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The Ups and Downs of an Escalator Wrap

(April 2014) posted on Wed Jun 18, 2014

Double-sided graphics help a university’s message reach its student prospects.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Scott Hibler

Step 5: Production Times Two
Once we had all approvals, we could now move into production. Our design team prepared the print files in Adobe Illustrator and dropped print-ready PDFs to our Onyx Thrive RIP – which created the necessary tiling and sent the files to our HP TurboJet 8300 printer.
Because of the mall’s double-sided graphics request, this job needed to be printed twice, each time on a different material. Working from the inside of the glass facing outward, we first reverse printed (image backwards) onto clear Mactac Imagin Gruv B-free vinyl, with Zünd cut marks included. Then we printed (not in reverse) the inward-facing graphic layer onto Flexcon BusMark vinyl with a white backer.

Step 6: Laminating and Lining Up
The next step was to laminate the Flexcon media, using a private-label luster laminate in conjunction with our GBC Professional Seal 2064WF-1 laminator. We used the laminator one more time to mount the laminated Flexcon to the unlaminated Mactac media, being very careful to line up the graphics
These sheets were then loaded on to our Zünd G3 digital cutting system to be trimmed. Before throwing away the waste area, we made sure to cut out the Onyx Tile Info Label for later use. (The label, printed in the margin, contains information about the job, such as resolution, size, date printed, etc., to help us recreate the image at a later date.)

Step 7: Install Prep – Labeling of Panels
In an effort to ensure that all materials were all accounted for and in the correct order, it was important to label each panel with the job number and tile number. We then applied the labels we cut off earlier to the back of each panel on the release liner. The whole idea was to make the install process much easier – that way, there would be no time wasted in tracking down or identifying any tiles.

Step 8: Installing From the Inside Out
For this material, it wasn’t necessary to use any application fluid (in fact, this particular media looks better with a dry application), but we did make use of our 3M Gold Squeegees in applying the film. Installing from the inside out, we first completed the horizontal tops and bottoms, then moved on to the slanted sections, leaving the hinges as the last items. Installing the hinges last allowed us to make adjustments as needed with no critical art elements in those live areas. The installation of the escalators alone took about 8 hours to complete.

Step 9: Finalizing the Client’s Message
We executed two escalators at the Scottsdale Fashion Square as well as the adjacent elevators, all carrying the same “dream it, do it” message. We also produced graphics for three other malls in the Phoenix area. Before we left the installation, we took numerous photographs – the client uses these for many reasons including evidence of completion and for portfolio reasons. We use the photos for the same reasons, plus they can come in handy in helping describe any trouble areas we detected during install (to increase efficiencies on future jobs on the same escalator). The client was very pleased, and we have received word that the campaign is proving to be very successful.

Hardware and Software: HP TurboJet 8300 printer, Seal laminator, Zünd G3 digital cutting system, Adobe Illustrator, Nazdar Catzper chart system, Onyx Thrive RIP
Materials: Mactac Imagin B-free vinyl, Flexcon BusMark vinyl, private-label luster laminate
Tools and Supplies: 3M Gold Squeegees, measuring tapes, laser levels, oversized protractor, masking tape

Scott Hibler is national account executive for bluemedia in Tempe, Arizona.