Take a look inside Nameplates for Industry, a screen-printing shop that has served the North American industrial-graphics market for more than 20 years.
By Lori Leaman
The company brought UV-curable screen-printing inks to the production floor for the first time in 1986. NFI was an early adopter of UV technology in the industrial printing market, but the shop immediately realized the benefits of the much cleaner process and the ability to print finer lines and details. The staff also enjoyed the health benefits of switching to UV inks for most jobs. Workers previously had to wear respirators in the production area to combat the strong aroma and health hazards associated with exposure to solvent inks.
NFI also consulted with a company that specialized in air-purification systems and purchased a custom-designed solution that dramatically improved the cleanliness of the air by delivering a steady stream of filtered fresh air from the ceiling. The fresh air is drawn downward, pushing the polluted, solvent-ridden air toward the floor, where it is sucked into filtering units. NFI was so impressed with the system that the company decided it would be a fixture in any other facilities that it occupied.
Steady growth and a growing client base prompted NFI to move to a larger, 12,000-sq-ft facility in an up-to-date industrial park located in New Bedford. The company's growing sales volume also made it necessary to add printing and diecutting equipment. Three printing presses, two diecutting systems, and semi-automatic doming equipment rounded out the expansion. Today, NFI employs 53 and keeps an assortment of equipment on hand to support the jobs it produces for various industries.
NFI's design department is home to nine Apple Macintosh computers, a few PC workstations, and a 2400-dpi Linotronic imagesetter. The design department also has a Vastech film processor, a few laser printers, and a color scanner. Today's equipment is considerably more sophisticated that the Rapidograph pen, T-squares, triangles, and hand-pasted type that ruled during the company's infancy. Back then, the artists produced all art by hand at two or three times the intended size. They then used a process camera to capture the artwork and reduce it to a film positive of respectable quality. NFI still has some of that artwork on file!
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