By Lisa Guerriero
Magnets are a popular way to present graphics, offering efficiency as well as style. Magnetic systems provide convenient, cost-effective change outs. Many environments benefit from magnetic displays because they provide reusability and a refreshed look.
Printed magnets are still popular for vehicles and promotional and novelty items. However, they appear in a variety of other settings. “The use of magnetic materials in digital wide format applications is limited only by the imagination of the graphic designer,” explains Darrell Adams, VP-America, Newlife Magnetics LLC.
Print providers have used magnets for years, by printing on vinyl and affixing it to a magnet. Recently, digital technology enabled printing directly onto magnetic media. Directly printable magnet media is now prevalent.
“With the growth in wide format printing capabilities, it has made it easier for printers to print on magnetic material. It also expanded the market due to the fact that the barrier to entry for printing on magnetic material is far less costly,” shares Steve McLevey, customer service and product manager, Flexmag Industries, Inc.
Non-magnetized media is also available for direct printing. Some vendors sell this material along with a device that allows print providers to magnetize the media after printing is complete.
In addition, a third option is now popular among print shops. Magnetic-receptive media doesn’t stick to metal; instead, magnets stick to it. Receptive media converts non-metal surfaces into a base where magnets are affixed.
“The newest and hottest thing is magnetically receptive material. It is used in conjunction with magnet sheeting to create changeable graphics and signage. The whole thing has opened up an entirely new bailiwick of opportunities,” says John Kanis, president/CEO, MagX America, Inc.
These and other advancements in magnet media help make products suitable for applications in décor, advertising, and signage markets.
Magnetic displays allow users to update messaging quickly, at no additional cost. This makes it a worthwhile investment for many customers. Professional installers aren’t needed to swap out the graphics. For example, a restaurant staff can easily change magnets to display the day’s menu.
Gary Teliszczak, business development manager, Adams Magnetic Products, says magnets are popular for retail, restaurants, educational settings—anywhere messaging is used repeatedly and updated frequently. “Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking going forward is surrounded by the ongoing need to cut cost and still attract the targeted audience,” he observes.
Retailers like the look of layered messaging as well as the efficiency, adds Teliszczak. For example, a retailer might layer a “30 percent off” message on top of existing graphics.
Magnetic media is comparatively compact and cost effective to ship, rolled into tubes. This is appealing for customers who need graphics for multiple locations, such as point of purchase (POP) displays for retail chains. It’s also a good fit for trade shows and other multi-location events.
Advancements in magnetic substrates drive magnet use. Many vendors notice more customers using magnetic-receptive media instead of traditional white-face magnet. “Our customers are selling this concept by using a ROI calculation. Once the initial cost of installing the magnet is absorbed, there is a substantial cost savings in media, kitting, and shipping compared to white-face magnet,” explains Brian Cheshire, sales manager, Xcel Products, Inc.
Products are thinner and wider, with stronger magnetism. This allows them to be used in more applications, including home and office décor, large signage, and outdoor building graphics.
Naomi Mukai, marketing and PR manager, Visual Magnetics LP, says that the newest products are not only thinner but more agile. “More of our clients are designing with layers in mind, using smaller pieces on a larger graphic for promotional messaging. You can cover an entire wall with graphics or wallcoverings and you aren’t limited to small graphics.”
“The trend for magnetic graphics has been for larger graphics and growing from wide format to grand format. These materials are also being used more for decorative applications such as magnetic wallpaper and wall murals as well as floor and ceiling graphics,” agrees Newlife Magnetics’ Adams.
Gary Foster, national sales director, MagHold, notes that magnetic-receptive media is especially well suited to wide format projects. He predicts receptive media “will continue on the rise as it’s lighter and wider and less expensive to ship.”
Jim Cirigliano, marketing manager, Magnum Magnetics Corporation, agrees that receptive products allow for broader use of printed magnets. “Magnetic-receptive media looks and feels like a flexible magnet, but it doesn’t stick to metal—instead, magnets stick to it. A layer of magnetic-receptive sheet can turn a non-metal surface into a space for interchangeable magnet graphics in no time,” he points out.
In addition, Cirigliano observes demand for post-print magnetizing solutions. “Many digital printers require un-magnetized material that can then be magnetized as a finishing step, and we’re seeing lots of interest in our post-print magnetizing solutions,” he explains.
Magnetic accessories also drive trends. These features add dimension to displays. “Magnetic assemblies such as magnetic hooks, posts, karabiners, channel magnets, and clips provide versatile fastening and holding options,” observes Mike Gertz, marketing manager, Master Magnetics, Inc.
Master Magnetics’ customers use magnets for interior design, retail, and POP. Examples include grocery aisle directories, menu boards, bank posters, décor, and department sale signage. “There are endless out-of–the-box, cost-effective solutions achievable when using magnets,” he adds.
