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Haig’s Quality Printing — Betting on Color

March 2007
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AT HAIG’S Quality Printing, the work is all about color. Although CEO Haig Atamian modestly describes the company as “a typical commercial printer,” Haig’s serves the entertainment industry and casinos, as well as the U.S. government and many nationwide corporations—customers who are known for exacting standards and an eye for detail.

To satisfy what can be very particular demands, Haig’s uses stochastic screening, the six-color Hexachrome process and Van Son’s Vs Series inks to produce the vivid and dynamic color the company calls “dimensional printing.”

In 1993, when the printer moved from Palm Springs, CA, to set up an all-new shop in Las Vegas, Haig’s began experimenting with stochastic screening. The process utilizes smaller dots in a random pattern on the printing plate to prevent moiré and to more accurately reproduce color shading. In addition, Hexachrome, a patented process developed and licensed by Pantone Inc., employs six process colors for printing rather than the conventional four, dramatically increasing the gamut of printable color, from subtle fleshtones to bright fluorescents. Combining these processes gives the printed image a depth that’s almost three-dimensional.

“All the work we do is six-, seven-, or eight-color jobs. People who spend that kind of money want a high quality level and we achieve that,” Atamian says. “We have customers across the country and all over the world. When they sign off on a proof, it’s our responsibility to make sure that there’s no color shifting in the finished piece. The products used to accomplish this become critical.”

Larger Color Gamut

Haig’s was one of the first West Coast printers to install an Agfa Galileo computer-to-plate system to create the extremely precise plates required for stochastic and Hexachrome printing. In the pressroom, the company operates both a six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster CD and an eight-color, 40˝ Mitsubishi sheetfed press, as well as a Heidelberg M-110 half-web. And then there’s the issue of ink.

“I have worked very hard to get the right ink because the stochastic process requires a lot of discipline—doing the same thing over and over again every day. And I want to make sure the ink colors don’t shift,” Atamian notes. “Hexachrome uses a completely different color gamut. It incorporates four-color process inks plus orange and green, and the process colors are a different formula.”

Haig’s had been using a well-known ink that it thought could do the job until it started disintegrating. “The quality level started dissipating to where we were having a lot of problems with it. There were other inks that would print very well, but would not give us the mileage,” he adds. “So, after trying many things, we chose Van Son inks. Now, we put a job on the press and, with a couple of pulls, we match the proof.”

A salesperson working with Van Son’s local ink partner, Kramer Ink, brought in a set of inks and showed Atamian how they work. “It was very exciting,” he recalls. “To get more color, most press operators pump up more ink but, with Van Son, we can control the color with water, so the image gets better and sharper. ”

Kramer Ink is part of the Van Son Ink Council, a group comprised of printing ink manufacturers strategically positioned across the U.S. and Canada that distribute Van Son’s Vs Series inks and provide local support to commercial printers using the inks. Kramer Ink supports six branches throughout the West Coast, including the branch that works with Haig’s in Las Vegas.

“We like the color gamut of Van Son’s inks, as well as the strength of the pigments. In my experience, if you don’t use the right ink, the printing might look really good in the color booth and on the press, but then it will look weak the next day in the sunlight,” Atamian points out.

As a result of his care in searching out just the right combination of equipment and consumables, Haig’s Quality Printing has established a worldwide reputation for the highest quality available. “I have more awards than I’ve got walls,” Atamian quips. Among these are several gold awards from the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen. Customers, too, have been won over.

This includes jobs for various casinos, movie studios, packaging work and, for the past few years, production of the International Music Awards books. Haig’s is also a Level I government printer.

In the seven years that Haig’s Quality Printing has been in Las Vegas, it has grown to 65 employees with annual revenues of about $12 million. Its continued success is based on delivering consistent color, reliability and high-quality results to keep its customers loyal. PI
 

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