Our last process and material class field trip was to Williams Visual Solutions. They were the largest printer we visited in terms of printing volume and machine size. And boy did they have the machines! I watched their largest machine spit out printed pages by the second. I was in awe. I was even more impressed with the head pressman. The pressmen were calibrating color getting ready for a reprint for an existing client. They were trying to get the reds to match just right. Because it was raining the day of our visit, the humidity and moisture in the air was affecting their machines. Watching the head pressman tweak the color balance a few degrees here and there was like watching a concert pianist. He would inspect the print with his loop, balance the colors with a few buttons and all with the swiftness and ease of a talented musician. I know he was just making the job look easy and as I watched him I couldn’t imagine how long it took him to learn the ins and outs of the machine. There really is an art to this very technical job and he was painting a masterpiece the day of our visit.
The entire Williams facility was like a giant maze of press machines and finishing machines. By the time we were at the end of our tour, I had no idea where the front door was. We passed through design areas, prepress areas, warehousing, press and more. I can see now the facilities it takes to produce large-scale productions and publications.