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Investments in Innovation

(October 2009) posted on Mon Sep 21, 2009

A Profile of Screenprint/Dow


By Ben P. Rosenfield

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Most companies would cringe at the thought of spending six or seven figures on new equipment and product development during a recession. Not Screenprint/Dow. In fact, the business owes much of its success over the last four decades to a strategy of identifying product niches, making the right purchases at the right times, and embracing new technologies. This practice has also given Screenprint/Dow the enviable position of being first  to market with lucrative products on more than one occasion.

Areas of specialty
Founded in 1969, Screenprint/Dow is owned by Walter Dow and Bob Boileau. The company started in a 4000-sq-ft space with four or five employees and has since grown to 85 on-site employees and a 36,000-sq-ft facility in Wilmington, MA.

Screenprint/Dow spent much of its 40 years solely as a producer of product-identification solutions, graphic overlays, and membrane switches (Figure 1). The company expanded into wide-format digital printing four years ago and, in the past two years, has turned that segment into a noteworthy source of revenue. We’ll discuss the digital side of the company in a moment. First, let’s take a look at the company’s core set of industrial specialties.

Graphic overlays Screenprint/Dow uses screen printing, offset, and digital printing (UV inkjet and HP Indigo) to produce graphic overlays on materials such as PVC, polyester, and polycarbonate. Complementary production and finishing options include Pantone color matching, four-color-process printing, embossing, doming, selective textures, dead fronts, UL/CSA constructions, and lots more.

“We’re able to combine all of these technologies,” says co-owner Walter Dow. “With our electronic prepress infrastructure, we’re able to match color exactly right on, no matter the print process. We can use the HP Indigo for short runs or samples, show the customers what they’re going to get, and when the runs get larger we can put the jobs on offset and duplicate what we get on the Indigo.”

Membrane switches Screenprint/Dow designs and manufactures membrane switches and switch assemblies in house. The company employs electrical engineers to assist customers in product development and to join salespeople when they make calls to ensure that customer needs are clear and that Screenprint/Dow can guarantee production to their specifications. The company provides options such as embedded components (i.e., resistors and LEDs), backlighting via electroluminescent panels and fiber optics, embossing, metal backers, and more.


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