By Olivia Cahoon
Businesses rely on vehicle wraps to promote a brand to a wider audience. Many times, companies request multiple vehicles be wrapped to cover more ground. Wrapping a fleet of vehicles presents challenges such as ensuring each graphic is identical in size and color. The job can take a week or months depending on the number and size of the vehicles. Here, we take a look at different fleet wrap projects from three print service providers (PSPs).
Located in Farmington, NY, Ewing Graphics began in 1982, specializing in production and fleet graphics installation with an emphasis on fleet and logistics. The IT department develops systems capable of tracking and planning fleet programs of any size. “Our knowledge and ability to forecast the needs and hurdles of a program is a great asset to our customers. We love a challenge,” says Tom Ewing, president, Ewing Graphics.
In 2013, it moved to a 9,000 square foot building. The location allows a staff of 21 plus Ewing and his wife to handle large trailers and small vehicles in shop. 65 percent of the large trailer graphics are full wraps and 35 percent are small vehicle wraps. It considers over 20 vehicles or trailers a year to be a fleet wrap, which makes up 55 percent of its customers’ fleet wrap projects.
For over 25 years the company has used Arlon Graphics, LLC and 3M Commercial Solutions media. “Arlon’s DPF 6000XRP film is our go-to film for vehicle wraps. It is a pressure-sensitive film with air egress that we have great success with,” shares Ewing.
Ewing Graphics runs two Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET PRO III XC-540 inkjet printers and one SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640. In the past, it outsourced large trailer printing projects but with the cost of latex printers decreasing, it purchased HP, Inc. latex printers and brought the work in house.
Recently, the PSP put its printers to good use when Wegmans Food Markets—a repeat customer—requested graphics for a fleet of 130 trailers. The trailers are a significant part of the grocery chain’s image and presence in the food services market.
Beginning with design, the print provider worked directly with the grocer’s in-house design team to produce scaled and full-sized prints. Once in agreement, Ewing Graphics took the next step and created a prototype trailer. The entire design process took approximately four to five weeks.
Similar to other large fleet projects, the trailers were wrapped in 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive and Arlon 3200 gloss laminate. The combination of the two allows for quick application and conforms well around the rivets, according to Ewing. A completed Wegmans trailer uses 920 square feet of media.
Depending on volume, either an HP Latex 3500 or HP Latex 570 printer was used to print the graphics. “The latex process produces great color and doesn’t affect the film adhesive, making the application easier, especially in hot weather,” suggests Ewing.
Printed graphics were laminated with a SEAL—now part of ACCO Brands—Image 600-S laminator and applied with eight-inch squeegees with glass fiber tape. A RollePro from GForce Products, LLC was run over each trailer’s rivets. The device uses heat to crease the media around the rivet, leaving the graphic smooth and clean.
Installing a wrap of this magnitude and multitude takes time and immense organization to complete. All of the trailers were numbered as they came in from the manufacturer to track the progress of the project. Ewing Graphics completed two Wegmans trailers a day while using four installers. A tractor moved trailers around its three-acre lot and customized scissor lifts maintained the pace. Ewing shares that one of the biggest challenges of fleet wrapping is identifying the schedule and length of time the project entails, including holidays, which can affect production.
The Wegmans trailer fleet is one of many large installs the PSP has handled. It strives for efficiency and value when printing and installing graphics. “The grocery chain keeps utilizing our services, but we never take it for granted and keep trying new things to get better,” says Ewing.
In 2012, Printed Pixel, Inc. began business in South Amboy, NJ in a 6,000 square foot work area. The print shop offers branding, graphic design, graphic production, installation, and removal. With 65 percent of the company’s work vehicle wraps and 45 percent of that fleet work, six employees handle some of the largest buses and RVs in the U.S.
The PSP uses Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions products, specifically MPI 1005 Supercast Series, MPI 1105 Supercast Series, and DOL 1360 and DOL 6460 overlaminate films. MPI 1005 and MPI 1105 both feature ten years of outdoor durability and are compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-curable, and latex inks.
Various HP latex machines are found in house, like the HP Designjet L26500—its first. “One of the main benefits of latex is the cure times versus outgassing with solvent printers,” suggests George Kern, art director, Printed Pixel.
With recent advancements in media and print technology, Kern admits that more customers request reflective films in their designs. Reflective car wraps make vehicles noticeable at night, increasing the wrap’s effectiveness and exposure time. “Many of our customers are contractors whose vehicles are on the road in the early mornings and late at night. They like the increased visibility for added exposure and safety,” he shares.
