Sign & Digital Graphics

May '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2019 • 57 Companies are printing photos on canvas, Frisbees, dog bowls and hockey pucks. "The niche production is far more valuable. The machines themselves are not geared to mass production. If you want mass production, buy a $1 million machine and prepare for volume so your profits are 10-15 percent margins whereas something like this is 30-50 percent margins or more," he says. It takes less than a day to install a new UV-LED printer and they are simple to use. Roland's UV-LED printers also come with intuitive software and they aren't overly expensive, coming in at less than $20,000. Getting a return on investment on a new machine will be more difficult for people just entering the printing business for the first time because they are not coming in with a game plan or existing clients. "You will have to go find products, go out and market products," he says. Many businesses start out as retail and move to office/warehouse because they increase their pro- duction so much they need additional storage for supplies. Others start out as retail and migrate to the Internet. Shop owners are only limited by their own creativity when it comes to the items they can print on, Roberts says. Companies that have only done silk screening or laser graphics in the past will definitely need to bring someone onboard with more graphics background, Logo JET's Tindal says. "There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to UV printing because of the RIP software and all of the color management that goes into that. You will want someone with a graphics background who can create files in the correct way." She recommends that shops hire someone with a work- ing knowledge of design programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Maintenance is also very important when purchasing a UV-LED printer. They are low maintenance but they do require a little maintenance very often, she says. Shops won't have a problem with their machines if they keep up with their daily head cleanings and nozzle checks and weekly maintenance. With UV printers manufactured in the US by Direct Color Systems, operators can use the tonal quality of the image to produce TEXTUR3D effects that can be seen and felt… just like this art replication piece. It is all done in a single pass. From Direct Color Systems, this sign is complete with a digitally printed background with raised tactile and Braille dots. "It's only like 10 to 15 minutes of maintenance but if you neglect that, it will start having problems," Tindal says. She adds that sign shops should research what their main product offering is going to be and find the machine that best suits that. There are printers that do everything and a specific sign shop may not need that. They also should buy a machine that comes with extensive customer support via phone, YouTube videos and onsite instruction. "You want someone who is going to be responsive because this is a new thing. It is not going to pop out of the box and you are never going to have another question or need. You will need ongoing support from wherever you get your UV printer," Tindal adds. SDG Open more design options by digi- tally printing full color backgrounds on the first or second surface of materials with a UV printer. Then combine that with the patented ADA- compliant/Braille sign printing pro- cess from Direct Color Systems for stunning signage. (Image courtesy of LogoJET)

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