Darwill, now based in Hillside, Illinois, was founded more than a half-century ago as a family business, with the founder selling during the day and printing at night. Over the ensuing years, the company continued to grow and innovate, getting into variable data printing more than 20 years ago, producing highly customized benefits statements.
But the truly transformational move came when Darwill acquired a Canon ColorStream 3500 continuous-feed production inkjet press. “We knew we had a certain amount of volume that we could transition to a white-paper-in model,” says Mark DeBoer, the company’s Director of Customer Experience. “That was where we could reduce waste and inventory for our clients, and where color matching was not as critical since everything would be printed in one pass. This shaped our investment decision, and that has led to waves of transformation ever since.”
DeBoer points out that Darwill had always been a sheet-fed operation. “There was a lot to learn adding roll-fed to the mix,” he adds. “That includes storing and moving large rolls of paper, which we didn’t have to deal with before.”
Darwill has a good mix of both long-run and highly customized short-run work. “It wasn’t too much longer before we added a second roll-fed press, a Canon ColorStream 3900,” DeBoer says. “The 3900 was both a back-up system and for use in longer runs that are now becoming more common in our business. A key configuration consideration for both systems was the finishing.”
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