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Printing Under Pressure: A Profile of Graphic Trends

(July 2007) posted on Tue Jul 10, 2007

Graphics Trends is a shop that has earned its stripes by servicing the most demanding of clients. Find out how this graphics printer combines the latest technologies and a drive to satisfy in order to remain a leader in a high-stakes market.

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By Lori Leaman

In the screenmaking area (Figure 3), you’ll find an 86 x 160-in. Grunig automatic screen-coating system, a 92 x 160- in. Sefar screen stretcher, and 92 x 180- in. Douthitt vacuum frame. The company rarely uses its traditional screenmaking equipment and only keeps it for the sake of redundancy. In fact, Graphic Trends may get rid of its vacuum frame system because of the large amount of space it takes up in the screenmaking area.

The production department is home to a staff of 20 and several largeformat printing devices, including inline and single-color screen presses (Figure 4) and inkjets (Figure 5). UV dryers and a 120-in. Thieme TSC 310 squeegee cutter round out the equipment in that area. The production floor is always bustling, and when the jobs stack up, it’s not uncommon for Graphic Trends to run two 12-hour shifts in this department. On any given day, you’ll see the presses churning out graphics in a range of sizes and on a wide assortment of substrates. Examples of typical jobs include 5 x 8-ft, two-sided banners, 10 x 15-ft banners, 14 x 48-ft billboards, 50 x 71-in. graphics for bus shelters, 40 x 60-in. banners, and static-cling and paper signage for retail stores (Figure 6). 0 1 2

Graphic Trends’ inline presses play a critical role in supporting the volume of job orders the company receives, the size of the jobs, and the immediate turnaround times. Gasper explains that in the P-O-P market, especially in the shop’s part of the country, the demand for screen printers to offer impressive turnaround times and high-quality graphics is considerably different from the pressure put on printers in other parts of the US. Clients in southern California insist on press checks—not a few times per month, but anywhere from two to eight times in one day.

“The only way to achieve that in an efficient manner and to meet the tight deadlines that we have to adhere to is to have the sophistication of an inline machine,” Gasper says. “You won’t survive in the southern California environment without it.”


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