|Class Act Engraving has been a regional participant in the engraving industry since the late 1970’s. Starting with our first engraving machine, a rotary Scott pantograph, we began by making engraved plates for our laminated photograph plaques. As our industry progressed, so did we. Using phenolic templates, we began reproducing logos in an affordable manner on engraved plaques. Then, in the early 1980’s we made the then frightening leap into the world of computers with our purchase of the first of three Domiteaux/Newing-Hall Computer Engraving Systems. With a larger engraving table and our rotary attachment we stood poised to be leaders in our region for doing complicated projects in-house, with quick turn around times, and at affordable pricing. Naturally, as digitized logos replaced template “technology”, our capabilities in the corporate world jumped dramatically. By adding sublimation and glass etching to our arsenal we felt as if we had all our bases covered. But, then came the mid 1990’s and there were laser engravers. Being ever venturesome, we took the leap by buying an Epilog Eclipse Laser Engraver. This meant not only learning a new engraving machine, but also learning many new software packages for preparing text and graphic designs. Also we found ourselves learning about countless new media options we had with this engraving tool. Recent upgrades to our sand carving, laser engraving and rotary engraving equipment as well as methodic planning of the growth of our company has kept us at the leading edge of our industry technologically and best positioned us to serve our large and dedicated client base.
Our family has been manufacturer's representatives at various times in history. We have represented Domiteaux/Newing-Hall, Deluxe Sublimation systems, Roland Digital, Avant Inc., among others and currently we are distributors of Epilog Lasers and Roland Computerized Engraving equipment. Our current arrangement with Epilog came after long and careful consideration surrounding the future of our company. With many, many factors in the equation we decided to end our retail operations and focus strictly on our wholesale clients (ASI) and the sales of equipment to the commercial world. As distributors for Epilog since the end of 2000, we have found this decision to be both sad and exciting. Sad because we said goodbye to many long time friends. Exciting because we’ve been quite successful in the time we’ve represented our friends at Epilog and Roland.
While the computer revolution in the engraving industry has made production faster and given us higher quality standards, it has also sent many of us back to the classroom. We have traveled to San Diego CA for a training session at the factory of Rayzist, an international leader in the glass etching section of our industry. We learned not only about the hands-on techniques of sand carving, but also a great deal about computerized artwork preparation. Included here were topics such as scanning of line art and photographs, raster to vector conversions and test design and editing. We have also attended a seminar in the usage of Corel Draw and Photo Paint. This class, in Philadelphia , was taught by the world-renowned expert in Corel software, Foster Coburn, III. Detailing all the topics of instruction would not be practical here, but suffice it to say there were many issues covered that we now use every day as CorelDRAW is our main software suite. In addition to production software, we have also taken a lengthy course in database development using Microsoft Access. This has allowed us to, among other things, build a database that maintained one particular client with well over 5000 custom orders. We also find time to attend trade shows as buyer, vendor and in some instances, as an educational seminar instructor. Now, formal education is nice, but the most critical type of training we get happens every day within our 4 walls. Hours of work on our equipment, test engraving countless different types of products gives us a functional knowledge of our industry that cannot be read in a book. This is not in any way meant to diminish book learning as we regularly use the Awards and Recognition Association publication Recognition Review as a resource. Other sources such as A&E magazine, The Engravers Journal and internet sites too numerous to list here are also frequently referenced.
While we are very fortunate that we find our daily “work” to be a great deal of fun, most of the time…the Aichingers also find it personally fulfilling to be active in our community. Before moving to sunny FL, dad and mom were quite active. John is a Past President of the Annunciation Church (Elma NY) Holy Name Society and a Past President of the Western New York Professional Photographers Association. Anne was a fixture at Annunciation Church events such as the ever popular Chowder Tent at their yearly 3 day picnic. Jeff is a past Officer and Director for the Clarence NY Chamber of Commerce and on October 19, 2000 completed two terms as President of Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Elma, Marilla and Wales.
In conclusion (yes, finally, I’m nearly done…) We are very happy, very satisfied and very proud of where we are in our professional and our private lives. Having said that, the fact remains that we did not get to today with blinders on and without seeing and accepting opportunities as they came to us. This means that the ever changing world of Class Act Engraving is certainly going to be an on-going saga so check back to our virtual showroom from time to time to see what’s new!