Awards & Engraving

August '19

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A&E AUGUST 2019 • 25 type of freedom to start a design from a "blank canvas" free of the limits that may be in place from analog or monochromatic decoration methods. Check out the photo of the lodge sign above for an example of what a fully printed background can add to a simple room sign. The photograph was printed on the reverse side of the material before being flipped over and completed on the front. Print with Dimension: Many of the UV-LED printers available today — spe- cifically the small- and mid-format options — can produce textured effects. Some models can do this in a single pass while others may require multiple passes of the same job. Either way, textured effects add immediate value to the finished product. Think of the possibilities that these raised elements can provide to custom signage. Animal skin on zoo displays? Woodgrain on office directories? Sporting goods on school awards? Check, check, and check. While these are some of the items that quickly come to mind, owners and operators must understand the balance between print time required for texture printing and the value it adds — plan and price accordingly. Print with Compliance: The current ADA Standards for Accessible Design con- tinue to drive the market's demand for highly profitable ADA-compliant Braille signs. Whether it is a large directory sign or 300+ room signs for a hotel, producing them with UV technology saves produc- tion time, decreases costs, and opens design options that can't be matched by any other singular piece of equipment. Please note that three patents for this specific tech- nology are held by U.S.-based UV printer manufacturer Direct Color Systems. The ADA/Braille sign market isn't just for sign shops either. The demand for Braille signage is driving awards shops and other engravers into the market as well. Print for Profit: We quickly highlighted some of the applications UV printers can open in terms of signage production (full- color, texture, Braille, etc.), but the key is quantifying the value or premium your customers will pay for these signs. Many of the software packages available have costing functions already built in for ink consumption. Use it! Be sure to show customers printed samples, show them the versatility that the equipment can provide, and be aggressive when going after jobs. Some shops may even secure jobs with a few samples prior to making the equipment purchase. It can be done. The printer can be the catalyst for any sign job. Plus, it's there for successful upselling with other products down the road as well. TEST FOR ADHESION Load the material and hit print on the UV printer… it sounds like it's that easy, right? For most items it is, but please keep this in mind: the last thing anyone wants to see is a sign where the print is chipped or scratched off. Simple tests can and should be performed on sample material before moving to full production as it can save headaches or rework in the future. Simply start your testing with three small square prints: color only, white, and clear ink. Those prints can then be cross- hatch tested for quick results. If ink chips or flakes off with ease, print modes may need to be adjusted or an adhesion promoter may need to be applied prior to printing. Over time, you will develop a resource list of printable materials that you can steer your customers toward. Ask your printer This example shows what a fully printed background can add to a simple room sign. IMAGES COURTESY MICHAEL PERRELLI

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