By Melissa Donovan
As vehicle wraps become commonplace, printers and wrap installers look for new ways to use their craft. One way to do this is to go large by wrapping big boats, planes, and even trains. Print service providers (PSPs) equipped to handle these projects make quite a name for themselves.
One of the First
GeckoWraps, based in Las Vegas, NV, began in 2006. It was one of the first companies in the area, according to Shane Lloyd, CEO, GeckoWraps, to start offering vehicle wraps. In one year, the print provider tripled revenue.
The PSP offers printing, installing, design services, and photography to its customers. It’s extended beyond wrapping vehicles to a range of objects from ATMs and vending machines, trashcans and dumpsters, slot machines, concrete walls, and ice machines to shipping containers, tables and counters, and helmets.
Three wide format printers from Mutoh America, Inc. are found in the print shop. Lloyd says the Mutoh printers are ideal because of the range of materials his team constantly wraps with. “Printing on white vinyl is something everyone does. We print on a lot of chrome and metallic—and we were actually printing on it before it was made printable,” he admits.
Besides wraps, GeckoWraps offers wide format digital printing and installation of banners; wall graphics; floor graphics; window graphics; directional signage; flags; posters; backdrops; tablecloths; trade show graphics; small format items like flyers, brochures, and catalogs; and even promotional products—pens, drinkware, and bags.
With a home base in Las Vegas, the company is positioned to cater to many unique project requests. A lot of the work it completes is done for casinos and hotels in the area. However, customers are found nationwide. A 5,000 square foot building is more of a showroom than a production facility, as Lloyd explains that a large portion of the wrapping takes place offsite at customers’ locations.
Over a decade after its inception, GeckoWraps has parlayed its wrap expertise from cars to other vehicles like boats, planes, helicopters, and industrial machinery. Industrial machinery, which includes cranes and excavators, is an ideal candidate for digitally printed wraps. The material not only dresses up an ordinarily dull-looking vehicle to attract attention but also protects the base surface from debris.
GeckoWraps recently completed a job for Manitowoc, a manufacturer of cranes. One of the biggest construction trade shows was coming up, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, which is held every three years in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Manitowoc wanted to maintain a big presence and looked to GeckoWraps to achieve it by wrapping one of its Grove TMS9000-2 cranes. The boom on this machine measures 169.3 feet and the chassis has a width of 8.5 feet and length of 43.8 feet. At full span, the outrigger system measures 23 feet.
Working with Manitowoc’s marketing team, using three-dimensional (3D) renderings, four different designs were conceptualized. The final one included American flags and metalwork graphics.
Most of the dimensions were based on the 3D rendering. This was perhaps one of the biggest challenges of the entire job. “When equipment isn’t accessible to measure, unforeseen challenges come up like a piece may appear on the vehicle after we did the rendering, or something might be removed. When this happens, we just adapt and overcome,” explains Lloyd.
While initial conversations regarding the project occurred in Fall of 2016, GeckoWraps didn’t start wrapping the crane until March 2017. In between that time frame graphics were printed, prepped, and cut so no time would be wasted once the wrap process began.
Graphics were printed on a Mutoh ValueJet 1624X. It was chosen because of its ability to print on unique substrates like chrome and metallic. Lloyd estimates that 1,200 to 1,500 square feet of media from 3M Commercial Solutions was used for the Manitowoc job. Specifically, 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 in white aluminum featuring a satin finish.
The crane was brought onsite a few days prior to CONEXPO-CON/AGG, which took place from March 7 to 11, 2017, and partially wrapped during a four day period. It was then moved to the expo site and installation was completed in three additional days. From design to install, the entire job took 190 man hours.
Never Stop Innovating
While the crane is one of the biggest jobs GeckoWraps has completed to date, Lloyd says that doesn’t mean it stops innovating. “It’s a constant challenge to think outside the box. While it’s hard to do every time, each job presents us with the question of how can we outdo ourselves?” Using its fleet of Mutoh printers and stepping up to the plate when large projects come along, GeckoWraps is positioned to answer that question.
June2017, Digital Output