Turnaround Time Troubles? Not at Sun Print Solutions

Utah-based business revels in roll-to-roll inkjet production workflow with advanced digital finishing solutions from MBO.

West Valley City, UT – August 15, 2023

Since 1941, Sun Print Solutions has been at the forefront of printing technology, beginning with offset lithographic commercial print and expanding to excel in packaging, fulfillment, and especially in high-volume, digitally printed direct mail. The only union printing company in Utah officially licensed to print the union label of the Graphic Communications Conference (GCC) of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Sun Print is an especially strong provider in political campaign, voter outreach and cause marketing mailings. Owner Jennifer Pettinger – a fourth-generation company employee who purchased the company – and her team have built the business by steadily advanced its high-tech print offerings, installing leading-edge, high-volume single-pass color inkjet digital print solutions that give customers high-quality print, with accurate targeting and personalization, all delivered at the exact right time to generate much greater response, growth and brand value for clients.

According to Stefan McTee, Sun Print’s Chief Operating Officer,  “We were traditionally a 40-inch offset shop, until 2013,” when the company purchased an HP Indigo electrophotographic digital press and, soon afterwards, acquired a high-volume digital printing operation nearby. “That acquisition really got us going into digital,” he continues. As digital volumes expanded, the business jumped on the leading edge of ultra-high-speed digital printing in 2016 with single-pass inkjet digital web press technology.

Several years later, McTee and Pettinger attended the 2022 Inkjet Summit – NAPCO Media’s invitation-only summit for senior managers and business executives. “At the summit, we heard from MBO users about the advantages of doing offline finishing with a roll-to-roll workflow,” said McTee. At the time, Sun Print Solutions was operating with in-line finishing systems, but not without some challenges. For example, when working in-line, a paper jam on the finishing unit creates downtime in printing – and vice versa for scenarios when the digital press is down, preventing any finishing work from happening as well. And, printing variable data complicates any stop/start scenario even further, as operators are then forced to confirm which records in a job have misprinted and restart printing from the exact correct record.

Shortly after the Inkjet Summit, MBO took Sun Print execs on an informative shop tour at a Chicago direct mail facility that has maximized production capacity by installing off-line MBO Rollfed Digital Finishing Lines to handle large volumes of single-pass inkjet work. By then, the important, if simply stated, truth was clear when it comes to high-volume digital printing and the potential for finishing bottlenecks: “All the devices can run much better when you can run them separately,” McTee explained.

Weeks later, the company purchased the complete Digital Finishing Line MBO America displayed at the 2022 PRINTING United tradeshow in Las Vegas – a complete package of integrated solutions that allows for sheeting, buckle folding, scoring, perfing, gluing and more at superior speeds. Today, the finishing line is delivering outstanding results, moving through all the inkjet web press work Sun Print produces. “We installed MBO digital roll finishing lines about a year ago, and it is working out great for us,” said McTee.

Printed rolls from the company’s inkjet web press operation now go straight from Sun Print Solutions’ pressroom to an adjacent facility that houses the MBO finishing line, along with Sun Print’s fulfillment operations and its on-site mail house. The MBO equipment has helped increase productivity in many different ways. Previously, for example, in-line finishing only accommodated certain final sizes in a cut-to-stack workflow. That resulted in extra time moving stacks to a separate guillotine cutter to cut jobs down to their final size. The highly configurable MBO equipment, however, solves that issue. The company is also able to take on more work requiring plow folds – something that was much more difficult to do on the company’s in-line equipment.

“We just print roll-to-roll and take it all to the MBO lines for cutting, sorting, and slitting all at once,” said McTee. “Moving finishing off-line with our MBO equipment has sped up throughput quite a bit.”

The higher productivity and versatility Sun Print Solutions gains from its robust and complete off-line finishing operations have helped the company continue to expand what it produces on its inkjet web presses. An upgrade to one of its web presses, an HP PageWide T230, to a T250 model enabled fast digital production of some commercial printing work on coated papers.

Previously, coated paper commercial print jobs could only run at slower speeds on smaller digital printers, or in very high volumes on the company’s sheetfed offset press. Now the company manages more of that work in a more-efficient way, moving a portion of its commercial offset and sheetfed digital print jobs to the PageWide and finishing them faster thanks to the MBO finishing line.

The versatility of the MBO Digital Finishing Line has also given the company the ability to bring in new work producing snap pack mailers. And, perhaps most important of all, Sun Print’s direct mail customers are finding that their trusted supplier has the ability to now meet or beat even very tight deadlines.

“We have a customer with a regular job requiring a four-day turnaround, and, before we had the MBO lines, sometimes we would have to ask them for more time,” said McTee. “Now, we are producing that job in 3 days. This is for a job that runs from 200,000 to 300,000 every week, so the time savings we achieve is important.”

“The complete, integrated finishing solutions upgrade at Sun Print Solutions creates much more opportunity, and eliminates production downtime and waste, so this customer can operate its advanced digital printing operation as efficiently as possible,” said Lance Martin, Vice President of Marketing, MBO America. “Our legacy as a leader developing and delivering the industry’s highest-performance one-step production systems for direct mail finishing means businesses like Sun Print can grow and maximize their value by driving higher volumes with even better turnaround times.”