Thursday, August 18, 2011

Paper and Ink | My day at the printing plant

Recently, I received a personal tour of a local Maryland printing plant. Entering in through the offices, the warehouse space opened-up to a bustling floor of contraptions and weathered tinkerers. The smell of ink emanated from freshly pigmented paper and the floor was clean and bright. Several generations of printers occupied every corner of the space. Metal cans of ink gathered in stadium-seating shelving as a man in a branded blue shirt leafed through Pantone swatch booklets.

Collection of inks.
I enjoyed the overwhelming size of the Komori 5-color process printer. The tall towers housed gooey ink rollers of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Loading paper into one end.
The 5 towers!
The paper moves through the machine.
Prints coming out the other end.
Proofing station to catch any screen errors.
In contrast, the smaller traditional printing machines buckled together like a thousand metal knuckles; punching out pristine white stationary.

My tour guide pointed out the large HP Indigo printer, "digital is the future" he said as we stepped past boxes of fresh prints.

Digital HP Indigo Printer.
5-color process ink with a tube for a PMS ink on the right.
I love ink.
Large and in charge.
Rolls of paper lower costs and increase efficiency.
The more you learn about the other processes that influence your profession, the better you will be at completing your projects at the best price and quality for your client. It's like standing on your head; take a look at things on the other side. Explore new territories and processes and, most of all, have fun!