We have a state of the art HP360 Latex Printer, which is a wide format printer which uses non-toxic, non solvent inks to produce top quality images. The images are printed on to high quality self-adhesive vinyl ready for application to various substrates. One of the best features of the machine, forgetting for a moment the environmental benefits, is the fact that the print comes off the machine dry and ready for application, or for immediate lamination – this is a significant benefit over and above solvent alternatives that have to be left to one side for a period of time for the solvents to fully evaporate.
Smaller printing work, and especially small label work, is executed on our faithful Gerber Edge 2 printer which has been a part of our business now for many, many years. The Gerber Edge is a graphics output device that permanently fuses high resolution images to 381mm precision punched vinyl. This printer is best suited to our short run, small sized labels such as Emergency Exit signs for buildings and vehicles.
To ensure an image or label is able to withstand wear and tear or exposure to environmental pollutants for longer periods of time, the printing process may be followed by lamination of the print. This is done on our Polar 1600H+ Laminator which heat fuses a clear vinyl layer over the print. This clear layer protects the print from scratch- ing, rubbing or UV damage for a greater period of time than if the print was left uncovered. The lamination process also puts a gloss over the print giving it a smooth surface, which is completely washable.
Following the printing process many of our vinyl images require to be ‘die-cut’ to a specified profile. This profile will have been ‘built-in’ to the design before the file was sent through to the printer so the image and its outline are one process. These die-cuts are executed on either our Gerber Envision, which works well with the Gerber Edge printer and our Mimaki Cutting Plotter. The plotter cuts the unnecessary vinyl away from the digital image or the labels so only the required material remains. Some types of signs do not require the images to be printed onto the vinyl but rather they are cut from the vinyl itself. This is done on the Mimaki Plotter, which cuts the lettering or logos out of the vinyl.
Whether the graphics are printed or whether they are cut straight from the vinyl, the graphics are then applied to the substrate as required. This could be straight onto a vehicle, an illuminated sign, an ACM sign or any of the almost unlimited surfaces to which the graphics can be applied.
GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED PAINT.
Even though the sign industry has moved almost entirely towards the use of printers and plotters for the execution of graphics, there is still the occasional situation where the graphics need to be hand sign written to a surface. This normally occurs when the surface is very rough, for instance in a concrete block or stucco wall. We have staff that have mastered the art of hand sign writing and are still able to offer this option when producing a client’s sign.