By Courtney Saba
Automated finishing devices are an asset. Many print service providers (PSPs) look to routers and cutters to save time and money, as well as increase output and revenue. Correctly implementing a digital finishing solution improves production of all applications from point of purchase (POP) displays to wall graphics.
Often a print provider makes an investment in a large format printing device not thinking about finishing. The result is a bottleneck on the backend. A PSP might consider outsourcing, but that can cause challenges. Mandel Graphic Solutions, of Milwaukee, WI, recognized the need for an automated finishing device after its large format digital printing volume increased.
Keeping it In the Family
Mandel Graphic Solutions began in 1892. Rick Mandel, president, Mandel Graphic Solutions, is the fourth generation of this family business. With a team of ten employees and a work area of 18,000 square feet, the company’s services reach nationwide.
The PSP provides imagery for the event and POP industries and rigid and fabric applications. It also creates banners, flags, and architectural imagery, which includes fabric accents, custom flooring, wall graphics, wallcoverings, distressed wood or metal, and simulated materials printed onto specified substrates like woodgrain, stones, and brushed metals.
Mandel Graphic Solutions utilizes a Gandy Digital Pred8tor flatbed. A UV device, it prints on sheets up to 4×8 feet in dimension and two inches thick at 900 dpi photographic quality with inline white or clear.
In addition, the shop’s production space includes a 64-inch HP Inc. Latex 360 printer and a 64-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9600 solvent printer. The provider also has a full dye-sublimation workflow, with printers from Mimaki USA, Inc. and a Monti Antonio transfer press.
As large format digital printing volume increased, Mandel Graphic Solutions added its first automated finishing device in 2008. “We were doing more large format digital printing on rigid materials and sourcing out the service or hand cutting,” shares Mandel. The main goal was to provide full manufacturing under one roof, with control of the final product. After adding flatbed digital printing, cutting in house became a necessity.
After testing several automated finishing devices, Mandel Graphic Solutions chose MCT’s MasterCut Versa-Tech portfolio. Specifically, it purchased the Versa-Tech 63×126-inch digital cutting system. The PSP chose MCT for the added cutting speed and quality, in addition to the device working with 4×8-foot sheets—fitting most common substrate dimensions.
The family business finds a huge difference in quality and productivity. “The additional rpms for routing allows for cutting of thicker and harder substrates that we previously shied away from. The increased knife cutting power allows us to cut substrates that we routed before,” explains Mandel.
Mandel Graphic Solutions looks for efficient ways to save time. It upgraded to a 20 horsepower zoned vacuum to ensure cutting quality. For packaging and corrugate print work, the cutting and scoring tool in one pass is a huge time saver, admits Mandel.
The Versa-Tech system offers the PSP a variety of tools and capabilities. The substrates that it cuts ranges from paper product to acrylic plastics. Since utilizing the new device, the added power increases Mandel Graphic Solutions’ throughput and decreases quality control issues.
Avoiding the Impossible
A recent job Mandel Graphic Solutions produced using its MCT Versa-Tech was for a Kohl’s campaign. The goal was to create and install close to 5,000 coroplast stand ups in one week for a breast cancer awareness event. This job took about two weeks from submittal to install.
With the event taking place outdoors, coroplast was chosen for durability and cost. The standees were printed on the Gandy Pred8tor flatbed and finished with the MCT Versa-Tech.
According to the PSP, this request was not in the normal range of timing and volume, it was very accelerated with a large quantity of pieces. Mandel recalls that overall the client found the completed job to be “just amazing, and the event was a success.”
The implementation of automated finishing devices continues to benefit businesses. Mandel Graphic Solutions evolves with each generation, much like technology. Utilizing MCT’s Versa-Tech system, the PSP enhances its capabilities, saves time and money, as well as increases its throughput and quality.
Apr2016, Digital Output