Stoughton Printing Company has been producing packaging for recorded music since our founding in 1964. Everything was on vinyl in those days. With the advent of digitally recorded CDs, vinyl records began to fade – but they never completely disappeared.
It’s true that we live in a digital world, but we still have analog ears – and audiophiles still prefer the warmth and richness of analog sound on vinyl. A resurgence of vinyl record sales has driven demand for one of Stoughton Printing Company’s signature products: our Old Style® hand-tipped jackets for vinyl records and CDs, which replicate the classic look and feel of record jackets from the 1950s and 1960s. We print them on our Speedmaster CD 102-6+L, and we give them a high-end finishing touch with the help of our new Easymatrix 106 die cutter.
Hand-tipping involves manually gluing printed wraps to jacket blanks and then putting the assembly through a special machine to form the finished product. Because our operators can’t see the images they are mounting in one step of the process (called “blind spotting”), it’s crucial that the blanks be die cut as accurately as possible. We’re assured of that accuracy with the Easymatrix 106.
We used to send our die cutting work out, often ordering larger quantities than we needed for the sake of the volume discounts. We’ve now recovered all of our outside die cutting costs since installing the Easymatrix 106. It’s a high-efficiency machine that lets us cut and score at full speed so that there’s no delay in getting products to our folding-gluing lines. It even has an automatic waste removal system for uninterrupted operation.
When the time came to invest in a high-end die cutting solution, we knew there would be no place to turn except Heidelberg. Jack Stoughton, Sr., launched the company with a 10″ x 15″ Heidelberg Ultra Windmill press, and we’ve been a Heidelberg shop ever since. Heidelberg gives us the product quality and the consultative support that keeps our business strong.
Vinyl record manufacturing in the U.S. plummeted to just 900,000 copies in 2008. By 2017, it had rebounded to 15 million copies. The record industry rode the trend to the bottom, and now the trend is coming back up again. With our long-standing partnership with Heidelberg, Stoughton Printing Company intends to ride it as far as it will go.