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Investments in Innovation

(October 2009) posted on Mon Sep 21, 2009

A Profile of Screenprint/Dow

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By Ben P. Rosenfield

“Some health and beauty customers like the idea of large-format graphics for displays or floor graphics, so we’re in the process of introducing those customers to Screenprint/Dow to show them what we can do on these presses as far as large-format is concerned and demonstrate that we can produce a label and P-O-P campaign for them,” Dow says.

Expansion into wide-format digital
“We’ve invested in five inkjet printers and a digital diecutter, because we found that market was increasing about 40%, while the membrane-switch and overlay business was up maybe a couple of percentage points,” Dow explains.

The company’s stable of wide-format inkjet printers includes the two Mimaki UJV-110s, two EFI VUTEk QS2000s, and an Inca Spyder 320 Q—all of which print UV-curable inks. The shop uses a Kongsberg digital diecutting system to finish the rigid graphics produced on inkjet printers. The production floor is configured in such a way that graphics can move from the inkjet printers directly onto the Kongsberg’s 60 x 120-in. table.

Jim Pond is Screenprint/Dow’s product manager for digital graphics. The company first stepped into the market with Mimaki printers for wide-format graphics, he says.

“We started by printing some large overlays. Most of our business was in the realm of 36 x 36 in. and smaller. We had never really printed anything that was 50 in. wide x 100 in. long, and these presses allowed us to start testing that marketplace.”

The decision to pursue digitally printed graphics as a source of business involved the purchase of VUTEk printers, which Pond describes as higher-level production machines, and the Inca Spyder 320 Q—a printer Pond calls “an almost photographic-level system” for producing graphics that, as he puts it, can compete with output from Lambda and Lightjet continuous-tone systems.

It would appear that Screenprint/Dow spent a small fortune—or an enormous one, depending on your oulook—on some big-time equipment in a very short period of time. But according to Pond, the benefits to the company’s bottom line have already made up for the price of admission.


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