When Huston Patterson chose to specifically invest in a new eight color Koenig & Bauer Rapida 164, its management team, led by Tonya Kowa-Morelli, saw the potential of being of the only printer among its competitors with this specific large-format configuration.
The Illinois-based packaging printer gave its sales team the advantage to sell jobs designed for a 64-inch eight color press with the option of UV or AQ coating. Since the installation at its 110,000 sq ft Decatur facility, the company is producing top quality color critical packaging that can be found up and down the aisles of any retailer such as a local grocery store, pharmacy, Walmart and Amazon.
Operating 24/7, its new Rapida 64-inch press is in full production along with its Rapida 56-inch six-color press. “These are our go-to presses,” says Tonya Kowa-Morelli, President of Huston Patterson. “But the new Rapida 164 has the speed, automation and color control features that can produce more efficiently for our higher-end color critical work. Our internal tracking system tells us that the new Rapida is giving us 15% faster speeds and has reduced our makeready in half. In particular, Koenig & Bauer’s color management system with internal camera allows us to excel at efficiently matching color and producing jobs built with five, six, seven or more PMS colors. We have to meet the demands of our clients and the Koenig & Bauer color management system ensures we exceed their expectations.”
Kowa-Morelli is grateful that they already had the new press in operation before 2020 hit. As a business owner, she acknowledges that it’s been a challenging year yet she proudly notes that the month of September has been the company’s best ever over the course of its history and sales have been growing during the past three months along with ten new customers, all on board virtually. During the spring when most printers were affected by the pandemic, Huston Patterson saw an increase in its consumable goods and pharmaceutical packaging, specifically the quick production of thousands of much-needed COVID test kits.
“The start-up of this new Koenig & Bauer press was our most exciting,” she says. “We’ve had four previous Rapida press installations but you could just see the massive speed, all of its new technology, and computerization. Our new Rapida 164 has certainly surpassed our expectations. We’ve formed a strong alliance with Koenig & Bauer over the years, which has maximized our company’s growth over the three generations of our family’s ownership of the business.”
“We are so proud of the continued close partnership Koenig & Bauer enjoys with the Kowa family and Huston Patterson,” says Steve Korn, Director of National and Key Accounts for Koenig & Bauer. “The new Rapida 164 will provide Huston Patterson with a competitive edge and provide its customers with unrivalled specialty printing and coating options for the foreseeable future.”