Koenig & Bauer large format Rapida 164 Eight-Color supports explosive demand and growth at Huston Patterson

April 10, 2018

When Tonya Kowa-Morelli took over the reigns at Huston Patterson, her family’s privately owned package printing business in August 2013, the industry as a whole was still rebounding from economic and digital challenges. But in those past four years, she has re-shaped and re-invigorated the company to compete effectively and efficiently posting double-digit sales and demonstrating that the next generation within the family has the leadership chops to continue its fast-paced growth.

Kowa-Morelli, the third generation to operate the business, was named president of the firm after serving in various sales, marketing and leadership roles for nine years. In her first year as president, her sales team notched a 30% increase while reducing spoilage and seeing increased efficiency in the pressroom. Under her guidance both Illinois facilities---Huston Patterson in Decatur and Sigma Graphics in Ottawa---continue to add the latest technology to benefit their clients. This month under her watchful eyes, Kowa-Morelli signed a contract for a new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 164 64-inch eight-color press with coating to be installed later this year at its 110,000 sq ft Decatur facility.

After careful consideration, the new press was chosen to provide additional capacity for the extraordinary increase in sales, boost its capabilities especially for the growing specialty coating market, and further its fast-turnaround and flexibility for the large format package printing industry it serves. The new press will be installed alongside the firm’s existing Koenig & Bauer 64-inch seven-color with UV, 64-inch six-color, and 56-inch six-color as well as the Rapida 105 40-inch seven-color UV press at Sigma Graphics.

“The name of the game in our industry is to stand out on a store shelf,” says Joseph Morelli, Huston Patterson’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We want to provide our clients with that ‘wow’ factor. If you’re going up against high quality well known brands, the way to get attention is to use specialty coating effects to draw a consumer’s eye to your products.”

For added flexibility and speed, Huston Patterson specified the new Rapida 164 with UV and sidelay-free infeed DriveTronic SIS technology. The latter automatically aligns every single sheet calmly and effortlessly. With an additional press having UV capability, Huston Patterson can provide quicker turn times with fast instant cure UV drying as well as the flexibility to utilize those specialty value-added coatings, such as strike through, spot, soft touch, and gloss.

“This will be our go-to press,” says Morelli of the new Rapida 164. “It will be handed the bulk of our work but its three sister presses will remain important to boosting our capacity. In the last two to three years, our company has exploded with new job orders. It’s been an exciting development for us.”

An important capability for Huston Patterson is its ability to match its client’s specific brand colors on its printed jobs. The firm is proud to have achieved G7 Master Printer status in utilizing its technology from proof to press. Its clients benefit in cost savings, efficiency, and the reliability and quality in the best color management methods. The new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 164 is equipped with QualiTronic ColorControl, a popular technology that utilizes a camera system installed after the last printing or coating unit. The system permits automatic measurements of optical density in the freshly printed color bars. These measurement values serve as a basis for fast dynamic inline control of the ink key settings.

Over the years that Kowa-Morelli has been involved in the business, she has maintained a long-lasting partnership with KBA North America and Steve Korn, KBA director of national and key accounts. “We’ve visited the factory in Germany and have seen up-close the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into building their printing presses,” says Kowa-Morelli. “Our previous four Koenig & Bauer presses have displayed the high quality printing output and the outstanding stalwart engineering that the firm is known for. Those presses allowed our firm to expand our footprint and are a big reason for our success.”

Steve Korn, KBA director of national and key accounts, adds, "This capital investment signals that Huston Patterson, one of the oldest independent family packaging printing companies in North America is once again making a significant investment for its clients to drive further improvement and to answer the capacity needs due to Huston Patterson’s growing customer base and increasing sales volume. We congratulate the Kowa family and their dedicated team of customer centric employees on their fifth KBA press investment and the step-change technology advancements that come with it, this time for another large-format 64˝ press providing even greater speed to market and unprecedented 64” redundancy at Huston Patterson in the large-format market space for their clients.” He continues, “We cherish the genuine partnership and trust that we’ve created together over so many years with Huston Patterson. We are certain that this new KBA press will help to efficiently move more projects through production, fuel future growth, and continue Huston Patterson's legacy of the highest quality printing and on-time service organization for many years to come."

As a world-class printing organization and a full service package printer, Huston Patterson specializes in providing both offset and digitally printed top sheets and litho labels to the corrugated industry. Huston Patterson provides unparalleled value and performance, through the effective use of craftsmanship and technology by incorporating the principles of trust, integrity and commitment. Located in Decatur, Illinois Huston Patterson is strategically headquartered to meet the logistical demands of clients from coast to coast. Having been in business for more than 115 years HP is the longest-standing package printer in North America.

For more information, visit www.hustonpatterson.com.

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