Monthly Archives: June 2012

ImageSet Digital: A Field Report

On April 16 @ 2:30 p.m., the DIGM 3350 class visited ImageSet Digital. The digital printing company is located at 6611 Portwest Dr, near I-10 and the 610 Loop. I use to work down the street on Old Katy Road so I knew exactly where it was located Debbie Briggs, our tour guide, introduced herself and told us about her history in the printing industry. She started when the Linotype process was being used.  (We saw this type of press at the Museum of Printing History.) She talked about how the industry has changed over the years and how she has adapted herself to embrace these changes. She also told us with technology comes more automation and less to do. So she has expanded her business services to include marketing.

Our first stop was the Customer Service department. This is where the company’s process begins; when a customer calls a CSR (customer Service representative) and asks for a quote. Once a job starts so does its tracking. Debbie explained to us that a CSR role is the best for getting exposure to all departments.

The Press Room was next. It was a lot smaller compared to last week’s web-fed environment but it seems just as loud. ImageSet Digital is an all Indigo shop. When they went to buy this press, the manufacturer insisted that they buy two presses, so that they would not go down. The Indigo prints a 13″ x 19” sheet. Debbie said the industry is moving toward this larger format. The press uses “liquid toner”; which is toner suspended in oil. We were introduced to Jose, who worked for Indigo.  It was reiterated that presses are more automated now and how providing more services would set you apart from the competition.

The Bindery was our next stop. Of course, there was an employee working the cutting machine because most everything had to be trimmed (being printed on a large format). She listed all their bindery elements, which are comparable to what we had seen on other field trips.

Our last stop was the warehouse. In a room off to the side was ImadeSet’s new digital envelope press. Debbie was very proud of it and how it would provide customer with even more personalized marketing messages using variable data printing. She told us that part of the year; the warehouse was a mini M.D. Anderson card shop. Since 2006, The Children’s Art Project partnered with ImageSet to create an online catalogue based on web-to-print technology. Customers could pick a design, create a message, pick a font and color for their message, add signatures or logos and address individual envelopes with name and address in their color choice. Then proof the card and envelop online. That year, turnaround time and errors were reduced; creating a large savings for the Children’s Art Project.

I would choose to have a product printed by the digital printing process utilized by the ImageSet. The files printed on the Indigo are amazing. I have been interested in cross-media marketing for some time now. It validates my understanding of technologies that are up and coming.

This trip reinforced my understanding of how printing and marketing go hand in hand. Digital printing and variable data printing data provides a very personalize, one-to-one messages that can be used to send the receiver to a personalize URL to learn more. There is a higher response rate foe these campaigns. This was my favorite trip and I would love to work at a place like this in the future.

ADPOWER: A FIELD REPORT

ADPower

ADPower Logo

On February 20, 2011, my half of the DIGM 3350 class visited ADPOWER at 2:30 pm. I got lost but was only 3 minutes late, went in a circle about three times. I missed our tour guide’s name and his affiliation with the organization. I am pretty sure he is a manager or owner of this screen print shop. ADPOWER has been in business over 15 years and 80% of their sales are return clients. That’s impressive. He guided us through the process of screen printing.
The first step is to sell the job. The client will need art work and a product to print it on, usually a T-shirt. The client can provide their own art work or the in-house Art department can take an idea and create an image with that idea. No matter where the art work comes from, if it has more than one color, a transparency and a screen is needed for each color.
We went out to the shop and our guide showed us the order forms on the wall waiting to be processed. He said that this form follows the job until completion. Next we went into the screen room. This is where the coated screen waiting on a new job. These screens are coated with emulsion. The screen is then exposed to a bright light. This light burns out the part of the screen that you don’t want. The screen then hardens and the unwanted film is washed away. I think was interesting that we got to see how to fix a hole in the screen. TAPE IT.
With ready screens, the first thing to be done is registration is. This is done with a T-square each time a new color is introduced. When all the colors are printed, the job is checked against the order form. The job is then broken down and sent out to the customer.
After the job, the screens go into “quarantined” where cleaned. There are two options at this point: 1) Save the screen because the client knows they will reprint or 2) The screens are stripped of the emulsion. If there ghosting or a haze of the last job, the screens must be power-washed. The screens are coated with emulsion for the next job.
I would choose to do business with the ADPOWER because they know their stuff. They have been doing screen printing for a long time and it shows. I like their business model and would be confident I would receive a quality product.