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Unimac Graphics -- Closing the Loop

April 2004
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

George Amann knows a trend when he sees one. Being a mere six or seven miles away from Manhattan has a way of keeping a commercial printer like Unimac Graphics in touch with the largest agencies, publishers, pharmaceutical and health care companies in the country.

Amann built then-Union Graphics from the ground up, literally, from his basement in 1979. In 1981 he rented out 2,000 square feet of space, took on some partners and dove head first into print work for trade and commercial accounts. He bought out his partners in 1985 and rode a boom in growth through 1995 while producing general commercial printing for the aforementioned markets.

Unimac graphics executives shown (from left to right) are: George Amann, Steven Rickett, Keith Barreiro and Charles Amann.
Amann then made a bold move by acquiring MacNaughton Einson Graphics in 1999, which grew the company in a number of ways. For one, it catapulted Unimac Graphics into the $35 million sales range. Secondly, the MacNaughton end of the equation gave the newly christened company another capability: large-format printing such as posters, banners, billboards, point-of-sale and point-of-purchase.

The marrriage was complementary; Union Graphics boasted a strong prepress department that MacNaughton didn't possess.

Unimac took another key step with the addition of a 64˝, six-color KBA Rapida 162A sheetfed perfector with in-line UV coater in 1999. But when Amann installed a 40˝, six-color KBA Compacta 215 16-page heatset web offset press, the company came full circle. It is the first such KBA web press to be installed in the United States—it came online in February of 2003—and is churning out book covers, direct mail, posters, publications and pharmaceutical materials to go with its roster of traditional products such as financial printing, point-of-purchase retail and high-end corporate communications.

Web vs. 40˝ Sheetfeds

"We believed it was a marketplace that was going to grow—as the 40˝ sheetfed market deteriorated, people would get more involved in web printing," Amann says of adding the Compacta 215.

"Webs have become so technologically advanced that startup costs on each job are minimal. Both web offset and digital printing are cutting into the 40˝ sheetfed market."

Not that Amann is worried in that regard; he has all of the bases covered. In the summer of 2002, Unimac created Strategic Content Imaging (SCI), a digital division for on-demand and variable data printing in up to six colors, as well as distribution and Internet-based inventory access. It has provided another tool for Unimac in a regional market that demands a large tool belt.

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