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Warranty Best Practices

Matching Printing Processes

Part 3 of 4

By Thomas Franklin

To qualify for warranty coverage, print service providers (PSPs) must offer proof that the vinyl failed and not another variable. To qualify for a warranty in the event of product failure, it’s important to ensure a printing process that is aligned with the requirements of the supplier.

The first step is to use an approved printer, ink, profile, and laminate combination. Second, adhere to the installation instructions provided with the material. Most vinyl suppliers offer an umbrella warranty with the promise of compensation if specific combinations are used. The suppliers themselves test these combinations. A list of approved hardware and media combos, as well as approved installation techniques, are typically available online or through a dealer. If a PSP strays from this list they surrender the ability to qualify for compensation.

If combinations are not included on the list of covered products, don’t give up. It pays to inquire with the manufacturer or dealer about adding it. "If you’re using a combination that we haven’t approved yet, call us up and send a print sample," suggests Rick Moore, director of marketing, MACtac Graphic Products. As long as the company tests the finished output, it can offer—or decline to offer—warranty protection for the finished product.

"We update our list of approved materials and hardware frequently," states Claudia Lazar, technical director, Arlon, Inc.

Some warranties, such as Oracal USA’s Oralife Component System Warranty, require a PSP to achieve certification before any warranty claims are made. Users must submit print samples to Oracal to qualify.

Quality control, essential to any successful print business, is the key to staying within the boundaries of warranty coverage. "That’s one of the things we based our business on," observes Rod Voegele, president, Gatorwraps, based in Las Vegas, NV. "We inspect every project several times and try not to rush. A few extra minutes saves a lot in terms of customer satisfaction," he continues.

Most PSPs who adhere to a quality process don’t experience a problem. "I like printing on vinyl, I’ve never had a project fail on me," shares Steve Trifiletti, president, ABC Sign Systems. based in Pennsauken, NJ.

As with all warranty protection, it is vital to know your rights— read the fine print. A PSP that familiarizes a shop with the warranty protections, guidelines, and caveats ensures a satisfactory journey from design to print to finish.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, When Reliable Products Go Wrong.
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, The Price is Right.

Jan2009, Digital Output

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