LifeSprings Media, established in 1919, was previously known as Advocate Press before becoming LifeSprings in 1995. The company, located in Franklin Springs, GA, operates both offset and digital printers including a 40" Heidelberg press and a newer Canon VarioPrint 6270 Titan press, an upgrade to replace two older toner-based machines.
About 85% of LifeSprings' work is producing booklets for church clients as well as manuals and technical documentation for heavy machinery. "We saw a big change in our business in the 2007/2008 timeframe" says Scott Benson, Manager, "including a significant decrease in run lengths which drove more volume to our digital presses, and thus, the upgrades. But we also saw a need to both eliminate bottlenecks in the bindery and ensure we had capacity there for growth."
Benson notes that, with toner-based printing and in-line finishing, the press has to go down if the finishings unit goes down. Because of that limitation, there was interests in enhancing the bindery to take the finishing offline. "In addition," he says, "we had older folders, stitchers, and perfect binders from a variety of different vendors. This meant finishing a booklet took several steps and several pieces of equipment, with set-up and make-ready waste for each. For the perfect binding we were doing in house, we had to take bound books to the cutter to trim them, an extra step. We wanted to get set up with the bindery equipment we needed to take care of these bottlenecks, but also allow us to grow toward the eventual acquisition of a production inkjet press that will likely ultimately replace our offset press."
Most of the staff of industry veterans at LifeSprings had used Standard Horizon equipment in the past. Benson says, "When it came to acquiring new bindery equipment, we knew that Horizon has always been the most reliable. It is tried and true. when you make that investment, you know it is something that will last you for a long while and pay off. We wanted to make sure we had something that is going to be around for the long term and is going to be reliable. That's why we went with Standard Horizon."
The company acquired three pieces of Standard Horizon equipment: the StitchLiner Mark III Saddlestitcher with three collating towers, the BQ-270 Perfect Binder, and the HT-30C Three-side Trimmer. "This consolidated our booklet making into one integrated process," Benson explains. "It cut our make-ready time and waste down to almost nothing, and it reduced our offset overruns from 8% to 10% to just a few sheets." With the perfect binder, we believe it will allow us to significantly reduce the amount of perfect binding we have been outsourcing, reducing those costs and gaining increased control over lead times, plus with the Three-side Trimmer, the books come out ready to go on the shelf."
While the production staff at LifeSprings was used to manually adjusting machines, adjustments on the new equipment are controlled from the touch screens. "It's a big change for us," Benson says, "but everyones loves the equipment. And now we have room to grow. We can better meet the needs of today, and we have the capacity both to expand the current business and to look for new customers and new applications as well."
Benson worked with the local Standard Horizon dealer, Graphic Technology Group, and was pleased with their service and support as well as that from Standard. "Dealing with Graphic Technology Group and Standard is more like a partnership," he says. "They are in it for the long haul. Your problem is their problem, and they have been great to work with. Plus, as we make this transition from offset to whatever the modern shop is going to look like, they have solutions to meet those needs, and we feel really good about working with them when it comes to finishing."