Magnets on the Market
Here, Digital Output highlights some of the magnet and magnetic-receptive providers serving the graphic arts.
Adams Magnetic offers magnetic and magnet-receptive media for a variety of ink sets and print processes. MegaMAG is a flexible magnet sheet in 40- and 48-inch widths, and in thicknesses of 20- or 30-mil. The product is available plain, with adhesive or with white PVC. It is sold in rolls or sheets, and cut or slit to any length.
“MegaMAG works well with our MAGbond magnet-receptive product, allowing designers the ability to create a seamless display measuring 60 inches wide,” notes Teliszczak. MAGbond is available at 50 or 60 inches wide, with either 10-mil PET or 13-mil art paper laminate. Printable MAGbond works with all flexible magnet sheets and most existing magnetic wall systems.
Flexmag develops FlexCoat-EZ, which is a flexible magnetic sheeting with a white coating applied directly to the magnet. The company creates products based on customers’ needs. “Width, thickness, and strength are all factors that are determined by the application and we develop the product to fit the application for which it is being used,” continues McLevey.
MagHold’s products include directly printable and magnetic-receptive media. Its magnetic and un-magnetized media are sold in sheets or rolls, up to 48 inches wide, with a variety of laminate options. The magnetic-receptive media is in widths up to 40 inches, with the option of PET laminate for a write-on, erasable surface. MagHold also sells other magnetic products, including strips and matching poles.
Magnet Sales & Manufacturing Company, Inc. promotes its mFlex line of magnetic sheeting. It recently introduced a 40-inch wide product. Pressure-sensitive adhesive backing is available. Standard are rubber-based adhesives for general purpose indoor applications, and acrylic-based adhesives for general purpose outdoor use.
Magnum Magnetics features options for different press types and inks. Its directly printable media includes a two-sided product, and a 48-inch wide option, and a sheet that’s printable with both digital and offset methods. Its receptive materials include RubberSteel, which holds magnets like steel but is lightweight and economical. Magnum Magnetics sells a motorized portable magnetizer. It allows users to print on un-magnetized materials and then “charge” the substrate post press.
MagX recently introduced a new line of Xtra-Wide printable magnetic sheeting products. MagX 48 is a new printable magnetic product measuring a full 48 inches. MagX 40 is a 40-inch printable magnetic sheeting for large format. MagX 30 is a new 30-inch wide product offering six additional inches of print space. MagX 24 is a printable magnetic sheeting with a true web width of 24 3/8 inches.
Master Magnetics offers printable magnetic and receptive sheeting, for aqueous and solvent ink. Roll widths are available from 12 to 48 inches wide. Its PrintMagnetVinyl is installed inside or outside, and comes in thicknesses of .012 to .060 inches—plus laminate thickness. Gertz describes the company’s media as high quality, providing high resolution and brilliant color.
PrintMagnetVinyl can be used with Master Magnetics’ receptive media, FlexIRON. Sold in standard widths up to 48 inches, FlexIRON is available .012 or .060 inches thick. There are several laminates, including an erasable whiteboard.
New Force Magnetics Co. offers flexible magnetic sheeting in widths up to 48 inches, with or without adhesive, or in white. These sheets are available in large for standard-sized rolls. New Force also offers magnetic-receptive sheeting.
Newlife Magnetics manufactures a full product portfolio of wide format, flexible magnetic materials. Its Maco product line includes receptive wall and ceiling paint, printable magnet-receptive films, printable magnet substrates, high-energy double-sided magnets, printable magnet wallpaper, and other magnetic system components.
Ultraflex Systems, Inc. offers XMR magnetic-receptive media. It is available in widths of up to 74 inches, allowing for seamless installations and increased throughput, according to Kylie Schleicher, marketing manager, Ultraflex. The backside of XMR is smooth, which eliminates the potential for graphics to be scratched when stacked or rolled up.
Visual Magnetics offers over 20 magnetic-receptive finishing options, from fabrics to veneers and dry erase. MagnaMedia print material, InvisiLock magnet system, and ActiveWall magnetic paint make up the Visual Magnetics Graphics System.
Xcel Products offers custom sheets and rolls as well as standard sizes of magnetic-receptive media. The company sells the media in widths up to 74 inches. Offerings include XMR Dimensions, which is available in specialty textures like wood grain and leather; and Action Magnet, designed for wall mounting.
Magnetic media offers a visual effect that’s increasingly popular with everyone from restaurateurs to advertisers and decorators. This is part of the reason printed magnets are more prevalent today in homes, shops, and offices than in the past. Once invested in a product, customers can update their graphics easily and without additional expense.
Jul2015, Digital Output