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Serving Up Flat Board

Rigid Substrates Pop in Food Chains

By Melissa Donovan

Rigid substrates are a valuable component to a print service provider’s (PSP’s) operation. Today’s wide format flatbed digital printers offer robust capabilities, allowing for non-traditional media to be run through them. Despite this, traditional rigid substrates such as PVC sheets, Gatorboard, and Styrene are used on a regular basis for applications including point of purchase (POP), directional signage, and promotional pieces.

 

Graphics Solutions Group, Inc. (GSG) advocates for the use of traditional rigid substrate materials. It works with Palram Industries Ltd.’s PALIGHT on a regular basis to create retail displays, banking signage, and menus and backlit displays.

 

Founded in 1987 the PSP offers services including large format, offset, mailing, fulfillment, and promotional items, making it a true marketing service provider. With its 80,000 square foot headquarters based in Kennesaw, GA, it is able to attract brands such as Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, as well as Wendy’s and design and print signage for national and international locations.

 

The combination of PALIGHT and two Fujifilm North America Corporation Acuity HD 2504 flatbeds makes high-quality rigid signage possible.

 

According to Ron Sandy, digital services manager, GSG, the output quality of the Fujifilm Acuity HD 2504 printers is top notch. “We work with a lot of customers whose color is critical; everything must match and remain consistent throughout each print type. The printer’s variable droplet size allows us to maintain color consistency by limiting the ink and minimizing overspray,” he explains. The result is crisp lines, solid color, and true skin tones.

 

GSG began as an offset printer with reliance on longer runs to make profit. The introduction of digital allows the company to prosper in variable and short-run applications. In addition to the Fujifilm flatbeds, its wide format portfolio includes an Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 and an Epson Stylus Pro 10600 and 9900.

 

Standard Operation

Owning the two Fujifilm flatbeds for roughly two and a half years, GSG experiments with floor and ceiling tiles to diversify options. The demand for the substrates isn’t as high compared to traditional board. Projects are generally one to 100 versus runs of 500 and 5,000.

 

The PSP’s standard board business is not affected by the untraditional options. Wood, metals, and glass complement this segment and create an up sell option. Part of the reason traditional rigid media usage continues to prosper is the superb white point of the PALIGHT flat foamed PVC sheets. Also Palram does a great job creating manufacturing specifications that make it easy to print on the board, says Sandy.

 

Chicken and Burgers

The ability to print on a variety of substrates allows GSG to be a one-stop shop. “Customers don’t have to go anywhere else,” admits Sandy. A perfect example of this is the work done for Chick-Fil-A. It requests jobs of multiple types that an experienced and versatile PSP such as GSG is able to handle. From catering menus produced using a hybrid of both conventional offset and digital printing to perforated window graphics and menu boards, GSG provides the chain with a total solution for its printing needs.

 

Another example of GSG’s versatility is through its work with McDonald’s. While it creates rigid substrate signage for the fast food franchise with PALIGHT, it also uses its Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 to print wallpaper for new locations and remodels.

 

“Some of the locations are looking to localize their décor so they ask for custom wallpaper, for example the design in a McDonald’s in HI will be different then AK. We receive the art and then print the wallcovering and ship it to the location for installation,” explains Sandy.

 

For typical restaurant projects, POP signage for each remodel or new store is created depending on the design specifications chosen by the franchisee. These are printed on PALIGHT with the Fujifilm Acuity HD 2504 flatbeds. Project coordinators track the jobs going in and out of the shop to let the customer know when signage arrives.

 

Up the Challenge

GSG’s experience allows it to comfortably educate its customers. Sandy finds the education of a client a challenge. “The customer will always scrutinize the print. Despite the high quality of digital, there is not a 100 percent consistent product all of the time,” he admits.

 

Its use of PALIGHT on Fujifilm Acuity HD 2504 flatbeds allows GSG to offer high-quality, traditional rigid substrate applications in bulk quantities quickly and efficiently. In addition, the printers present the PSP with an opportunity to output on untraditional materials in smaller runs.

 

Oct2012, Digital Output

 

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