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All Trails Lead to Media Versatility

Popular Footwear Manufacturer Enlists UV LED

By Melissa Donovan

 

Print service providers (PSPs) often imagine applications that involve non-traditional substrates. In many cases, technology is unable to successfully handle the media. Issues such as curling, poor quality, and minimal throughput may occur. While we praise these people for their intelligent, ahead-of-the-curve ideas, they challenge vendors to create equipment to keep up.

 

With EFI’s recent release of its VUTEK GS3250LX UV LED printer, many PSPs’ wish lists are fulfilled. The 126.5-inch or 3.2-meter device offers media versatility for those looking to create exceptional projects that make themselves and their customers stand out from the competition.

 

Keeping Ahead of the Curve

PVS In-Store Graphics is as unique as they come. The Portland, OR print provider’s first job—in business since 1991—was stencil masks for tombstones. With 25 employees they serve the greater Portland area with a focus on the customer. More than a PSP, PVS takes joy in offering consulting, design, engineering, project management, and prototyping capabilities. A large portion of its work is retail oriented, targeting major brands. Additionally, the shop works on unique industrial applications in its 40,000 square foot space.

 

Evolving from vinyl cutting to screenprinting, PVS introduced digital to its portfolio in 1999. Today, the shop is home to an EFI VUTEk GS3200 and GS2000, Hewlett-Packard Designjet 5000s, a Mimaki USA, Inc. JV4, and an Océ North America LightJet. This scope presents a range of options. According to Wes Shinn, co-owner, PVS, customers and the PVS staff weigh the pros and cons of the different methods to determine which unit best suits the job. “We’ve worked hard to be upfront with equipment purchases throughout the years, keeping pace with technology,” he says.

 

Introducing UV LED

This past February, PVS introduced another device to the mix to provide more choices to its client base. The company became a beta site for the EFI VUTEK GS3250LX UV LED printer. Based on previous purchases from EFI, PVS already maintained a good relationship with the company. Both sides are open with the other about exchanging advice, tips, and tricks on advancing digital print.

 

Shinn says he was familiar with UV LED and its benefits before becoming a beta site. PVS had looked at other equipment from multiple vendors but didn’t see any printers performing at the speeds they required. Additionally, the printers they looked at featured adhesion and curing issues.

 

Once installed, there was a small learning curve associated with the printer. “It was almost like plug and play,” explains Shinn. Considerations were made in regards to the nuances of the ink set, which is EFI’s, but other than that the process was effortless.

 

Eco-Footwear

Since implementing the printer, at least 100 jobs have run through it, calculates Shinn. Customers are interested in the UV LED device’s minimal energy usage and UV properties it entails, such as little to no volatile organic compounds.

 

Once customer is Keen; an international footwear retailer with an overall aesthetic that relates to sustainability with a very eco, earthen feel. PVS has worked with Keen in the past and a recent job that was previously run on a UV device was output on the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX. The footwear manufacturer required 450 in-store point of purchase shoe stands, 150 sets of three different graphics were produced.

 

With the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX media versatility is at its peak. Thinner materials are run through the machine without curling. PVS is unique in that the projects they create utilize substrates that aren’t common, pre-prepared print board.

 

For the Keen project, wood fence board and Class A corrugated bio-board—both recyclable—were used. The wood ran through the printer in two passes, the first white. Each was printed on both sides. It took three days to produce everything, mainly because of a required high resolution, the white layer, and the project’s dimensionality required a uni-directional setting. While the shoe stands were made up of the wood board, the bio-board was used for various display signage.

 

Keen was thrilled with the result, as the eco-minded company enjoyed the usage of the UV LED printer. The project took two weeks in total to create.

 

Versatility Promotes Progress

The EFI VUTEk GS3250LX provides PVS with the media versatility they need to continue offering customers such as Keen creative solutions at quick turnarounds and high quality.

 

Sep2011, Digital Output

 
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