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Broadening Print's Horizons

(December 2008) posted on Mon Dec 08, 2008

Why Sport Graphics never says 'No.'

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By Peggy Middendorf

Caudill and his staff have definitely learned some lessons from installs. At one sporting event, the crew installed 150 street-pole banners on Saturday. By Sunday morning, however, only 75 were still up. The lesson they learned was to install the pole banners with the bottom at least 14 feet above ground, discouraging most fans from shimmying up the pole and stealing the banner. "The graphics are cheap souvenirs," says Caudill. "We’ve had to become more resourceful in keeping them in place until after the event is over."

Hardware and throughput
Already equipped with an HP Scitex XL1500, several Mimaki printers, a Seal Image 5500 laminator, and an AXYZ 5010 ATC router, Sport Graphics added an EFI Vutek QS3200 this past January. Caudill and staff have worked on it for an array of jobs and have used it to image onto PVC, glass, and other unusual substrates.

One of the reasons the company bought the QS3200 was for its ability to print directly to substrate. For the Final Four graphics, the previous workflow involved printing, mounting, laminating, and cutting for each graphic. Now they simply print and cut, "saving hundreds of hours of labor and allowing us to produce more graphics," says Caudill. Running it two shifts a day, seven days a week, the shop images onto rigid substrates 70 percent of the time and the remaining 30 percent images onto roll media. Additionally, the printer’s white capability "has allowed us to image onto glass and produce two-sided window decals, which we couldn’t do before."

Other recent jobs for the signage division have included:

* The Red Bull Indianapolis GP motorcycle race called for wrapping nearly 10,000 feet of walls at the Indy 500, as well as covering scaffolding in banners. The three-day event was installed the first week in September and came down right after the September 14 event.

* Notre Dame’s Football Stadium has windows around the stadium that needed graphics. Sport Graphics produced 198 double-sided and 20 x 15-foot banners commemorating players, coaches, and championship seasons. To up the intimidation factor for opponents, Sport Graphics also printed banners touting Notre Dame’s football feats and installed them in the hall that opposing teams use to enter the field.