By Cassandra Carnes
Substrate choice is an important component in a project’s final outcome. Many print service providers (PSPs) set out to master the art of media, offering clients expert advice on their projects. Every so often a new product enters the market that gets the artistic gears turning. One solution generating attention is a large-scale magnetic graphic system by Visual Magnetics LP. Nu Graphics, Etc., Inc., an early adopter of the solution, uses it to improve shipping and installation costs and build meaningful client relationships.
Nu Graphics began as a prepress business in 1991. The company evolved into a full-service shop, offering everything from CD duplication to wide format graphics.
Approximately two years ago, the Woburn, MA-based digital solutions provider began printing on Visual Magnetics media, offering its clients a unique substrate that provides an easy solution for changeable graphics. The shop utilizes two wide format devices from Hewlett-Packard (HP) to print onto the media, an HP Scitex FB6100 UV hybrid and the HP Designjet L25500 roll-fed latex device.
Wayne Moda, president/partner, Nu Graphics, is excited about the capabilities of Visual Magnetics’ system. “We’re an innovations company, so we’re always looking for something new and unique to bring to our clients—and this is certainly it.”
New Solution, New Applications
The Visual Magnetics Graphic System matches magnetic-receptive technologies with the highest quality print media. It features patented MagnaMedia Micro-Iron printable films to produce graphics that enable design flexibility and allow for multi-layered panels. Installation entails rolling down the graphic over a surface prepared with InvisiLock flexible magnet. The process substantially lowers installation costs while conveying a professionally mounted appearance.
Moda explains that it is most appropriate for customers that benefit from a programmatic solution as it provides reduced installation and shipping costs over time. Because the initial set up requires the installation of a base layer magnet by a qualified installer, the system is fitting for those that change out graphics often.
Serving High Society
Rhode Island’s Newport County Visitors Center contracts advertising space out to local businesses. The environment includes 21 40x54-inch glass-enclosed cases, which are found along the outside. Before using Visual Magnetics, the displays were backed in corkboard and each time a graphic needed to be changed out, a foamcore board was pinned inside of the box. Swapping graphics proved to be time consuming and environmental elements destroyed the signs.
Nu Graphics proposed the adoption of Visual Magnetics. After a beta period, each display was transitioned and initial installation took about two weeks. “The printing is fast, but we had to retro fit all of the on-site frames. Now we turn a print around in about 24 hours,” adds Moda.
The displays were reengineered by ripping out the cork, adding marine-grade plywood on the inside, and sheet metal mounted to the back to serve as the base of the board. The project used a .030 double-sided, high-energy InvisiLock magnet. Visual Magnetics’ VM-POLYeight UV substrate was the skin. The magnet is the conduit of the system and the printed output is magnetic receptive. After base installation, graphics are changed out—or re-skinned—using Visual Magnetics’ magnetic-receptive products.
Moda estimates they print up to five ads a week, depending on the client. All of the graphics hanging in the center’s outdoor displays are printed with UV inks.
A reduction in shipping cost is notable when comparing the Visual Magnetics system with the center’s previous setup. Moda estimates that shipping 40x54-inch pieces of foamcore totaled $40 or $50 per sign. Although the material is lightweight, the board size adds to shipping fees. With Visual Magnetics products, Nu Graphics approximately ships a sign for eight dollars.
Moda says the substrate itself is great, the ink lays on it well, there are very few problems with banding, and it profiles easily. But, he warns that it is important to know what you’re working with. “You have to know that there are a number of different Visual Magnetics substrates and you need to choose the right substrate for each application and printer,” he adds.
A Solution to Stick With
The best innovations drive creativity, productivity, and improve the bottom line. Nu Graphics is all about innovation. With the addition of the Visual Magnetics Graphic System, the company is able to provide an ideal and innovative solution for clients that consistently change out graphics.
Sep2011, Digital Output