UV Cures Need for Growth
Lithocraft’s management team includes (from the left): John Cosgrove, partner; Robert Navarro, vice president of operations; and Brad Thurman, founder and president.
Lithocraft’s KBA Rapida lead operator Gilbert Dominguez (shown at left) and Ramon Martinez inspect a press proof.
Workers finish a job on Lithocraft’s MBO B30 folder equipped with a right angle attachment.
An operator in Lithocraft’s prepress department prepares to print a job.
Lithocraft’s prepress department.
But, three years ago, it became clear that continued success would depend on entering new markets. According to Robert Navarro, vice president of operations, existing clients’ evolving product needs dictated that Lithocraft offer UV printing output. Going down the UV road would also help to bring in the high-end designer/agency work that often requires seven or eight colors. Equally as important, Lithocraft wanted a solution that would enable it to crack the highly coveted, high-end package printing market.
“We saw where the industry was heading,” notes John Cosgrove, a partner at Lithocraft. “We were also seeing some windows of opportunity closing due to our lack of UV printing capabilities. We wanted to get into retail, and the fact that we were seeing demand by our restaurant clients for printing on synthetic materials, it became pretty clear that we needed to jump into the UV market.”
After researching UV for about a year, Lithocraft decided to start the vetting process for a UV press (which included a trip to Graph Expo in Chicago). Six months later, the company opted to install an eight-color, 41˝ KBA Rapida 106 UV press equipped with the makeready-free DriveTronic SIS (Sensoric Infeed System). The press, which went live last July, was aimed at keeping the UV-craving clients from jumping ship and to enable Lithocraft to begin its foray into high-end packaging. But, a pleasant surprise awaited the printer—the phone began ringing off the hook.
“One of the things that surprised the heck out of me was that we started getting calls from people looking for UV printing vendors,” Cosgrove notes. “One large client that we had not worked with previously was looking for someone to use because they weren’t happy with the UV vendors in the area. To have a customer like that walk in the door was pretty amazing.”