By Olivia Cahoon
Floor graphics are ideal for marketers, brand owners, and those in search of customized décor. Due to a large surface area, these graphics attract attention from pedestrians and provide a growing marketing platform. To keep clients satisfied and pedestrians safe, print service providers (PSPs) select floor media based on printability and non-slip characteristics. One such PSP is Trinity Graphic. Founded in 1967 in Hull, England, Trinity Graphic started as a flexographic trade shop with five employees in a 3,000 square foot workspace. The company originally produced printing plates for flexographic printers in the label and carton industry. In 1988, it opened its U.S. operation headquartered in Sarasota, FL.
Today, Trinity Graphic operates as a print shop that manages creative, custom, and branded digital print solutions with 52 employees. From a 28,000 square foot facility with additional offsite storage, it supplies products to all areas of the U.S., South America, and other countries.
Above: Trinity Graphic based in Sarasota, FL, offers floor graphics to its customers. The application is about ten percent of its current business. Beyond traditional floor graphic applications, it also offers Dekomat-customized gold cart flooring.
Buying into Digital
In 2009, the company purchased its first digital press to produce custom printed products for an insulated cup company. “This project was a major hit and as the need for more printing equipment expanded, so did our project range to all areas of wide format printing including banner, giclée art, printing on glass, acrylic, and metal substrates,” says Robert Smithson, president/CEO, Trinity Graphic.
According to Smithson, the company prides itself on ingenuity and a “can do” attitude for customers with unique printing requests. When asked by the insulated cup company for a 360 degree solution for advertising between two layers of plastic, Trinity Graphic created the Trinity Wrap. “This one product helped the customer grow their sales from $45 to $150 million in three years,” he admits.
The PSP produces custom applications for both home and commercial interior design products like custom wallpaper, canvas and acrylic arts, and printing directly to glass for countertops, backsplashes, or shower walls. Its printed custom furniture offering is available on several different materials including aluminum and wood for indoor and outdoor use.
Trinity Graphic also offers commercial printing for mill posters, banners, PVC sheet printing, and coroplast for large chain supermarkets and furniture stores throughout the U.S.
The company entered digital printing on the EFI VUTEk GS3200. Today, nearly all of its presses are EFI VUTEk devices including several GS3250, HS100 Pro, and GS2000 presses. “All of these were purchased due to their use of four colors plus white, as well the photorealistic quality and high productivity. This technology is critical for many of the products we create,” shares Smithson.
Other digital technologies include an HP Inc. Latex 3000 and a liquid laminator for wallcoverings, posters, and banners. All of Trinity Graphic’s UV printers use EFI VUTEk ink and the HP Latex 3000 uses proprietary ink. “We have tried other ink manufacturers, but we had consistency issues and reverted back to the equipment manufacturer’s line,” offers Smithson.
Floor graphics are one of Trinity Graphic’s fastest growing business segments. Although only ten percent of its current turnover, Smithson anticipates rapid further development with the majority for short- to mid-term use.
“With the floor becoming a major avenue for directional signage or alerting either clients or visitors to a product or space, we only see growth potential,” he offers. The company’s floor graphics include exterior wayfinding signage, custom wall-to-wall vinyl flooring, location graphics for local transit, and marketing logos for businesses inside international airports.
“Malls, schools, airports, downtown areas, museums, sports arenas, and other highly trafficked areas are ideal candidates for floor graphics as they can be used to show off something new or give direction to hundreds,” continues Smithson.
The PSP sources its media from a variety of suppliers including Better Life Technology, LLC, which produces G-Floor, a 75-mil flooring media with reverse printing capabilities. “Using the EFI VUTEks, we printed samples with several different designs, the results were incredible with a jaw dropping wow factor,” he admits. Graphics are printed on the smoother side of the material at a resolution of 1,000 dpi.
According to Smithson, the inks cure very well to the flooring material, which is then coated with EFI VUTEK’s opaque white ink. “This makes the colors on the graphic pop when the material is turned over,” he adds.
