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Foster Printing: A Happy, Productive Place

February 2014 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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Is it possible to be content, yet not satisfied? Obviously, the minute that a company lifts its foot off of the accelerator, bad things happen...if you're not growing, you're slowing, as the adage goes. But some firms have carved themselves a strong niche, a stronghold that promises a bright future, without bursting at the seams.

That might well be the case for Foster Printing, a large-format trade printer based in Santa Ana, CA. Primarily a provider of color packaging (labels), POP displays, signage and posters, Foster has the capacity to expand upon its $14.93 million annual output, given its explosive growth in UV sheetfed offset printing. Foster's large-format UV capability was given a shot in the arm following its November 2012 installation of a six-color, 81˝ KBA Rapida 205 UV press (dubbed the world's largest press).

So, while Foster Printing does not feel compelled to rule the world, the executive leadership team is fairly happy with dominating their small corner of it. Tim Blackburn, company president, is proud of how far the company has come since it was acquired by his father, Dennis, in 1988.

"The last six years have really been amazing for Foster," he notes. "The growth we have experienced has surpassed what we'd done prior to that in the history of the company. And we feel like we've hit our mark for where we need to be—we've improved on turnaround, quality and capacity."

UV printing has certainly been a driving force for Foster Printing. In addition to turnaround and quality improvements, it has allowed Foster to produce unique, value-added work, as well as comply with California's stringent environmental regulations. Printing on substrates ranging from 50-lb. to 48-pt., Foster can UV print on paper and plastics, as well as matte and gloss coatings. The UV process enables the printed sheets to cure immediately, aiding efficiency and throughput.

A Go-to Source for Labels

Foster products inevitably end up in the hands of big box stores, retailers and the entertainment industry. A lion's share is the production of 80- and 100-lb. C1S label printing.

A large-format printer for the past 25 years, a number of clients had been asking if the company would consider purchasing a 73˝ or 77˝ press. In fact, Foster came close to obtaining the 81˝ model in 2007, but found that many of its customers couldn't convert the 59.5x80.625˝ sheet, so the Blackburns opted for a 64˝ KBA 162a hybrid UV press (which was joined by a five-color 162a conventional press in 2010). In 2012, the decision was made to install the 81˝ UV beast.


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