Graphic Arts Center — The Quality Quotient

The acquisition by Mail-Well also proved to be a technological renaissance for Graphic Arts Center. “They have been a big supporter of upgrading technology,” adds McAndrew. “Since our purchase by Mail-Well, we’ve completely overhauled our prepress department, added new sheetfed and web printing equipment, and upgraded our bindery. Without Mail-Well, it would have been much more of a challenge to get the capital we needed for the upgrades.”

David Webber, president of Graphic Arts Center (GAC), stands outside the company’s Portland, OR, headquarters. The company churns out up to four million mailing pieces per month.

Today, GAC offers its clients two production facilities—its headquarters in Portland and Graphic Arts Center Seattle. GAC Portland is a Heidelberg shop with three six-color web presses; four eight-color, 40˝ presses with aqueous coaters; and one two-color, 40˝ press with coater. It also runs a Heidelberg Digimaster 9110 to meet the growing demand for variable data printing.

The prepress department, which is 100 percent digital, served as the leading North America beta site for Creo’s Staccato 10 screening technology. The Staccato process produces high fidelity, artifact-free images that exhibit fine detail without halftone rosettes, screening moiré, gray level limitations or abrupt jumps in tone. It reduces variations in dot gain, wet trap and color contamination from paper. The random nature of the Staccato halftone patterns also means that misregistration does not degrade the look of the halftone, nor doesit cause overall color shifts in presswork.

GAC now uses Staccato 10 on its sheetfed presses and Staccato 20 on its webs. “The Staccato process makes us pretty unique among our competitors,” notes Webber.

Serving as a beta site for the Staccato process characterizes GAC’s commitment to technology, contends Steve Plattner, vice president of sales and marketing. “We did our own research and development and worked very closely in partnership with Creo,” he says. “We didn’t wait for them to roll it out. We did our own testing.”

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