Stack 2320 has utility for Utilitec
Utility bills & statements.
1, 2 or 3-up offset stacks with variable full bleed cuts and dynamic perforation.
Ricoh InfoPrint 5000.
TC 1550 PLUS 1 Dynamic Perforator.
When you go into something this big you figure there will be some bumps but we haven’t experienced that. We’re happy with the up‑time and there’s been minimal down‑time – it has been a nice partnership with Tecnau.
Long a successful data processing, printing and document composition company, for more than a decade Utilitec has become the go-to expert for providing high-quality print solutions for both large and small utility companies throughout the U.S.
In printing their customers’ bills, Utilitec, an Ancor company, serves as the “face” of a utility and a partner in providing their primary form of communication with the end user. Even though research shows that 50 percent of most utility’s customers pay their bills electronically, the vast majority still wants to receive the paper bill in the mail.
“In the utility billing space, our statistics indicate that on average only 10 percent of customers elect to ‘turn off’ the paper bill,” said Dave Bartkowiak, executive director of operations for Ancor, which operates Utilitec and an Automotive Label Division. “As the printed bill is still important, our clients now want a consistent look in all of their billing statements.”
As the industry has moved into more sophisticated, color statements, Utilitec had to adapt and invest in technology that would allow them to match the printed products with the online statements.
“For 10 years we’ve experienced a growth rate of between 15 to 20 percent with utility clients serving 10 to 400 thousand meters and that was a good fit for us,” said Bartkowiak.
“In the past five years, larger utilities began contacting us and we quickly realized if we wanted to be competitive, work in that market and meet our current customers’ needs, we needed to get into the color game very quickly,” he said.
Late last year the company moved into inkjet technology in their production facility in Troy, Michigan, installing a Ricoh InfoPrint 5000 along with finishing equipment from Tecnau, formerly Lasermax Roll Systems, including a Stack 2320 system and the TC 1550 Plus 1 Dynamic Perforator.
“We installed the printer in October of 2015. It was and up and running and we were producing live output in six days, which put a big smile on my face,” Bartkowiak said. “ The inkjet is much faster than traditional cut-sheet and we can now turn around larger print jobs in a much quicker manner.”
Before, in the cut‑sheet world, the company utilized preprinted shells or forms that weren’t efficient if the utility wanted or needed to make a change in the pre‑printed statement.
“We had to throw away a lot of the old forms and then reprint new ones so making any kind of bill transition was a costly mess with a lot of waste,” he said. “Now we change a bill in one day or make it seasonal. We can offer our clients more flexibility and we’ve streamlined our production process.”
Utilizing Tecnau’s most capable cutter, the Stack 2320 system operates in line or near‑line matching the top speed of the InfoPrint 5000, and also delivers 1, 2 or 3-up offset stacks with variable full bleed cuts, a must‑have function when printing full‑color. Cutter c23’s double‑cut function allows bleed printing in the running direction of the web and removes the flush line that high-speed inkjet printers require to keep the printheads fresh.
“We remove a small strip between ¼ and 1/8 of an inch but the Stack 2320 produces perfectly sized square sheets of paper that are then loaded into the high speed inserters, which makes them run better,” he said.
Utilitec also utilizes the TC 1550 PLUS’s dynamic perfing capabilities, which can allow coupons to be integrated into the printed product.
“The Tecnau equipment gives us the ability to add a perforation to page one of a utility bill but not on page two or three. This is accomplished by adding a very small 2D barcode on the page during our programming,” he said.
“Customers can tear off at the perforation and enclose it with their utility payment, while the 2D is usually trimmed off later in the process and never seen by the end customer,” he added.
Utilitec was a bit green on the perfing function and was apprehensive at first, but Bartkowiak was able to rely on Tecnau to help the company through the process.
“When you go into something this big you figure there will be some bumps but we haven’t experienced that. We’re happy with the up‑time and there’s been minimal down‑time – it has been a nice partnership with Tecnau,” he added.
Currently running their InfoPrint 5000 at medium speed, Utilitec can upgrade the inkjet’s speed if needed and Tecnau can meet that added speed requirement down the road without an additional equipment upgrade.
“As good as the InfoPrint 5000 printer is it’s no good to me if the Tecnau equipment doesn’t work,” he said. “I already had a long history with Lasermax Roll Systems over the years and we used their equipment with continuous feed printers at our other business units.”
“Tecnau’s partnership with Ricoh has made their finishing equipment a seamless part of the inkjet implementation,” Bartkowiak concluded.