Jeff Lampart, owner, JL Landscaping, approached Printed Pixel to help rebrand his business. The goal was to create a new, unified look illustrating how the company had grown. Starting with his logo, the PSP created all of the marketing collateral from business cards to vehicle wraps.
A finalized version of the new logo and branding concepts were completed in eight days. “Jeff really trusted us and gave us creative freedom throughout the process,” shares Kern. At press time, the project was ongoing—wrapping trailers, trucks, heavy machinery, and other vehicles. “We are constantly coming up with designs using JL Landscaping’s current branding to fit a wide array of equipment,” he continues.
Printed Pixel began the project with Avery Dennison MPI 1005 and now uses Avery Dennison MPI 1105 in addition to Avery Dennison DOL 1360 and DOL 6460 overlaminates, and Avery Dennison MPI 6200 Reflective Imaging Film Series. The HP Designjet L26500 with HP 792 Latex Ink prints the graphics. “The fast drying and curing times allow us to produce the jobs quickly, minimizing downtime,” explains Kern. As of August 2016, 10,000 square feet of material was used for this one project.
While many templates for wrapping specific vehicle models are found through software programs, some of the equipment Printed Pixel wrapped or will wrap is completely custom. As such, it created its own templates for a number of different vehicles.
Compared with other jobs, Kern shares that the amount of contour-cut reflective media and the scope of the project really stand out. It’s rebranding all of the heavy machinery and equipment in JL Landscaping’s fleet. “There is no mistaking who is working on a job site when his company is called in, and that is exactly what he wanted,” he quips.
Lampart loves everything that is completed so far. “Jeff is a great customer, a better friend, and one of our best salesmen so to speak. A personal endorsement of our work or a referral to our business is one of the best compliments we could ask for,” says Kern.
Established in 2015, Wrap Legends focuses on bringing innovation and resourcefulness to vinyl graphics. With five employees in a 2,500 square foot work area in Anaheim Hills, CA, the PSP specializes in premium vehicle vinyl wraps, graphics, paint protection films, and offers other services like window tinting, signage, and decals. It mainly serves the Southern CA area. 50 percent of the firm’s work is vehicle wraps and of that, 50 percent is fleet wraps.
Wrap Legends uses media from Avery Dennison, specifically MPI 1005 and Supreme Wrapping Film SW900, a wrapping film in an assortment of colors. The shop also uses 3M Controltac Graphic Film IJ180, 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3, and 3M Wrap Film Series 1080.
For printing, an HP Latex 360 is used. “After conducting major research, the latex printer was found to be the most efficient and productive,” shares William Brice, owner/founder, Wrap Legends. It creates indoor and outdoor prints on varying substrates, including textiles.
While the PSP is new to the industry, it’s noticed a rise in demand for vehicle wraps.
For three months, Wrap Legends worked with United Pacific, formerly United Oil, to create iconic gasoline tankers to promote employee morale. It wrapped 24 United Pacific trucks, 400 square feet each, with each truck taking ten hours to wrap.
The entire project used die cut graphics, with the help of SA International’s FlexiSIGN vinyl cutting software, a Roland CAMM-1 GX-640 vinyl cutter, and a Graphtec America, Inc. FC8600-160 cutting plotter. Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film SW900 was used because it matched United Pacific’s brand colors the closest.
Brice shares that the installation process was not an easy task. “Not only was this our first big fleet job but we also had zero experience with tankers. We wasted a lot of material in the beginning but then figured it out,” he comments.
Wrap Legends also faced challenges with the trucks’ oil tanks being large and round. “We laid the red vinyl all in one place. Text was cut out of Avery Dennison chrome and was 15 feet long. A metallic grey roll was cut in ten-inch increments for the stripes at the bottom,” shares Brice.
Despite the challenges, he says there are no regrets. “This was a big job for us. It took us to the next level and taught us a lot.” United Pacific was 100 percent satisfied with the fleet job.
Fleet wraps are the ultimate mobile advertisement. Some may use die cut vinyl or film with reflective media, while others rely on printed graphics to convey a branding message. Jobs can include multiples of the same vehicle model or different types of cars, trucks, and trailers. Depending on the customer, the entire fleet may be wrapped all at once or over a span of time. PSPs offering fleet wraps need to be prepared for any and all scenarios. DO
Nov2016, Digital Output