Faust Printing--Delivering the Impossible
Flawless production of a five-million—that's 5,000,000—dpi poster earned Faust Printing the PIA's first-ever "They Said It Couldn't Be Done" award. But the Rancho Cucamonga, CA-based family business is used to performing miracles.
BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO
The story of Faust Printing reads like a great tragedy—and an even greater triumph—of both the limitless potential of the human spirit, as well as the seemingly ageless spirit of the time-honored craft of putting ink on paper.
Faust Printing is first and foremost a family business, one that suffered great loss (in the tragic death of its founding father) yet, through determination, has risen above adversity to enter the new millennium as a true success story.
Faust Printing, a $6 million, family owned and operated printing operation in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, was one of three finalists for the Printing Industries of America's (PIA) newly created award: "They Said It Couldn't Be Done." Entries were evaluated for their ability to amaze. Without question, this new award is designed to honor the printers that can, with style, deliver "the printing job from hell"—a job that pushes the very limits of prepress and pressroom performance.
At the annual Premier Print Awards banquet in Chicago last October, a truly jubilant Rose Mary Faust accompanied by two of her four sons, Don Jr. and Tom, accepted the very first "They Said It Couldn't Be Done" award for her family's company, Faust Printing.
PIA created the award in 1999 to honor printers who have exceeded their press and time limitations to produce exceptional print quality.
The competition received more than 5,600 entries from around the world, 100 of which fell into the same general category as did Faust's entry, which was a poster featuring an artist's palette, paints and brushes. The poster—printed on Faust's six-color MAN Roland 700 sheetfed press with coater, using Kodak Polychrome Graphics digital plates that were imaged on a Creo thermal platesetter—made its first public appearance last May at the Gutenberg Show in Long Beach, CA. At that time, Beta Industries used the poster to demonstrate its Video Halftone Analyzer, which magnifies to a power of 800x, for enlarging and analyzing four-color process dot structures.
At five-million dpi, which is 1,110.8-line screen, the Faust poster got noticed at Gutenberg—big time. Crowds actually formed around the poster, displayed under Beta Industries' magnification technology. At first, most passers-by thought they were viewing a continuous-tone image, but upon closer examination the exquisite artistry and top-quality craftsmanship of Faust Printing were revealed. Faust had pushed the envelope of high-resolution, high-quality printing.
The poster was a hit. It was such a hit, it was an oddity. Faust did what many said could not be done: reproduce an image at five-million dpi. The PIA award soon followed.
Chairman Rose Mary Faust and her top management team—sons Don, 43, president; Tom, 40, vice president; Greg, 39, vice president; and Brian, 42, treasurer—were (if for one moment, in this vastly competitive industry of giants) the very best of the very best.
So, how'd they do it?
Josh Felton, prepress manager, sheds some light on the five-million-dpi miracle. Here's how he recounts the digital prepress component:
How They Did It . . .
Faust Printing's prepress team started with an excellent 4x5˝ transparency. It was then digitized using Faust's Screen 7060 drum scanner at 447 dpi, which equated to a 485.5MB image.
The images for the dynamic poster were placed and PostScripted from QuarkXpress, and impositioned using Preps technology. The file was then RIPed using Creo's Allegro unit. (Faust technicians spent a great deal of time modifying and testing RIP settings to create the 1,110.8-line screen.)
To proof the poster, Faust imaged the job at a 676-line screen on Polaroid DryTech film and used its 3M Matchprint proofer to complete the proofing process. Its Creo Trendsetter was then recalibrated to optimize the sharpness of the dot. Then the poster was imaged using Kodak Polychrome Graphics' 2919 Series thermal plates.
Since the poster project, Felton notes, Faust has changed its overall digital workflow and prepress equipment. The company now uses the Scitex Brisque workflow, linking to a Scitex Lotem thermal platesetter for imaging Kodak Polychrome Graphics thermal plates. A Kodak XP4 digital halftone proofer is now also part of Faust's prepress equipment arsenal.
In the pressroom, Faust managers knew that their MAN Roland 700 printed incredibly sharp dots, based on print testing of 300-, 600- and 900-line screens they conducted at MAN Roland's demo center in suburban Chicago before buying the sheetfed press.
"And after looking at the plates with a 60x microscope—and barely being able to see the dots—I had my doubts," recalls Faust Plant Manager Don Ross.
"I thought printing it might be an exercise in futility. We had successfully printed high-res screens in a production environment here for 13 years," he adds. "But this was a 1,110.8-line screen job! At the time, I thought it would be a miracle if we could print it."
Without divulging exactly how Faust Printing set up its press to take on this bear of a project ("We've learned many things over the years, and they don't come easy."), Ross does give a clue: Everything from A to Z must be perfect, or printing the higher-resolution screens can be your worst nightmare.
Aside from the production aspects, the poster presented a challenge to the entire Faust team.
"In all this, the one, and truly most significant, fact that we are most proud of is: We did it as a family," enthuses President Don Faust. "And, with our employees as an extended family, staff in each area of Faust Printing worked together closely to push the very limits of our technologies and printing expertise. My mother is the true heart of our company, but each of us—my brothers and all of our extended family here—are, in our own ways, a part of the heart and soul of this company."
Ties That Bind
Family is Faust Printing. Rose Mary and her first husband, the late Donald Faust Sr., founded the unassuming printing company 37 years ago in their 400-square-foot garage in Pomona, CA. Husband Don, the visionary for today's Faust Printing, was an accomplished pressman, stripper and engraver, training and working in the Southern California region in the 1960s.
Since its inception in 1963, each year, Don and Rose Mary built their company, bit by bit, while raising their four sons and one daughter, Laurie. By 1973, the couple had built a small-but-thriving family business with annual sales in the $1 million range. The facility moved from the couple's home to a manufacturing site in Upland, CA.
Sadly, in 1984, Don Sr., who had been in retirement since 1980, was killed at age 57.
With no warning, Rose Mary found herself guiding Faust Printing—without her husband. She turned to her sons, already working at the company, for support. The family pulled together and guided the firm through the loss of its founding father.
Today, Rose Mary credits her sons for researching synthetic stocks and their possible uses, and for pushing the printing capabilities of Faust Printing during the past decade, leading up to the company's well-executed miracle poster.
"Of course, Don Jr., the oldest, started working in the firm when he was about [age] 6. Now he's president," she states with pride. "When my husband died, I made my sons equal partners. The family that works together, plays together and prays together...stays together."
It can also break records together.
Faust Printing's five-million-dpi poster is a testament to the professionalism of the Faust family—professionalism noticed by even the most talked about industry consolidation firms.
"We've been approached by a few," reports Don Jr., admittedly not a fiscal conservative, but a bit of a risk taker and visionary. "In some ways, the consolidation that's hitting our industry is disconcerting. It makes you stop and wonder what is happening to the small, family printing business."
Certainly, family businesses remain the heart and soul of the printing industry, even as the industry steps into the new millennium.
Faust Printing is stepping into 2000 with 32 employees and two shifts operating on a 24-hour basis, six days a week. Rose Mary, besides being chairman of Faust Printing, serves on the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce Board. Faust Printing, she states, believes in giving back to the community and being a positive influence to society.
Independent printers like Faust Printing are stoic examples of what the printing community is truly about for so many of the top executives who read the monthly pages of Printing Impressions: Family. Strength in adversity. Pride. Perfection. Quality. These are the traits that Faust Printing clearly showed the PIA—and the entire industry—when it manufactured its award-winning, high-resolution poster.
Score one for the little guy.