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Rigid Results

Direct Print for Productivity

By Cassandra Balentine


Digital print technology allows for quick turnarounds and variability. Print providers working in the narrow space, creating mailers, brochures, and other promotional material leverage the capability. Sometimes, growing a business means expanding in services and device size. Adding a wide format digital printer that outputs high-quality, durable work on rigid substrates is one option for a firm familiar with quick turnaround and variability.


Rigid Works

Based in Indianapolis, IN, Allegra Castleton is a full-service print provider offering offset printing, B&W and color digital printing, mailing, large format—both roll-to-roll and flatbed, UV coating, and promotional products. Serving largely the Indianapolis area, the company employs a staff of 12 in an 8,000 square foot building.


According to John Long, owner, Allegra, about 13 percent of the firm’s work is currently wide format. It is well adept at printing onto rigid media, regularly producing a variety of signage, including event graphics for outdoor road races and non-profit walks. They also provide the commercial real estate market with oversized signage for properties listed for sale or lease.


For wide format, Allegra utilizes a Roland DGA Corporation printer/cutter and an EFI H652, a UV wide format hybrid printer equipped with white ink. “We purchased the H652 because we needed to reduce the labor content of producing our event signage,” explains Long. Prior to direct printing capabilities, when a job required rigid media, the shop printed onto adhesive-backed media then applied to the substrate with a laminator.


After researching wide format devices to handle direct-to-rigid work, the shop selected the H652 because it met both quality and budget requirements. “In addition to the labor savings printing direct to substrate, it allows for versatility in producing many projects. Without the white ink we would have been left out in the cold on some of these jobs,” he adds.


Upon the launch of its signage services, Allegra first presented its existing clients with the latest offering. “This allowed for a warm introduction. In addition, they were pleased we could be a one-stop provider for all of their marketing projects,” says Long.


One-Stop Advantage

Long describes an ongoing rigid job for Baseline Commercial Real Estate. An existing client, the firm originally utilized the print provider for corporate brochure and stationary printing and relied on a different organization for signage. “Baseline wanted a one-stop provider that understands their business, maintains brand consistency, and offers the ease of one call, one invoice,” says Long.


During a rebranding, the real estate organization asked Allegra to produce signs that remained within local code guidelines while simultaneously standing out from the competition. Many of Baseline’s peers market with vinyl cut lettering, which provides only one to two colors. Allegra created full-color graphics with the ability to change out listing descriptions.


Long explains that many property listings are based on a two year contract, so the sign material and printed graphics had to perform for the period of the listing. Nudo’s AlumaCorr—a corrugated polypropylene core with finished aluminum on both sides—is the rigid substrate of choice.


The signs are printed on the H652 hybrid, which according to Long, help provide curb appeal and allow the signs to stand out from the norm. After printing, laminate is added with a GBC Falcon 3064WF-1 laminator to protect against UV rays and prevent scratching of the signs during install, handled by Allegra.


“Since the signs require a vertical rider to provide a three-dimensional look, we needed to keep ease of installation in mind,” explains Long. “The riders are printed ahead of time and are interchangeable.”


The entire process took about a week. Generally, Baseline requires a turnaround of five to seven days after a listing agreement is finalized. “The ease of printing direct to substrate allowed us to fulfill this requirement,” says Long. It was a driving factor for obtaining the work in the first place.


Baseline’s team is constantly creating property listings. Initially, Long estimates it produced approximately 40 to 50 signs to replace the older brand. Currently, Allegra produces about five signs per month, which varies based on listing requirements.


Wide Format Opportunity

Allegra continues to look at digital technologies and increase its sales effort within the graphic arts. The company plans to expand its focus on wide format opportunities and invest in more training, seminars, and trade shows for its staff.


Nov2013, Digital Output

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