A Jumpin' Hummer
Above & Beyond uses its Roland AdvancedJet AJ-1000 to produce a colorful jump house.
What can simultaneously promote your product and entertain children? For a car dealership, an inflatable "jump house" in the shape of an SUV will do the trick. And that is how this Hummer-shaped children’s jump house came to be.
This custom-designed 3-D inflatable bouncer was the brainchild of the dealership’s ad agency, which then turned the job over to Above & Beyond, a company specializing in banners, balloons, air dancers, and inflatables.
The dealership supplied digital images of the Hummer H1-images were snapped from all angles. Then, using CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint, Above & Beyond’s art staff designed each panel as well as the internal structure to hold it all together. "The biggest challenge of this job was developing a design that looked like the Hummer H1, while still making it practical for children to use," says Paul Chaklos, president of Above & Beyond. After three drafts, the final design was approved.
Since print speed was a must on this rush job, the company turned to its Roland AdvancedJet AJ-1000, armed with Roland Eco-Xtreme inks. Chaklos and crew imaged onto 60-in. panels of SuperTex 16-oz vinyl coated nylon. The printing of 2100 sq ft of graphics was completed in just one evening.
To protect the images from the elements-not to mention the wear-and-tear from children bouncing around-the panels were clearcoated with a UV protectant. The hand-applied coating took 6 hours to complete.
Constructing the jumper was the final step in the process. Using Above & Beyond’s Juki industrial sewing machines, it took two employees 2 days to cut and sew the panels together. "We’ve always sewn our inflatables," says Chaklos. "Welding corners and complex lines is a slower process compared to sewing. Sewing is faster, easier, and works better for the sharp corners and curving seams that are incorporated into our design on a regular basis."
After in-house testing, this 30 x 20 x 18-ft (l x w x h) jump house was shipped to the customer, which just had to add a blower for continuous inflation. The dealership plans to use this inflatable for special events for years to come, moving from location to location, depending on need.
Specializing in inflatable advertising projects, Above & Beyond employs 38 people and operates out of a 7800-sq-ft location in Irvine, CA. The company got its start with Chaklos’s brother-to fund his college education, he sewed inflatable balloons during the week and then rented these to car dealerships for weekend promotions. Most of these balloons had few, if any images on them; but when graphics were added, hand painting was the norm for many years and then, as more of the company’s customers adopted full-color logos incorporating complex graphics, the company outsourced the printing. As demand increased, Above & Beyond began comparing the amount they spent on outsourcing with the cost of the printer and, in 2002, the company bought its first wide-format printer, a Roland SolJet SJ-740-EX. Less than 2 years later, it purchased the 104-in. Roland AdvancedJet AJ-1000, which Chaklos estimates prints twice as fast as its previous machine. Today, the 16-year-old company produces 250 to 350 inflatables a year that require full-color imaging.
ABOVE & BEYOND