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American Screen Art: Capitalizing on Change

(May 2006) posted on Wed May 24, 2006

Find out how the company has benefited over the last five decades by constantly transforming its production capabilities.

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By Lori Leaman

"It offered the best balance between variable printing, flexibility of substrates, and durability in the size format that allowed us to offer our customers more flexibility, faster response times, and lower inventory exposure—all pretty radical thinking for the time," Alexander says. "It was a gamble that has paid off for our customers."

Alexander credits American Screen Art with being aggressive in adapting new technology early, especially when the company sees an opportunity to help its customers. Acquiring the Indigo was justified by the benefits it brought in producing graphic labels for beverage fountains. Fountain graphics continue to be the lion's share of work performed on the HP press, but American Screen Art also has been able to use the printer for other projects, including in-house marketing collateral.

In 2003, American Screen Art made an investment in UV-inkjet technology with the purchase of a Leggett & Platt Virtu flatbed printer. Alexander says the company's desire to minimize VOC emissions was a big part of its decision to buy a UV inkjet printer. He notes that using the Virtu has brought the shop's emissions "well below what our local laws allow."

Alexander also says the Virtu's hybrid configuration gives American Screen Art the flexibility to print both wide-web roll-to-roll or rigid sheet stock. This created an opportunity to enter markets that weren't previously accessible. Retail graphics is one example. American Screen Art's Indigo allowed the shop to handle the occasional retail-graphics job, but it wasn't until the addition of the Virtu printer that the company was able to make such work a regular part of its product portfolio.

"We saw the impact that digital was having on the fleet and retail market, and we were looking for a way to leverage the available digital technology to the beverage market—not too different a thought process from what we employed when we purchased the HP Indigo years earlier," Alexander says. "In addition, our business mix was changing, with more emphasis on fleet and retail graphics. We have a long history of involvement with re-branding programs in both of those markets, having executed programs for many Fortune 500 companies in the consumer-products, service, and retail markets. We knew that to continue to grow in those markets, we would need the flexibility offered by a large-format digital press."


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