Virginia commercial printer makes efficient strides in first year with Sentinel system add-on for sheetfed-offset press.

CARROLLTON, TX – May 27, 2024 – Sentinel, a global leader in automated ink management systems, has installed a Sentinel iPro system at Bison Printing. The ink-management system is installed on its Komori Lithrone GL840, an eight-color, 40-inch sheetfed-offset printing press featuring LED-UV technology. As a general commercial shop, Bison produces booklets, catalogs and marketing collateral as well as direct-mail pieces/packages. “We handle fulfillment, too,” notes President, Franz Beisser, adding that its full bindery is capable of foil-stamping, embossing, die-cutting, gluing and tipping.

“Bison Printing has automated a labor-intensive process in sheetfed offset printing by investing in the Sentinel iPro ink management system,” states Kevin McAnally, General Manager, Sentinel Ink Systems.On an eight-color press, Sentinel monitors ink use at each press tower and automatically provides a consistent bead of ink. Advanced automation resulting in labor savings and maintaining color consistency is a big part of the attraction for commercial printers.”

“With the Sentinel in place, a second pressman can handle two presses,” Beisser explains. “There’s no manual ink scraping involved with the iPro process, so that the operator is freed up to help turn paper and run the feeder on our other, five-color Komori” that sets next to the GL840. (Bison also owns a 28-inch, five-color Lithrone sheetfed model.) Beisser observers, “we are saving half a second pressman over two shifts, which equates to one full man per year. We have had the Sentinel iPro running for 6 months and we look forward to a speedy return-on-investment.”

Like many other print service providers, the industry’s skilled labor shortage has hit Bison hard, according to Beisser, a second-generation owner, along with his two brothers, of the company their father started in a basement in 1977. “There are not many shops left in our region, and we have a hard time finding and hiring experienced people,” he observes. “The problem has only gotten worse over time.”

Less ink waste, more productivity

“The types of work we run vary so much,” comments Beisser, “from light ink coverage to heavy-coverage ‘paint jobs.’ So much of the ink savings depends on the paper being used. With the Sentinel system there’s no ink left in the cartridge.”

“Let’s face it: Scraping out ink by hand largely depends on a person’s mood,” laughs Beisser. “If someone leaves half a pound in the can, it will add up after a while.” Tempering waste ink helps to track job-to-job consumables usage and allows Bison’s estimators to tweak pricing accordingly. “We hit reset or ‘zero out’ on a new job, and Sentinel gives us a true number,” he continues. “That beats counting cans in the trash!”

He also has gauged better productivity on longer press runs requiring a lot of ink coverage. “With Sentinel, we don’t need anybody physically up on the printing units,” Beisser says. All monitoring is done from the main console, “and the whole function is automated, even the agitators,” he adds. With no ink backing up in the fountains, their Komori machine runs cleaner with “less goop on the knives.”

“Ease of operation is important to the Beisser brothers, and Franz feels that managing ink with Pamarco’s automation makes the press simpler and, obviously, less “manual” to run,” concludes Sentinel’s McAnally. “In the end, that enhances employee retention which is a huge plus in today’s market.”

If you would like more information about how the Sentinel iPro system can benefit your business, fill out the following form.