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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Custom Printing: A Map Maker or a Printer, or Both

In business, it is a truism that if you can do one thing really, really well, you will be successful as long as that primary service or product you offer is a necessity. Techna-Graphics, Inc., in Washington, DC, seems to fit this business maxim to a “T.”

Is Techna-Graphics, Inc., a mapmaker, a commercial printer, or perhaps both?

In this service provider profile, I would like to showcase a unique custom printing supplier that excels in producing physical, printed maps for pilots, government agencies, and a host of others.

You might ask yourself, in an almost totally digital world, with GPS devices everywhere you look, who would need a physical, printed map? You’d be surprised. If you’re a pilot and you experience an electronic glitch, you need a physical, paper map immediately. And it has to be accurate.

The Techna-Graphics, Inc., Aeronautical Chart Division

Techna-Graphics, Inc., a private corporation owned by Joseph W. Caccamise, includes a DC commercial printing shop and a cartographic division in St. Louis, MO, that produces aeronautical charts for approximately 27 state bureaus of aviation on a bi-annual basis. The company employs 30 staff members in the DC location and 8 staff in St. Louis, MO.

Techna-Graphics, Inc., produces all 37 U.S. Visual Flight Rules Sectionals for the Continental United States, including 11 U.S. Terminal Area Charts. (This leaves 19 Terminal Area Charts for Techna-Graphics, Inc., to create.) The company prints and distributes these charts to pilots in the United States under the trade name DuraCharts.

As Techna-Graphics, Inc., promotional literature notes, “When you are flying at 10,000 ft. and your aircraft’s avionics decides to quit on you, a low-tech printed paper chart is your navigational guide and lifeline to the nearest airport and a landing that you can walk away from.” Think of the charts as a “low cost flight insurance” policy.

More Techna-Graphics, Inc., Charts and Maps

In addition to aeronautical charts, Techna-Graphics, Inc., produces state highway maps. The company just submitted a bid for custom printing all 1.2 million copies of the Alabama State highway map. Techna-Graphics, Inc., will also print 500,000 highway maps for the State of West Virginia as well as 350,000 highway maps for New York State, and 10,000 maps for Wayne County, Ohio.

Techna-Graphics, Inc., has also produced trail maps, park maps, marine charts, and other thematic map products for federal, state, county, and municipal agencies, and for commercial map publishers across the United States.

Since 1984, Techna-Graphics, Inc., has produced more than 300 million maps for the federal government. Its products range from black and white maps to multi-colored maps. Services range from cartographic research to map design; map printing, finishing and folding; and delivery, storage, warehousing, and fulfillment.

Large-Format, Non-Map Commercial Printing

Because of its large-format 44” X 60” offset lithographic sheet-fed presses and folding capabilities, Techna-Graphics, Inc., is ideally suited to large-format, non-map printing as well. One past job involved a 36” x 36” (folded to 12” x 12”) process color and aqueous coated record album jacket insert for Erika Records. Using its unique, large-format folding equipment, Techna-Graphics, Inc., was able to handle the critical folds for this 5,000-copy press run.

Techna-Graphics, Inc., Printing Capabilities

Techna-Graphics also has traditional printing capabilities in Washington, DC, where all press work, finishing, and shipping take place. The plant equipment includes 44” x 60” Harris sheet-fed presses, 87” and 63” Lawson flat cutters, and a selection of large-format Stahl and MBO folders.

Techna-Graphics’ 43” x 60” MBO folder includes four folding sections (6-6-4-2) capable of making up to 12 continuous accordion folds. And the company’s custom aeronautical chart MBO folder (26” x 60”) includes two folding sections (12-4).

Due to its specialized mix of custom printing and finishing equipment, Techna-Graphics, Inc., provides folding capabilities for finishing the work of a number of regional printing companies. Some of these also depend on Techna-Graphics for their commercial printing needs.

New Equipment for Techna-Graphics, Inc.

At the moment, Techna-Graphics is researching options for a large-format, solvent-based, digital plotter that will print 12” per second. This roll-fed plotter would accept standard printing papers in weights and finishes Techna-Graphics already uses for its offset printing work. Jobs could be printed (both perfected and sheet printed) and then folded off-line. This would be an adjunct to the company’s core business to be used for low-quantity press runs. Techna-Graphics, Inc., plans to install this equipment within about six months.

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