By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Many print service providers (PSPs) offer fleet wrap services to their customers. Wrapping multiple cars, buses, trucks, and even boats in one job can be a challenge, but batch processing offers economy of scale. When it comes to creating a fleet of matching vehicles, consistency is essential. Fleet graphics include full to partial wraps and decals. These various tiers allow for any size business to cover a lot of advertising ground.
Building on Passion
Sharp Mill Graphics, Inc., based in Tinley Park, IL, was founded in 2013. The PSP built its expertise from passion. Jeremy Siegers, president, Sharp Mill, was drawn to digital printing and continues to look for ways to expand his knowledge. Visiting online forums to share information with print shop owners from around the world, attending trade shows to watch equipment demonstrations, and reading trade magazines are all tools Siegers regularly relies on.
It is through these multiple educational outlets that he built Sharp Mill Graphics into what it is today. The business specializes in custom graphic design, special event graphics, trade show displays, fleet vehicle advertising, and business signage.
Fleet graphics are about 25 percent of Sharp Mill Graphics’ work. “As we continue to grow with more small businesses just starting out with their first business vehicle to large, established companies with hundreds of fleet vehicles, we are excited for both to choose to work with Sharp Mill Graphics for their fleet vehicle advertising projects,” shares Siegers.
Much of its work for fleet jobs are decal based and not full wraps. Originally, these graphics—mostly logos—were made up of cut vinyl, which requires time to cut, weed, mask, and install multiple layers of color. Today, the PSP prints graphics digitally on its JV3-130 SP II digital printer from Mimaki USA, Inc. The device runs SS2 solvent inks.
“It is a workhorse machine that produces amazing prints. Durability, ink adhesion, and quality are all important characteristics of the items we produce—the JV3 does a great job at all three,” continues Siegers.
After graphics are printed, the Sharp Mill Graphics team laminates with a high-performance cast overlaminate on its Seal 54 Base laminator. This ensures the graphics are protected from the elements, UV rays to dust or gravel kicked up while a vehicle is in transit. The final graphics are then cut out from the white background on a Mimaki CG-130 FX cutting plotter.
According to Siegers, handling the logos in this way saves a lot of time in production and installation. “When it comes to fleet vehicles, the sooner the fleet graphics can be completed, the faster the vehicles can hit the road and work for the company.”
Adding to the Fleet
Sharp Mill Graphics is set on expanding business. While the JV3 is still operating in top form, Siegers realizes that technology is rapidly advancing and the newest devices on the market offer higher levels of efficiency and quality. The company hopes to add a new wide format device in the coming months, but plans to continuing running the JV3 beside it when the time comes.
While the staff at the shop includes two installers, Siegers plans to add more or utilize sub-contractor installers when necessary. He says this will depend largely on project size, location, and turnaround time.
This PSP recognizes its strengths and adapted them to its business model. Working with wide format digital printers to create decals for fleets of vehicles means less time is wasted cutting out vinyl and arranging it to look just so. The Sharp Mill Graphics team can focus on what it does best, generating customer satisfaction.
The next article in this two-part series profiles a PSP offering fully wrapped fleet graphics.
Jul2014, Digital Output DOFL1407