Big-Mountain Imaging masters the art of "same-day and next-day" requests
By Jake Widman
Big Mountain Imaging started in Philadelphia a little more than 10 years ago. “We began as a grand-format facility with two Vutek 5300s,” recalls president Jason Cardonick. “We were mainly producing billboards for casino clients in Atlantic City. That’s an industry for which speed is a critical component of their buying decisions. At the time, our client was buying from a company on the West Coast that wasn’t able to meet their same-day, next-day needs. From there we were able to pick up some additional casino accounts, and became at one point the primary billboard printer for every casino in Atlantic City.”
The billboards eventually led to other requests. “The casinos kept asking us if we could make other things, such as posters and light boxes and slot machine displays,” says Cardonick. “Of course we said, ‘yes’—you don’t say no to a client. So we continued to buy additional equipment and increasing our capabilities increased so we could service their needs.” The company now employs about 80 people in production facilities in Philadelphia and Las Vegas and has sales facilities in several other cities as well.
Among the equipment in the Philadelphia location is a Zund G3 cutter. “We acquired the Zund cutter in 2007,” recalls Edward Davis, Big Mountain’s East Coast production manager. “Before that we had a vinyl cutter, but it wasn’t something we could cut anything rigid with. At one time we were cutting everything with a hand router.”
“By that time we’d entered the retail P-O-P market with an EFI Vutek PressVu 320/400 and an EFI Vutek QS3200,” says Cardonick. “Those machines go hand in hand with a router—it would be frustrating to have a printer you can do all these neat things with without having a cutter to cut them out.”
They chose the Zund G3 in part because of its flexibility. “It has routing capabilities and cutting capabilities,” says Davis. “You can use it for different materials; for example, you can’t cut Dibond with a knife, but card stock is thin enough that a knife goes right through it. We just swap a knife and drill bit in and out depending on the job.”
Recently, Big Mountain helped the New York Yankees rebrand their minor-league affiliate’s facility, PNC Field in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition to large photos and murals, the effort required cutouts of the logos for the ballpark and the team. “The signage that was needed for that was on Dibond, foamboard or Sintra,” explains Cardonick. “We were able to do custom contour cuts at various sizes, anywhere up to 48 x 48 inches.
“We have our own installation department,” he continues. “There were a lot of last-minute adjustments we needed to do when we were on site. But because we had the router, we were able to call in and have specific images routed out to fit a particular area.”
BIG MOUNTAIN IMAGING
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