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Hazen Paper Co., maker of holographic images for Super Bowl programs, expands, hires in Holyoke

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

HOLYOKE — The manufacturing process that will put a three-dimensional hologram into the hands of spectators at Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV began with water coursing through the Holyoke power canals and into the city’s world-famous hydroelectric turbines. In between there are the NFL-approved artists and publisher and workers in hairnets and lint-free coveralls in a controlled clean room at Hazen Paper Co. “The green aspect of this is huge,” said Robert E. Hazen, an owner of the Holyoke business, which has produced the covers for stadium-edition Super Bowl programs 17 years running. Robert Hazen and his cousin, John H. Hazen, led a tour Thursday of the third-generation family company’s film and metalizing plant on Main Street. Besides publications like program covers, Hazen does holographic images for packaging and lottery tickets. With three interrelated plants in Holyoke, Hazen has more than 200 employees. It hired 48 of them in 2019, some as replacements for people who left but many as new hires for expansion, John Hazen said. “We are hiring all the time,” he said. Hazen runs an internship program hiring engineers and professionals and an apprenticeship program mostly for those without college degrees. “In that program, you work five-hour days for a period of time and it’s like a tryout,” John Hazen said. “At the end of that, inevitably, there is a spot for you.” Hazen plans to add a new piece of machinery to its clean room by the end of February. It will coat a plastic film with an image, metalize that film with aluminum in vacuum, transfer the metal to paper and then strip off the film for re-use. John Hazen said the image in a hologram is really in three dimensions. It’s not an image, really, but a texture that catches light. “That’s what gives you the that flash of light, the color, the movement,” he said. The aluminum layer is half the thickness of a human hair. The process uses such a small amount of metal that a soda can could be used to coat an entire football field and have some left over. It also means the hologram program covers can be recycled with regular paper. Since about 2007, Hazen has been able to do the process in-house, using its own employees and equipment. That way the company doesn’t burn a lot of fossil fuels transporting product. Doing the work in-house is also crucial for jobs where speed is of the essence. In the case of Super Bowl programs, Hazen gets background art from publisher H.O. Zimman of Lynn in October and then creates a holographic image to go with it. That image gets approved by Christmas. Then, on the Monday after the conference championships determine the two Super Bowl teams, the cover goes into production. All the prep work takes just seven days after the cover with the opposing team logos is final, Robert Hazen said. “No one else can do it that fast,” said Robert Hazen. “Our people have eyes on every step of the process.”

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