For non-slip floor graphics, the PSP uses Mactac Distributor Products StreetTRAX, a grit coated 13.5-mil media with permanent adhesive. It’s used for both indoor and outdoor applications like parking areas, sidewalks, and entranceways. “It’s virtually non-slip due to the grit of the texture and using our EFI VUTEks, it is surface printed,” says Smithson. The company also works with Mactac StreetRAP for flooring inside and outside, including lamination for further durability.
Trinity Graphic recently received several requests for printed products that adhere to carpet, tile, wood, stone, and metal. For this application, panoRama Walk & Wall from Continental Grafix preferred, as it is a one-step solution. “This short- to medium-use product requires no additional lamination and meets many non-slip requirements,” he shares.
Despite its success with digitally printed floor graphics, Trinity Graphics has experienced its fair share of challenges. In June 2015, it received a floor graphics job from a local company who creates backdrops for stage and theater productions. The client requested an 800 square foot stage floor that resembled Grecian marble. Using the 35-mil G-Floor from Better Life technology, Trinity Graphic printed two 40×10-foot pieces that could roll together for reuse.
According to Smithson, this proved to be a major challenge as the rolls were heavy plus the material had the tendency to telescope on the rewind side of the press. “Luckily, Better Life Technology came to our assistance and helped us. This process has now become a Better Life Technology certification and if you wish to try and print their product, you must go through it.”
Cutting floor graphic material to the proper size also presents challenges. When laying out large areas onto a floor, Smithson advises to always print an overlap. “When installing the material, it is critical that the alignment is perfect, and an extremely sharp knife is used for trimming.” For smaller flooring projects, the company uses an Esko Kongsberg digital die cutter for accuracy.
Additionally, he recommends experienced professionals install graphics on rough floor surfaces. During installation, the use of a heat gun to properly adhere the graphic may be needed. Exact surface composition should also be known prior to install as some adhesives can damage the seal on polished concrete floors, for example.
Golf Cart Mats
Thinking outside the box, floor graphics aren’t just used for what is traditionally considered a floor. The owner of Trinity Graphic thought his golf cart’s black rubber mat was boring. In 2017, Trinity Graphic applied for a patent pending and trademarked Dekomat—a concept for golf cart flooring that takes advantage of previously unused space. Smithson cites how large the custom golf cart market is—with over one million privately owned carts in the U.S.
Dekomat is decorative but also functions well with non-slip surfaces and high-wear layers thanks to the use of Better Life Technology’s G-Floor material. It’s used for advertising and promoting products to raise revenue for golf courses. Recently, Trinity Graphic completed an order of 74 golf cart mats for a large car dealership in Saco, ME.
The order was placed by Mark Galos, principal, Frank Galos Chevrolet Cadillac, who heard about the Dekomat from a PGA professional. For this order, five different designs were selected that advertised the dealership. The mats were installed at the Dunegrass Golf Club in Old Orchard Beach, ME.
Because the Dekomat’s vinyl material is oil- and acid-resistant, Smithson says it is ideally suited as parking mats for other vehicles like motorcycles and automobiles also.
Trinity Graphic has also completed a variety of other floor graphics projects in the more traditional sense. In 2017, a private residence in Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort requested floor graphics for a 600 square foot children’s bedroom with a design based on Mr. Potato Head.
The company printed two 10×30-foot rolls on the EFI VUTEk GS3250 using UV ink and 75-mil G-Floor. It took three hours to print the floor graphics and five hours to install. During the job, Trinity Graphic experienced few challenges with the exception of the material being heavy and the large graphic files taking additional time to load and RIP.
The Mr. Potato Head floor graphic was completed on time in addition to custom wallpaper to accentuate the floor’s design. “This was stunning when finally installed. The client absolutely loved it and said it turned out better than they could have ever imagined,” offers Smithson.
Meeting clients’ expectations for high quality and durability is essential to how Trinity Graphic effectively creates floor graphics. In doing so, it offers its clients digitally printed floor applications for a range of uses including marketing, home décor, and outdoor use.
Aug2018, Digital Output