- August 01, 2007, Edited by Claudia Hine, Managing Editor
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at UpFront, beginning with its mission-centric website address—alwayslead.com. A home-based startup in 1994, the company saw annual sales increase from $400,000 in 1995 to $10 million in 2006. In 2002 UpFront was ranked No. 12 on a list of the Top 50 Fastest Growing Printers by PFFC’s sister publication, American Printer.
UpFront was founded by husband-and-wife team Chris and Tricia Hamrin. Tricia focuses on client services and human resources, while Chris oversees sales and strives to stay on the cutting edge of production technology.
To that end, the company purchased a Mitsubishi Diamond 3000LX sheet-fed press with ultraviolet (UV) printing and coating capabilities that fits perfectly into UpFront’s growth strategy. The six-color, 40-in. press can handle 0.002-in. paper to 0.040-in. carton stock. It also accommodates vinyl, styrene, polyester, and static-cling substrates.
“We produce food packaging and collateral for luxury brands,” says Chris Hamrin, president. “We also print a lot of credit cards and gift cards. This press will allow us to expand our range of plastic products and enable us to do more of certain projects, such as durable point-of-purchase materials.”
“UpFront is a well-rounded company that tries to consistently give our clients better results at a lower cost,” says Dan Dahlberg, production manager. “All areas of our business are growing because of the streamlined capabilities. Clients find it refreshing that they can work directly with file development and then see their projects go ‘magically’ into production.”
A Range of Processes
The pressroom houses a total of six presses, including a six-color Ryobi with coater and an HP Indigo color digital press. The latest Mitsubishi press joins a six-color Diamond 3000S with aqueous coater that UpFront added in 2004.
“Our experience with the first Mitsubishi press was simply wonderful,” Hamrin says. “When it comes to production equipment, no news is good news. We have not heard any complaints from the operators. There has been no unscheduled downtime. We are thrilled to have installed another Mitsubishi press.”
UpFront reports it utilizes Kodak Staccato stochastic screening to produce artifact-free images that exhibit fine detail. With such flawless quality, the company has targeted luxury and fashion collateral as an area of growth.
“Many of our clients are extremely design conscious,” Hamrin says. “UV printing produces beautiful, perfect results on high quality uncoated paper. Any collateral or packaging for high-end fashions or other luxury brands that deserves this look will benefit from UV in a way conventional printing cannot achieve. We anticipate huge growth of these jobs, thanks to our UV capabilities.”
761 Kasota Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses—PFFC-ASAP 302. mlpusa.com
Ryobi Ltd.—PFFC-ASAP 303. ryobi-group.co.jp/en
HP Digital Printing Solutions—PFFC-ASAP 304. hp.com
Kodak Graphic Communications—PFFC-ASAP 305. graphics.kodak.com