by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer
What is a hydrographic? The process, known as water transfer printing, can transfer a printed ink design onto any number of substrates including wood, plastic, metal and glass. The design is printed onto a sheet of polyvinyl and placed on the surface of a large water tank. The polyvinyl dissolves after a chemical activator is applied and the ink is left behind on the surface. When the object is submerged into the water through the ink, the ink sticks to the specially prepared surface. Multiple dippings can provide a full graphic wrap on even tiny and intricate objects. A top coat is then applied in either a gloss or matte finish as desired. The final product has a durability that can be compared to the finish of a car.
Designs can come in one of over a thousand different patterns. Wood grain, camouflage and carbon fiber are a few of the more popular options, but custom designs are available upon request. Interested parties can submit a digital file of artwork, company logos or special patterns to Hydrographics. Turn around time for a custom job can take between 60 and 90 days.
The potential is endless according to owner Gene Hoskin and his son and partner, Grant Hoskin. The roster of products the company has been working with vary from gun stocks to aircraft interiors, prosthetics to animal sculls and the Hoskins welcome the challenge to work with any product.
As the local construction industry faltered in the past few years, Gene, a former building developer, and Grant, a home designer, formed High Definition Hydrographics LLC in October 2010. The pair decided to reinvent themselves after learning about the process and traveled to Idaho to train with one of the nation’s dominate water transfer printing organizations. The Hoskins saw an opportunity in the market as there are no other commercially operated hydrographic facilities in the area.
The pair opened their doors to business in January 2011. The 2,500 square foot facility is located at NE Ninth & Hemlock Streets in Redmond. In addition to the hydrographic tank, which can accommodate objects up to seven feet long, the business also has a full size automotive spray booth and a cold metal bronzing system.
The Hoskins have several contracts with local businesses and are looking for manufacturers to work with on a continuing basis. Growth is expected, and they hope to begin hiring in the next few months.
Contact HD Hydrographics at 541-548-5033 or www.hdhydro.com.