On Wednesday March 26, 2015 Softec got a back stage tour of the PRP Companies in SLO. Our tour lead was the CEO Todd Ventura and he clearly knows his industry and has the passion for their tech.
PRP Companies are broadly described as a commercial printer but they are much more than just that. PRP Companies do print, apparel, creative, mail, and web. We got a backstage tour lead by Todd Ventura who walked us through the pre-press, large format, high-speed digital, color printing, bindery, mail.
The pre-press room consists of a several high-end macs with a printer that outputs metal film (plates) for the press. This replaces what used to be a larger staff setting up the film to finally create the plates. Now the plates are optimized and rendered directly.
Large Format Printing
The large format department consists of several large printers including a latex printer that avoids lots of the environmental issues of ink printing. This department creates lots of large format items including Vehicle Wraps, Floor Graphics, Trade Show Graphics, and Banners. One interesting us of large format is the ability to create custom wallpaper and I can think of all sort of creative uses for that. The key to this department is that the print is big and so is the impact.
High Speed Digital Printing
This department consists of multiple high-speed digital printers and the range of projects varies greatly. In production during our tour was a book that was printed and spiral bound – a great way to have a lay-flat document. Todd talked to us about many of the improvements in this area being able to handle materials that were impossible a few years ago. As an example they can print a box in these printers and then fold them out to the final box form.
Color Printing Printing
To me this is the heart an soul of a commercial printers and in this department they were running a magazine and the technology is amazing. The print runs through 6 colors to a sealant and dryer resulting in a fully set print with wonderful resolution that can be process ready to bindery in just minutes. To demonstrate this Todd pulled a sheet right off the printer and rubs the page with no blurring of the ink images.
Bindery Department handles the job after printing and includes trimming, collating, and binding. The first machine Todd showed us was the cutter and it goes through several inches of paper in a single cut and the edge is perfectly straight. This requires a very sharp knife and lots of pressure. Todd demonstrated the safety equipment on this machine that is there to insure he never has an employee nicknamed Stubby. Safety and environmental controls are no joke in this company and you can see they have spent time and resources making sure the business is a professional work environment.
The second machine Todd and John demonstrated is the one in picture. This takes the print output from high speed digital or color printing departments and colates, staples, and trims on three sizes to create the final product.
Mail Processing & Inkjet Addressing
This department is the final stage for some projects where they prepare the item for delivery in the mail. This includes equipment for collating, folding, addressing, and sealing. There was no job in process during the tour but Todd did a good job explaining how this can save clients money by getting the best postal rates but doing the right prep before delivering to the USPS.
Overall the event was a great tour although I was disappointed in the turnout. Our mission of creating Softec moments are better served by large groups but the small turnout resulted in a more personalized tour of the business.
Thanks to our Host
Softec would like to thank PRP Companies for the backstage tour and the insight into how this business operates. If your business has an interesting story of interest to the technology community please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an event like this.