Bridge more than doubled its printing capacity, and is now able to produce 1,000 leather-bound books in less than five days.
Manufacturer turns the page on manual methods, automating book and CD production
While some book and CD manufacturers may have fallen on hard times, Bridge Publications is not among them. The manufacturer of books, other printed products, and CDs used by the Church of Scientology was created by L. Ron Hubbard and continues to see demand for its products soar.
In fact, so rapidly is demand increasing that Bridge recently launched a project aimed at automating the production of its CD lecture binder and custom leather-bound book collection. The project has dramatically cut production costs while increasing output. And it earned Bridge another PM100 Award for Operational Excellence.
“We are extremely pleased to have won the PM100 Award for the third consecutive year,” says Veronica Rodriguez, Bridge’s manufacturing VP. “We worked very hard to research, establish, and implement these innovative technologies.”
The lecture set, which had been assembled by hand by 60 people, features an innovative custom design with a supplemental book of references pertaining to the lecture, transcripts, and a case that holds the CDs. The goal was to package 17,500 of these lecture sets per day due to high demand. All hand labor was reviewed, and the company decided to build custom automated equipment to speed up the process. Using manual assembly methods, Bridge had been capable of producing 2,500 sets per hour. Using AutoCAD, Bridge designed and had produced by a third party a fully automated custom machine to handle the entire assembly process, enabling the company to produce 4,000 completed lecture sets per hour with only 16 people instead of 60.
Bridge also had been assembling its specialty leather-bound editions of Hubbard’s books by hand. It took the company two months to produce just 1,000 books. The company found the equipment—made by Mueller Martini—necessary to automate and bring the entire operation in-house. Bridge tested, purchased, and installed the machines, including a top-of-the-line sewing machine and a ribbon bookmark insertion machine, which were ideal for the company’s needs.
Bridge also invested in a new HP W7200 color printing press specifically for the leather-bound production. This machine allowed the company to cut the cost of producing each book almost in half. With this color printing press, Bridge more than doubled its printing capacity, and the company is now able to produce 1,000 leather-bound books in less than five days.