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Hatteras Invests in RMGT 9 Series Press: Completes Expansion to New 90,000 SF Facility

Hatteras, Inc. is a member of the WBENC, the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a full-service communication delivery company founded in 1977. Based in greater Detroit, MI, they are celebrating their 43nd year anniversary serving corporate communication clients in the automotive, creative, financial and education sectors of the national economy. To maintain their leadership role in offset print, they have recently replaced legacy presses with a fully automated six-color RMGT 940 Series press that is equipped with LED-UV curing, in-line coating and RMGT’s Insta.Color make-ready automation.

"Over the years, my sister Becky and I have grown Hatteras in a conservatively aggressive fashion,” states James Nesbitt, CEO, Hatteras, Inc. “We bought seven different companies along the way allowing us to grow into services that would have been difficult to build from scratch. About eight years ago we got into the full size 40” print market with a used six color Heidelberg. While that greatly expanded our service offerings, the press was costly to maintain and slow to set up and run. So, a couple of years ago we started looking at the RMGT and what it could offer us. This investment coincided with a move to our new 90,000 square foot headquarters and production facility in Plymouth MI. We are proud to occupy the historic Burroughs complex where adding machines, calculators and early mainframe computers were manufactured for many decades.”
Hatteras, Inc. has a target market of high-end print and distribution for ad agencies, managing outsourced print for large companies, financial and healthcare statement printing, and book manufacturing. “With an aging 40” Heidelberg, we realized we were spending half of the cost of the payment on a new press just in repairs,” states Nesbitt. “We needed a press to produce high end color, and the legacy press was just getting too expensive to maintain. We had to decide if we wanted to stay in the high-quality color market… we either needed to get in or get out. We decided to get in and purchased the six color RMGT 9 Series with LED-UV curing and had it installed in our new facility.”
Offset vs. Digital
Hatteras uses a hybrid print production approach that leverages both offset and digital. “Each printing technology obviously has its own strengths and weaknesses,” observes Nesbitt. “With the incredibly fast makeready and running speed of the RMGT 9 Series, the run length has to either be really small or variable to justify running it digitally. We do a fair amount of both very, very short run jobs or fully variable jobs in our shop, so digital has a role in our workflow. We are also printing LED cured shells that are personalized on our fleet of digital machines. Interestingly, jobs that we initially considered for digital print, such as covers on short run books, have been produced faster and have better lamination adhesion with offset print that comes off the new RMGT 9 Series.”
New markets
“The short run book manufacturing market is new for us,” states Nesbitt. “The RMGT 9 Series is a perfect complement to the HP T240 that we installed. We print the covers on the RMGT and the HP prints the text pages of the books. We have two really cutting-edge pieces of equipment to produce short run books for publishers around the country and their response has been incredible.”
“Another part of our regular business is printing on low-tack adhesive window clings," observes Nesbitt. "This was frequently a disaster before the RMGT. Jobs would lay spread out around the shop for days to dry. Sometimes they’d never dry regardless of the different ink mixes we tried. Successfully producing these window clings and printing plastic license plates on styrene are now a complete non-factor. They run through our press just like any other job.”
Increased productivity
“We are consistently running jobs at run speeds that are 50% faster than the legacy press,” comments Nesbitt. “We typically ran it at 8,000 sheets per hour. Many of our jobs now run at 12-15,000 sheets per hour with no loss of quality or register. We’re driving our set-up times and make-ready sheets lower and lower. Both factors have allowed us to charge a much higher hourly rate and still hit the estimated production targets for the job.”
“We are inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of family-owned businesses like Hatteras. Becky and James’ parents started Hatteras in 1977 and my Dad started Graphco in 1976 so both companies have thrived over many years in business.” states Chris Manley, President of Graphco, Midwest and Southeast Distributor for RMGT. “Their determination to not only survive but to succeed during the challenging times since their press came on-line testifies to the wisdom of strategic investment in offset. Offset still drives the vast majority of revenue for commercial printers, and dramatically improving the profitability of their largest revenue source provides the greatest impact on the bottom line. As our industry rebounds we believe companies like Hatteras who have the right platform for their offset print will continue to enjoy an Unfair Advantage.”

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