishi service team.
"The field technicians Mitsubishi sends are experts who are well versed in mechanical, electrical and lithographic issues," Sifrer said. "They know us, and they know the equipment. It obviously helps that they are working on superior presses. You aren't going to get quality and longevity from an inferior press, no matter how much maintenance time you devote to it."