Sign & Digital Graphics

December '19

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DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS T he popularity of lamination in the sign and digital graphics industry varies depending on who you talk to. Tony Caruso, Eastern regional sales for Advanced Greig Laminators, Inc. in Deforest, Wisconsin, believes lamination isn't as popular as it once was because today's printers and ink formulations have gotten more durable over time so they last longer and don't fade as quickly. "The need for lamination is not for every application like it used to be," he says. Ten to 15 years ago, the majority of wide-format printers were aqueous L A M I N A T I O N T E C H N I Q U E S Finishing Strong Tips for long-lasting and durable graphics B Y P A U L A A V E N G L A D Y C H Paula Aven Gladych is a writer based in Denver and has been covering the signage and graphics industry since 2014. printers. Those inks were pigmented or dye inks that could last as little as 24 hours before fading, he says. Lamination "not only protected the graphic but also enhanced it." Much of the printing back then was done on paper, which needed more protection because it was so porous. Lamination protected the inks. Today, there is a lot more solvent- based, eco-solvent, latex and UV-cured printing. Those inks are much more durable, Caruso says. "They are a much better product, so print shops can be more selective in what to laminate." Many shops print on adhesive-backed vinyl media, which is not as porous so it doesn't require lamination. "For a print shop it is important to understand and have a good conversa- tion with a customer about what they are looking to create. By understanding that, a print shop can identify what the process requirements will be and adjust accordingly," Caruso adds. So, when should you laminate a graphic? It all depends on a customer's budget and whether the application is for indoor or outdoor use. For outdoor use, many people still like to laminate the finished product to make it last longer in the hot sun. Others want to add lamina- tion as a way to add dimension or texture to a graphic or make it graffiti-resistant. Short-term graphics don't have to last very long so the added expense of lami- nation isn't necessary. Bob Pryor, director of sales and co- founder at Graphic Finishing Partners, LLC, believes lamination hasn't lost its luster in the sign and digital graphics realm. "Everybody thinks you don't need to laminate because everybody is going to flatbed printing. But more and more, vehicle graphics and outdoor signage The Graphic Finishing Partners' 865DH lamina- tor can lami- nate, encapsu- late, and mount both vinyl and paper media. Image courtesy of Graphic Finishing Partners. S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • December 2019 • 33

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