PCI Printing Sets New Course with EFI Printers
PCI Printing is in the enviable position of being the only printer in Atmore and its surrounding area in Alabama. While the company certainly enjoyed the benefits of having the local market locked up, it was also coping with labor issues, and an outdated and inefficient production system that struggled to keep up with growing demand.
It is difficult to find qualified equipment operators. “We get a lot of business, but my main challenge was staff. It’s hard to find anybody with experience running equipment,” says Adam Nix, production supervisor for PCI Printing. “We couldn’t keep up with demand with the staff level we had.”
Seeking a time-saving solution
Nix was also looking for the ability to print directly onto rigid media, and to update cumbersome production processes. Producing foamcore board posters, for example, was an intensive exercise that involved printing on adhesive vinyl, waiting 15 to 20 minutes for the ink to dry before gluing the vinyl to the board, and then waiting another eight hours if the job needed lamination. “It was critical to be able to print directly onto rigid media. We do more than 50 foamcore boards a month, so we were wasting a lot of time,” says Nix.
PCI Printing was incurring a lot of overtime as a result of the labor shortages and time-wasting mounting procedures. Nix and his staff were overburdened, and since they had difficulty meeting customer demand, the company was also outsourcing a substantial amount of printing. All of these challenges and inefficiencies increased turnaround time, erased profits on existing jobs, and limited the ability of the company to take on more business and grow.
It was with these issues in mind that PCI approached Ricoh (Booth 7001), an EFI (Booth 8233) reseller and an existing supplier to PCI for digital toner presses. “I asked Ricoh, ‘What can I do to print directly onto rigid media, cut production time, and take steps out of my process,’” says Nix.
Ricoh recommended the 65"-wide EFI Pro 16h LED hybrid printer. The printer features an EFI Fiery proServer Core digital front end (DFE) — which was beneficial for PCI Printing because the staff was already familiar with EFI Fiery workflows on their Ricoh digital presses.
“I already used EFI Fiery DFEs, and I knew EFI’s reputation in the industry,” Nix says. “Knowing all of that made the decision to add the EFI printer even easier.
“Ricoh has been a great partner for us,” Nix adds. “We’ve been with them for seven years, and they’ve always been there addressing our needs. Whenever someone comes into our shop, they always compliment us on the quality we output, and Ricoh has been a big part of that.”
PCI Printing added two Pro 16h printers, and according to Nix, the company streamlined production, increased output, and become more profitable.
PCI Printing has cut printing time in half on most wide-format print jobs. Nix can, for example, print three, double-sided, 24x36" foam boards for the casinos in about 10 minutes, a vast improvement over the 30 to 45 minutes it used to take him. He can also print directly onto substrates up to 2" thick.
Other benefits include ink that cures instantaneously, lower ink costs, lower running costs, and fantastic quality and color output.
Work that used to be outsourced, which Nix estimates to be about 15% to 20% of total revenue, has come back in house, and Nix can run both locations with the personnel at hand, while cutting back on the draining 70-hour weeks he and his staff were putting in.
“We can now increase output to meet demand without expanding our staff, deliver jobs more quickly, cut costs, eliminate wasted time, and reach a higher level of profitability,” says Nix. “I love having the machines. They’re great.”