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Concept to Construction: A Profile of ECI Screenprint, Inc.

(June 2009) posted on Fri Jun 12, 2009

ECI Screenprint's world is populated by technical schematics, precision machinery, and demanding applications. But as you'll discover, it's the human element that ultimately allows this industrial-printing specialist to grow and explore new technologies.


By Ben P. Rosenfield

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Thomaston, CT is a small New England town that fewer than 8000 people call home. Its name pays homage to Seth Thomas, a famous clock maker who, nearly 200 years ago, set up shop in what was then called Plymouth Hollow. He often is credited as being a pioneer in the mass production of clocks of high quality and innovative design. Perhaps that’s why membrane-switch producer ECI Screenprint, Inc. finds the old Seth Thomas Clock Co. factory a natural fit for its design and manufacturing headquarters.

ECI Screenprint opened in 1991 with co-owners Edward Cook and Irma E. Diaz at the helm. The business that would become a specialist in high-quality and high-tolerance design, printing, and assembly of membrane switches and related products actually got its start in P-O-P displays and labeling. It was during the first few years of operation that Cook’s background in engineering moved to the forefront at ECI and shifted the shop’s focus to industrial applications.

“It blossomed from the fact that I’m an engineer and I’ve always enjoyed the type of business were I can look at a blueprint, talk to an engineer, and get into details,” Cook explains. “I think that although P-O-P started us off and helped us get going, which was very helpful in the beginning, our emphasis has always been to build usable graphics for industrial applications.”

Rather than dedicate further marketing resources to securing point-of-purchase work, ECI instead made its commitment to membrane switches and placed a full-page ad in the Thomas Register to promote its abilities in planning, engineering, production, assembly, and rapid prototyping and turnaround. Cook says he believes ECI was the first to offer five-day turnaround for high-end membrane switches, including rush jobs from customers who needed fully functional prototypes—a service that helped ECI make a name for itself in industrial screen printing and manufacturing, grow its business, and service valuable accounts in times of economic uncertainty.

 

Equipment and specialties

ECI uses many of the standard screen-printing products available in the marketplace in prepress, production, and finishing. The shop then modifies or upgrades them in house to improve registration and material handling and to minimize operator intervention.


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