By Lisa Guerriero
Many print service providers (PSPs) have a specialty. For Direct Edge Media, that specialty is display and point of purchase (POP). The Orange, CA-based shop handles a steady flow of diverse print work. Its services include short-run sheet-fed digital and offset. Its focus, however, is on large format printing. Direct Edge Media works on display and POP projects every day. Many of them are high-volume jobs with a short turnaround.
Ryan Brueckner, CEO, and Ryan Clark, president, Direct Edge Media, share a background in photography. When they established the company in 2001, they began by enlarging photos and printing on an inkjet. “These were much less expensive and quicker to produce than traditional photographs. Our second machine was a small color copier and the rest is history,” recalls Brueckner.
Though wide format remained the company’s focus, its portfolio expanded over the years. With a team of 50 employees, it handles everything from direct mail to dye-sublimation printing. The shop works on accounts throughout North America.
Over time, its equipment portfolio expanded as well. Today, two flatbeds, roll-to-roll devices, offset printers, finishing equipment, and copiers can be found in its production space. Brueckner and Clark decide on a case-by-case basis which printing method to utilize for each job. They frequently opt for digital printing, observing that technology advancements make digital the dominant approach. “It is a balancing act of cost and speed that determines which process is used. We always try to stay on the forefront of technology, so digital has become the majority player,” explains Brueckner.
The PSP uses two Fujifilm North America Corporation flatbeds—an Acuity Select HS X2 and a new Inca Onset Q40i with white ink. It also owns a roll-to-roll Uvistar Pro-8.
As business grew and client turnaround times diminished, Brueckner and Clark realized they needed to do something to increase efficiency. Enter the Inca Onset Q40i. “We were running more overtime in addition to three full shifts, seven days a week. It took a toll on production as well as employees. We needed something faster and the decision to purchase an Inca was clear,” says Brueckner.
Prior to obtaining the Inca Onset Q40i, order volume sometimes dictated whether the company had to outsource printing when two large jobs came in simultaneously. Direct Edge Media now maintains greater control over when and how jobs are finished thanks to acquiring the new printer, which results in keeping jobs in house.
The Inca Onset Q40i’s high-end white printing capabilities present new business opportunities. The shop manages jobs for other print providers in the area looking to leverage this feature with their own clients.
Direct Edge Media regularly works with shoe manufacturer, Vans, creating its retail window displays. Not only does the client update its promotional material at a vigorous pace, it also has unique goals. Vans doesn’t want a basic background—it wants a dynamic, eye-grabbing display.
Vans requested a job in Summer 2014, centered on launching Star Wars-themed sneakers. The company asked for a display for the product preview, followed by a display to officially launch and promote the shoe line. Later, the client added a third display to coincide with a second line.
The project required multiple components. Rigid cutouts of the movie franchise’s characters with soft banners as backdrops were featured in the windows. LED lights were incorporated into the display to evoke light sabers. Vans’ goal was simple, explains Clark, “it wanted to wow the customer walking by the window in the mall.”
Direct Edge Media also created output for solo, in-store displays. This included smaller rigid signage, additional soft banners, and POP displays designed to both hold and promote the sneakers.
Though the shop is a longtime user of Falconboard from Hexacomb Corporation, the Star Wars job required a large amount of black media, so Ultra Board by United Industries was used for its robust rigidness.
The print provider utilized nearly all of its equipment to complete the job—including two Zünd automated cutters, roll-to-roll printers for banners, and small format printers. It wouldn’t have been possible without the Inca Onset Q40i, says Clark. For each stage of the campaign, the team worked 24 hours a day for five days.
Rising to the Challenge
The right equipment helps a thriving PSP keep up with demand. Adding the Inca Onset Q40i from Fujifilm helped Direct Edge Media complete large jobs and keep more work in house. When a top client presents a unique, high-volume POP request, the PSP is up to the challenge.
Jun2015, Digital Output