By Lisa Guerriero
Advertisers and businesses of all sizes embrace wraps as an effective tool for marketing and messaging. Vehicle and fleet wraps provide both repeat and one-time jobs for print service providers (PSPs), from individuals as well as commercial organizations.
As the segment matures, wraps are no longer restricted to cars, trucks, and buses. PSPs create signature prints for ATVs, boats, hovercrafts, motorcycles, and trolleys.
In addition to vehicles, there is a demand for customized wraps for an array of objects. The list is endless, with wrapped refrigerators, luggage carousels, signs, and helmets.
Structure wraps—for floors, buildings, and walls—also evolve. New markets like home and office décor fuel growth in this segment.
As wraps increase in popularity, vendors develop films and laminates to enhance specialty effects, promote safety, and bolster durability. These developments enable PSPs to better serve clients, delivering output targeted to the job.
Digital EFX Wraps, of Louisville, KY, specializes in this application. 80 percent of its business is vehicle wraps, with the remainder consisting of buildings, walls, signs, and other unique wraps.
Beyond Cars and Trucks
Owners Dallas Fowler and Matt Richart launched Digital EFX Wraps as a wide format digital print firm in 2004.
From its 6,400 square foot shop, the seven-person PSP serves clients throughout the KY area. It also works outside the region, including designing, printing, and shipping to West Coast customers.
The business began in a 30×30-foot garage with one printer, a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET PRO II. Digital EFX Wraps still uses the Roland SOLJET PRO II, but over the years it moved to a larger headquarters and added new equipment to its portfolio. It now owns a Roland SOLJET PRO III and a 64-inch SOLJET PRO 4 XR-640, which are operated on a daily basis.
“The print quality of these inks is fabulous. The colors pop and remain vibrant,” explains Richart. He adds that the color stays true even when the media is stretched, with no white point. When viewed close up, it presents consistent tones rather than varying shades.
Digital EFX Wraps laminates all of its graphics. It uses a Drytac Corporation JetMounter JM63 Pro laminator, which handles the heavy workload. “PSPs that are new to wrapping are often unaware that lamination is essential for all wrap applications,” says Richart.
Digital EFX Wraps uses media from Arlon Graphics, LLC and Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions. Matching the media to the job is an important component to the process. Richart and Fowler often choose Arlon’s DPF 8000 for non-vehicle wraps. As a high-performance vinyl film, DPF 8000 adheres well to tricky surfaces, like concrete or plastic, thanks to a heavier level of adhesion, according to Richart.
Immersed In Graphics
Digital EFX Wraps transformed local business Roberts Mobile Electronics & Enhancements, which looked to punch up its décor and highlight its showroom. A repeat customer, the owner requested a colorful, nature-inspired graphic about a year ago.
The print shop explained how it could wrap the interior and exterior of an elevator and also the stairs leading to the sales office. It worked with the client to develop graphics for both. The elevator conveys an underwater theme while the stairway shows a mountainside.
Taking three weeks to complete, including a site survey and design, Digital EFX Wraps first generated a photo mockup, depicting how the stairs would look wrapped. For the elevator, they measured three sides and a door, as well as the control panel that contains the buttons for operation.
Digital EFX Wraps chose Arlon’s DPF 4560GTX, intermediate print media vinyl, to wrap the elevator and the stairs. It laminated the final graphics with Arlon Series 3420 overlaminate.
Designed for flat wraps, DPF 4560GTX was ideal for the even surfaces of the stairway and elevator, where there are no curves and only minor raised areas. The firm also wanted to make change outs a possibility, and as a calendar film DPF 4560GTX is a good fit.
Richart’s staff printed both the elevator and stair wraps with the Roland SOLJET PRO III. Printing and laminating took only about a day, while the installation lasted six hours.
Digital EFX Wraps wanted all the details perfect. It strived to achieve impeccable file resolution, a clean print, and perfectly lined up panels.
“Registration was key with the elevator,” adds Richart. “The viewer is close to it.”
The firm’s efforts paid off. Standing inside the wrapped elevator is like being in an aquarium, admits Richart, “you feel like you’re underwater.”
Roberts Mobile Electronics is thrilled with the stairway and the elevator and how they brighten up the office. Moreover, customers respond to the graphics.
Wraps on the Rise
Wraps provide a steady profit source for PSPs. Digital EFX Wraps grew with the segment, evolving from a garage-based startup to become an authority on vehicle wraps and more.
It thrives as a specialty print shop and combines experience and creativity to wrap an array of objects. By stepping outside the familiarity of traditional work, the firm continues to expand.
Sep2015, Digital Output