By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
While some print service providers (PSPs) offer solutions exclusively for breweries, others produce digitally printed brewery signage in addition to a variety of products. One such PSP, Stonehouse Signs, uses its knowledge in safety signage to serve the brewery industry.
Stonehouse Signs started in 1863 in Chicago, IL as a family company that offered gold leaf lettering. Over time the company expanded into silkscreen printed accident prevention signs for the mining industry, eventually expanding into safety signs, tags, and decals for additional markets.
Today, Stonehouse Signs is located in Arvada, CO and employs 20 to 25 people that specialize in custom products designed for extended outdoor life, harsh environments, and demanding applications. The company sells its products nationally and operates from a 1,000 square foot shop and 8,500 square foot administration space.
Stonehouse Signs uses its background as a safety sign company to produce safety and facility products for the brewing industry. This includes safety signs, PPE signs, equipment identification signs, outdoor plant road signs, magnetic truck door signs, phenolic plates, and adhesive floor signs. Today, two percent of the PSP’s business is digitally printed signage for breweries.
“We also produce custom dry erase boards for breweries, including sales tracking and production tracking boards, lockout boards, and maintenance tracking boards,” says Becky Stone-Roche, VP, sales and marketing, Stonehouse Signs.
With its location, the PSP is a natural fit to create digitally printed signs for many CO breweries. “Because we’re local to so many breweries, we’re able to work with breweries, both locally and nationally, to create custom signs, tags, and dry erase boards that meet their needs and the changing safety and regulatory demands in the industry,” explains Stone-Roche.
Map signs are a popular digitally printed product that Stonehouse Signs often creates. It consists of a highly detailed map of the room or building layout that can be reverse printed. According to Stone-Roche, many clients request digitally printed signs specifically for the ability to maintain corporate image consistency. “We’re able to color match to brand specifications and print logos accurately,” she adds.
Stonehouse Signs often works with customers with a general idea of their project, but that isn’t always the case. To overcome challenges, the company account manager guides clients through the design process including materials and mounting methods to create a product that meets their needs.
A Canon Solutions America Océ Arizona 350 GT UV inkjet flatbed printer is the shop’s main device. It handles roll media up to 86.6 inches wide and rigid media up to 98.4 inches wide. The Océ Arizona 350 GT features a white ink option for under printing on non-white media or objects. It features a production speed of 239 square feet per hour.
Stone-Roche says the company chose the Océ Arizona 350 GT because it prints directly to substrates large enough to satisfy customers and provides a longer lasting, more durable product that stands up to conditions better than vinyl applied graphics. “It also has exceptional print quality, utilizing UV inks that allow us to print on a variety of materials and five colors, including white,” she offers.
Stonehouse Signs’ brewery projects include a variety of media like aluminum, LxSign, vinyl, magnetic, and steel, depending on the scope and application of the project. The company uses Arizona 256 inks. “The 256 UV inks have the best adhesion properties for the materials we print on,” says Stone-Roche.
Stonehouse Signs uses Adobe Systems Incorporated Design Suite for its prepress and Onyx Graphics, Inc. ONYX ProductionHouse 11 for RIP software.
The PSP clear coats or laminates its digitally printed signage depending on customer needs. According to Stone-Roche, fully cured UV inks last quite a while on their own but lamination or a clear coat extends durability, especially outdoors.
In 2015, a CO-based brewery and repeat customer approached Stonehouse Signs to better label and organize its production facility. The client requested a custom 5S map sign with equipment labels and a custom shop rules sign.
Because it was a repeat customer, the PSP had the client’s logo and font on file. It took Stonehouse Signs 24 hours to produce the first proof and 24 hours to apply changes. “Our production time for custom products is generally five to seven business days, although we can work faster if need be,” admits Stone-Roche.
The PSP created the signs with aluminum printed on the Océ Arizona 350 GT. The files were created and modified with Adobe Design Suite and ONYX ProductionHouse 11.
After printing, the signs were finished with a protective clear top coat for protection and an extended lifespan.
The project was completed on time and is now used to label equipment locations in the brewery’s production facility, maintain order in the weld shop, and organize a worker evacuation in the event of an emergency. The brewery is very pleased with the completed signs and continues to buy from Stonehouse Signs.
Stone-Roche offers, “because we have an ongoing relationship with this client, we generally know what they’re looking for in their custom sign requests. With new clients, we have to learn more about their facility and needs to match them with the best product possible, but that’s where we feel we excel as a company.”
While breweries need custom signs to display their logo, safety and regulatory signage is also in high demand. PSPs like Stonehouse Signs offer safety and facility products for the brewing industry to ensure needs are met, customized, and efficient.
Mar2018, Digital Output