Fontana/Affiliate--A Waterless Course
Early in 1994, following extensive research into how to set themselves above and apart from their competition, part of the solution to the problem, as it turned out, was in the solution—the fountain solution, that is. The decision was made to go waterless.
"Waterless printing allows us to provide our clients with greater detail and more vibrant colors," Connors says. "There really is a difference."
Fontana/Affiliated installed a six-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster CD press with a coater and another 40˝ two-color Heidelberg, and began operating both without fountain solution. They even went so far as to hang a sign in the plateroom forbidding conventional platemaking on jobs that would run on the waterless presses.
Along with the aggressive stance in-house went an aggressive marketing campaign. The firm's tag line, which appears on its vans and everywhere else, is: "The Leader in Waterless." The plan worked, and high-end customers began to take an interest.
Of course, the company has heard the nay-sayers who claim that waterless printing is dead. According to Connors, those negative comments are actually helping Fontana's business.
"It's helping us because we don't have competition," Connors says. "I find it interesting that the new generation of presses that are the future of the industry, such as the Quickmaster DI, are actually waterless."
While many printers charge a premium for waterless printing, Fontana managed to keep prices constant, while still offering the higher quality that dry offset offers. They accomplished this by making the full commitment to waterless printing. Rather than having two production lines, there is just one streamlined operation. In this way, every factor that may make the process more expensive is offset by something that reduces the cost.
Even before turning to the waterless process, the Fontana print shop ran only Heidelberg presses.