Under My Umbrellas
An M&M print job at the Daytona 500.
For the hospitality suite for the M&M Mars Racing team area at the 2007 Daytona 500, Umbrella Source in Montgomery, Alabama, provided 12 customized promotional umbrellas complete with M&M candy images. To give the area some additional colorful flavor, the company produced custom tablecloths as well.
For most of its print jobs, Umbrella Source outsources the work to a graphics provider, which uses a Mimaki JV3-160SP with Mimaki SS2 solvent inks to image onto 2-mil opaque 3M Controltac Plus Graphic Film IJ180-10 film. The film is then transferred onto 100% solution-dyed acrylic Sunbrella fabric from Glen Raven, using an SGS 100 machine also from Glen Raven-a combination heat/vacuum process. Sometimes, says Umbrella Source owner Gerry Monroe, images are printed directly onto the fabric, using the same printer and inks.
Print runs for the umbrella business can be as small as one, points out Monroe, although a restaurant job typically includes six to 12 umbrellas-with some customers buying up to 1000 per year. Turnaround can be as fast as five days.