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SUPERIOR PRINTING -- A Waterless Wonder

April 2002

Superior was forced to output film to make its waterless plates and the switching from computer-to-plate back to conventional created problems with the workflow. The company also had difficulties lining up suppliers and fine-tuning the new technology. That's around the time Hill came on the scene.

"I tried to really make sure that everybody was involved and participating," Hill reports. Frey noticed Hill's dedication to the push for waterless early after Hill took over control of the 88-employee company.

"He has maintained and even moved along our focus to be a waterless printer," Frey adds. "I specifically recall a meeting where he said he got into this with the understanding that he was buying a waterless printing operation. That was important to him because, even with his limited background in printing, he recognized that we had a unique product to take to market."

The Finished Product

About two years ago, Superior finally developed a viable, digital plate. Now, Frey informs, around 99 percent of Superior's work is done waterless. It produces high-end, environmentally sensitive printed literature for the art, food, automotive and financial markets, as well as decorative and building products.

The company was also the recipient of two PIA "Benny" awards in 2001 for its printing of the "Wilderness Collections Coffee Table Book" printed for its customer The Lough Road Art Galleries of Portland, OR. The book was entered under the categories "Waterless Printing" and "Environmentally Sound Materials" and won a Benny for each entry.

Though the quest for a CTP workflow combined with waterless printing has been costly, Superior has been able to recoup its investment by offering customers high-end products.

"There is going to be a continuous focus on the market segments that we have identified and I think we'll see continued growth in that area," Frey predicts.

Hill echoes Frey's view of Superior's future. "We must continue to push technology," he states. "For its entire existence, this company has been totally committed to technology."

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