Alaniz unveils Xerox tech
New printer, creation of jobs gets Branstad's attention.
By CHRISTINIA CRIPPES
MOUNT PLEASANT – "It's a game-changer," said Scott Wagner of the new CiPress 500 waterless inkjet printer developed by his company, Xerox Corp.
The printer takes up half of a room within the walls of the Alaniz plant at 425 N. Iris St.
When Xerox hatched the idea for the state-of-the-art technology, the company decided to develop it with the customer in mind, which meant partnering with a company that would one day use the product.
For dmh Marketing Partners' chief technology officer Randy Seberg, it meant an opportunity for his company, which is a parent company to Alaniz.
Since January, Seberg and Alaniz employees have been running millions of feet of paper through the quiet and efficient machine to ensure the unique technology works properly. It more than met the test when Seberg tried it out on clients' orders and they didn't notice any difference.
With the technology is being put to use at the company, Seberg sees nearly endless possibilities. Thanks in part to the new technology, Seberg said Alaniz is set to go from about 485 employees this past spring to about 800 within a year.
"It's been a great, great experience through this process," Seberg said to a crowd gathered in a tent on the Alaniz grounds to hear about the new printer, adding it took a little while to wrap his brain around the technology, which allows for waterless inkjet printing.
The technology, as well as the addition of about 300 jobs, was more than enough to impress Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, who also attended the celebration.
"I'm excited; you definitely got my attention," Branstad said. "We're very excited about this. It's a great example of businesses partnering together. We're very appreciative that Xerox has chosen to partner here with this great, dynamic company in Mount Pleasant. This is really significant."
He said he wants to supplement the good things already going on in the state by passing new legislation that reduces businesses' taxes and regulatory "burdens" to make Iowa more competitive.
While Branstad touted the efforts already under way to sunset and review all regulations, he said more needs to be done to reform the tax code. Specifically, he said he will again make it a priority to reduce commercial property taxes from 100 percent of valuation to 60 percent of valuation.
Efforts in the Iowa Legislature to pass such legislation during the 2011 session were foiled by Senate Democrats, who were concerned about the bill's impact on local governments.
Branstad said the other priority of the 2012 legislative session, which kicks off Jan. 9, will be to reform the state's education system. After hosting an education summit this summer, Branstad said he will release his initial recommendations Oct. 3.
"You have to have the infrastructure, the work ethic, the tax and business regulatory climate, and you also have to have private sector companies … willing to take the risk and make investments," Branstad said.
The governor, who previously served as the state's chief executive from 1983 to 1999, also shared his story of cold-calling Walmart founder Sam Walton in an effort to get a distribution center in Iowa, as opposed to another Midwest state. The call was a success, and the center now resides in Mount Pleasant.
Branstad tried the same tactics Wednesday with Xerox Corp. officials.
After learning about the solid granules of cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks, which are manufactured in the United States, the governor asked Wagner whether the company is looking to expand its manufacturing operation.
"What's the chance of getting that made here in Iowa?" Branstad asked Wagner on a tour of the about 5-by-25-foot inkjet printer and its capabilities. "That's what I'm getting at."
While Wagner did not answer the governor directly, it wasn't hard to see why Branstad was impressed by the technology.
The equipment encompasses more than 2,000 patents; it reduces costs, reduces labor, eliminates the need for water, and it's consistent, Wagner said on the tour. The ink itself requires no special handling and is lighter and cleaner than its water-based cousins; it is heated, applied to warm paper, chilled and then pressed into the paper for a clean, stark image.
Not only that, but the machine and its ink can print nearly 2,200 unique pages per minute on just about any kind of paper. It's also one of the lowest energy devices on the market for high-speed printing.
That's why Seberg said rather than calling the machine by its official name, it has been designated the Super Press.
Story reprinted with courtesy to www.thehawkeye.com Please see the full article there.