Short-Run Economics

For more than 60 years, The Colad Group has built a reputation for excellence, delivering world-class packaging solutions to a variety of Fortune 5000 clients throughout North America. As the global economic downturn began to take hold, Todd Anson, president of Colad, noticed a greater demand for shorter-run print jobs as companies tried to achieve cost savings by printing more strictly according to need.

Colad was using two offset presses, but Anson decided that a high-speed digital press would most effectively meet the company's short- and medium-run print job needs. It was not long before Anson settled on the Xeikon 6000 digital color press.

“We've got plenty of big guns for runs over 10,000 pieces, but fewer folks want 10,000,” Anson says. “They want 1,000 or fewer per order; then they order multiple times. It's understandable with the uncertain economy.”

Productivity & Imaging Width Are Key

The productivity of the Xeikon 6000 was a compelling factor for Colad. “There are plenty of wide format flatbed presses out there, but they're just really slow,” says Anson. “It could literally take an entire shift to print a small job, whereas right now we can do that in one hour or less.”

In addition, the Xeikon 6000 can run 20-in.-wide rolls with almost no limitations on the length of the printed image and on a wide variety of substrates. It can print at true 1,200 dpi at 4 bits per spot for incredible quality, exceeding Colad's image quality needs.

“For us, one of the primary benefits of the Xeikon 6000 is the format flexibility of the machine with its 20-inch web width and unlimited length,” Anson says. “So, we can easily produce applications with 20 inch by 40 inch sheet size. You can fit a lot on the 40-inch direction if you compare that with other presses in this space. That alone made it easy to say, ‘Hey these other machines won't work for us.’”

Colad was able to secure several new clients in the first few months of running the Xeikon 6000 with its expanded short-run productivity. The company has received requests for digitally printed paperboard packaging and litho-mounted corrugated boxes, and in each case the quantity was less than 250.

“In the past, I doubt we would have gotten any of these jobs. The way the pricing works with offset presses, you are always looking to amortize your costs over as many sheets as you can due to the upfront makeready steps. A digital press has none of those issues,” Anson says.

Response Highly Positive

Anson adds the response from his clients to the Xeikon 6000, both through surveys and direct conversations, has been overwhelmingly affirmative. “So far it's just been really strong and positive. Even folks we hadn't heard from in a long time are coming out of the woodwork and saying, ‘Oh wow, I'll have to let my folks know you have this.’ We're now going to be an option for them,” he says.

Another advantage of the Xeikon 6000 is the intuitive interface of its X-800 digital front end, which Colad has been able to integrate seamlessly into its workflow. “The X-800 front-end software is very powerful,” says Anson. “It's got a lot of built-in features we've been able to take advantage of. The flexibility and ease of use of the X-800 are two big assets.” As a result, his team has been able to achieve improved print quality and consistency while reducing waste and increasing overall efficiency with the X-800.

Converter Info

  • The Colad Group LLC | 801 Exchange St., Buffalo, NY 14210 | 800-950-1755 |

Supplier Info

A Diverse Client Base

Founded in 1947 by two entrepreneurs who sold advertising printed on paper textbook covers, The Colad Group has grown into an industry leader with more than 5,000 customers, an 80,000-sq-ft production plant based in Buffalo, NY, and an in-house packaging design team that has secured many package design patents.

“The products we make run the gamut from the real simple to the real complex,” says Todd Anson, president. The company's catalog includes paperboard packaging, multimedia storage, file folders, totes and boxes, turned-edge ring binders, presentation folders, slipcases, mailers, and easel displays and accessories.

With its in-house creative resources, Colad's team can handle the most complex and challenging jobs. Notable projects include the development of a swatch kit box for one client that contains 1,360 carpet samples.

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