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Vinyl Wrap Makes Splash at Construction Site

Media, solvent-based printer keys to project's success

By DO Staff

Remember when construction sites were simply terrible eye-sores, barricaded away from public view with large pieces of plywood or dark vinyl? The continued wonders of large format output technology have enabled printers to turn these sites into attractive precursors while the hidden construction project rambles along to completion.

Improving the aesthetics of construction sites has been The Foundation of Hospital Artís goal for 20 years. Born out of founder John Feightís idea to soften hospital environments, this nonprofit organization has created more than 30,000 paintings for 600 hospitals.

Uncharted Waters
Recently, The Foundation of Hospital Art (located in Roswell, Ga.) completed a painting project for the Atlanta Aquarium Project. In pursuit of a more aesthetically pleasing construction site, the Coca-Cola Co. and Georgia Aquarium contacted The Foundation for Hospital Art, which then enlisted the painting help of two local elementary schools Ė Centennial Place Elementary School and Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School.

The painting session resulted in a colorful aquarium mural. The next step was to output the artwork as a large wrap for the construction barricade, which surrounded the site, located on the south side of Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. For that, The Foundation of Hospital Art contracted Meteor Inc., a full service graphics and digital imaging company located in Atlanta and Troy, Mich.

Project Went Swimmingly
Gary Andonian, vice president of operations at Meteor, said this was an interesting job for them to produce. Meteor printed the artwork as a repeating file on IMAGin JT5828, an adhesive-backed vinyl film from MACtac designed specifically for solvent inkjet printing.

The wrap was printed on a solvent-based Vutek UltraVu 3360, and was produced as a large format digital print. Once the printing was complete, Meteor applied MACtacís PermaGard PG7284, a semi-matte vinyl overlaminate for added protection and pop.

Andonian added that the wrap was a great addition to the construction site, bringing color and a change of scenery to passersby. "You can never have enough of a good thing," he concluded.

LF Output Not Wrapped Up in Paper Anymore
Non-paper-based wide format inkjet media captures 59% of market in 2003
The inkjet media market has taken quite a few interesting turns over the last couple of years and a new report recently released claims itís about to take yet another one.

Non-paper based media (i.e. banner material, PSA vinyl, etc.) used in wide format inkjet printing claimed 59 percent of all media purchased in the U.S. in 2003, according to a new study by Boston-based Web Consulting. This figure is up 11 percentage points over 2002 according to the report. The research claims this increase is due to the growing strength of pigment-based systems (both solvent and aqueous) within the overall printer installed base.

"This is a fascinating and complicated time in the inkjet media market," stated Lisa Onesto, senior consultant of Web Consulting Inc. "These trends indicate significant shifts in media types, applications, ink usage and ultimately the media brands that will be future market leaders."

The report, titled 2003 Inkjet Media Trends, presents an in-depth look at inkjet media purchasing and usage trends in the U.S. inkjet printing market including an analysis of trends of both aqueous and solvent inkjet media. Nearly 250 print shops were surveyed for the report to ensure quality statistics and an accurate representation of the industry. (Web Consulting defines wide format as printer widths between 24-inches and 87-inches.)

Media Shift
There are many indicators showing significant changes in the market. The report confirms that while the total sales generated (i.e. percent of a shopís total revenue) by wide format inkjet printing continue to rise (up 6 percentage points from 26 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2003), the composition of the inkjet media purchases has shifted. For example, less than 30 percent of inkjet media purchases in 2003 were OEM-branded products, continuing the trend that OEM media usage is decreasing. Market share is being captured by companies previously considered "secondary" suppliers like 3M, Avery and LexJet.

The study also shows a move towards outdoor applications as printers realize the benefits of durable graphics and higher quality pigment-based inks. According to the report, almost two thirds of the applications were printed with pigment-based ink (both aqueous and solvent).

"The results of this report clearly indicate a trend in inkjet technology towards increased image durability and robustness. According to our research, there are changes in how inkjet prints support the procurement of graphics," said Michael Flippin, vice president, managing consultant, Web Consulting. "The study also reports that in 2003, the top inkjet applications in wide format were banners, exhibit graphics and point-of-purchase (POP). Interestingly however, POP has declined from 27 percent in 2000 to only 16 percent in 2003. The report also shows that only 49 percent of images are not laminated."

The report also includes market share and performance ratings for such media manufacturers as 3M, Avery, ENCAD, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Intelicoat, Lexjet and Ocť, and includes other purchasing and lamination trends. Web Consulting provides data over a three-year historical trend in five traditional print-for-pay (PFP) inkjet segments (Digital Printers, Photo Labs, Repro-graphics Houses, Sign Shops and Screen Printers) and indicates that sales generated from wide format inkjet printing has increased in each of these traditional PFP markets over the past year.

May2004, Digital Output

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