Foster Printing: A Happy, Productive Place

Workers inspect a job being produced on Foster's 81", six-color KBA Rapida 205 UV sheetfed offset printing press.

Darrell Matthews loads large-format Fuji plates into the Screen platesetter.

Bindery supervisor Dario Gutierrez (left) readies the 110" Sabre cutting system, with help from cutter operator Rafael Pacheco.

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 59.5×80.625˝ 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.

“We’d had such great success with our two prior KBAs, we felt this was the best time to go bigger,” notes Kris Blackburn, vice president of sales and Tim’s brother. “We feel the growth of UV in our shop is attributed to the capabilities of our KBA presses. Ten years ago, you couldn’t accomplish a quarter of what can be done today; and today the process is all in-line printing. We print overall and spot UV on different substrates such as paper and plastic.”

Buying the Rapida 205 did represent something of a risk for Foster Printing. As a trade printer, the company doesn’t have the crutch of contractual work to help in its capex analysis, but the allure of being able to print UV in-line in one pass was too attractive to pass up.

A Workflow Suited for Rush Jobs

Such is the life of a trade printer. It’s not unusual for Foster Printing to answer the phone at 3:30 p.m. and have a job request for 100,000 labels, needed in 24 hours. Such requests requires a printer to be at the top of its game, according to Tim Blackburn, boasting an internal workflow that can handle sudden (and unannounced) bursts of work with a group of employees that make it happen.

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