"I grew up in the large format silkscreen and litho business," recalls Tom Young, GM, Unleashed Displays. "I cut my teeth doing billboards, went through the ranks of customer service, and held a bunch of different responsibilities as that business grew. I was there for 24 years."
In February 2008, Young took his position at the helm of Unleashed Displays, based in Minneapolis, MN.
Unleashed Displays produces all sorts of large scale graphics. "There’s nothing standard about this business," he notes. "We offer a mix of posters on SBS Board and images printed on self-adhesive vinyl. We print on styrene, Sintra, and corrugate. We’ve done packaging mock-ups standees, floor graphics, ceiling danglers, lobby graphics, and trade show graphics," recounts Young.
The business relies on an EFI VUTEk QS2000 and an Hewlett-Packard (HP) Designjet Z6100. "The QS gives us the ability to be flexible and move from rolls to sheets. The HP Designjet Z6100 comes into play when we need to print at a very high resolution, because the printer allows us to run 1,200x1,200 dpi," says Young.
"For finishing, we mount and laminate with a SEAL laminator," remarks Young. For cutting the company owns an EskoArtwork Kongsberg i-XL24 equipped with i-cut technology. "It’s an amazing machine; the i -cut software can do unbelievable stuff. We’ve gone from square cutting images to round-cut ceiling danglers or trimming standees printed on corrugated material. It’s a painless process to create the cut files during preparation," he marvels.
The Kongsberg technology pulls double duty on occasion. When the workload permits, Unleashed Displays is able to take on cutting work outsourced from other local businesses.
"You’re really not a player if you don’t have finishing capabilities," asserts Young. "You have to be willing and able to invest in new technologies. If you don’t remain current, you’ll fade away."
Depending on the size of a shop, needs, and budget, a print-and-cut solution or a standalone cutting device is a fit. "We see a lot of growth in print-and-cut technologies," notes Dan Skenderian, VP, market development, CAD/CAM, EskoArtwork. "However, the opportunity is limited if a company can only cut rectangles and squares."
If an integrated solution that offers high-detail cutting isn’t necessary, a standalone solution may be the answer. The capabilities are out there, you need to realize the potential.
Look for a feature article on cutting solutions in the June print issue of Digital Ouput.