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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.


By Lori Leaman

click an image below to view slideshow

The following year, the company purchased an M&R Conquest six-color press, an Epson Stylus Pro 9600 proofing system, and another OYO Liberator XE 5400. But within two years, Graphic Trends sold the M&R carousel and bought a Thieme 5070 five-color, large format (62 x 103-in.) inline press. In 2004, the company welcomed its first piece of digital equipment, a NUR Tempo flatbed inkjet printer. Graphic Trends also made a major transition in its prepress processes with the implementation of a CST DLE directto- screen system. Last year, the company added its second DLE system and expanded its prepress department with an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and a Grunig automatic screen coater. Graphic Trends also grew its family of digital printers with the addition of a VUTEk 5330 printer from EFI. Today, the 60-employee outfit specializes in printing a variety of graphics, such as banners, window clings, bus/ transit shelter graphics, P-O-P signage, and more, for an array of clients in the fast-food, retail, movie, and automotive industries.

Where it all happens

Graphic Trends’ prepress department is a top priority when it comes to investing in advanced technologies. The prepress area houses six employees, four Mac G5 stations, Epson 9800 and Epson 9600 proofing devices, and an OYO thermal imagesetting device. The staff uses the Epsons to output proofs for customers and perform color-correction work for production. The OYO serves primarily as a backup system for the company’s direct-to-screen equipment (Figure 1).

“We were the first CST direct-toscreen owners in the US, and we were the first company to purchase two CST systems in the US,” says Allen Gasper, production manager. “We are 99% direct to screen now. It was a huge transition and really has added a great deal of consistency, efficiency, and cost competitiveness in our industry. That has been a very vital and big change to our workflow and prepress environment.”

The prepress staff uses ProfileMaker5 to build, create, and edit color profiles for different inks and substrate combinations. They create the company’s ICC profiles in house (Figure 2), in addition to handling linearization and calibration functions for the prepress and printing equipment. Harlequin, ColorBurst, and Wasatch are the shop’s RIP software programs of choice.


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