You have probably never given a thought to how all the titles, places and dates get onto the ribbons you have won. You still don’t have to (because that is our job!) but I am going to give you the basics of how ribbons get printed, because it’s an interesting process…
All of our orders begin on a computer screen, when you explain your needs to our customer service rep, and they enter it into the computer system. The order is printed, checked and we send you an acknowledgment. Then the order travels to the plant office, and into production.
The typesetter takes their instructions from the printout, and pulls brass matts from a drawer like this one:
They compose the type in the stick, like this, and it goes into the Ludlow, which casts a single line of type like the one shown below. Each line of type lasts for 1,000 impressions, at most, before it must be melted down to be reused.
Type is composed in a chase, and placed in a hot stamping press. These presses operate at 325 degrees, and stamp the ribbon with 12 tons of force. The gold leaf is really embossed into the ribbon with that much pressure. We use specially modified presses from Vansco Manufacturing because they print better than any other press available.
Using these presses, we can print and cut 100 ribbons a minute. Or, if each ribbon needs to be individually titled, about 1 per minute. If you have a long list of titles, we ask that you send them to us as an excel file – and we have a special press that can use that information for the printing instructions, saving time and expense over hand setting all the type. Most importantly, it helps us get the right spellings of dog names.
Next week – putting rosettes together!