New, Fast, and Profitable
A Roundup of Popular Hardware for Vehicle Wraps
by Melissa Tetreault
This is part of an exclusive online series. Part 4 of 4.
"The vehicle wrap business can be the most profitable of all the outdoor media businesses and this is because it is the fastest growing," SkinzWraps, Inc.’s chairman and CEO, Peter C. Salaverry explains. "How profitable it can be is directly tied to how well a given company consistently performs in each segment of the business."
Salaverry, a pioneer in the vehicle wrap business and a promoter of Mimaki USA printers, knows what he is talking about. His company, based out of Dallas, TX, devotes itself solely to vehicle wraps and has done so for the past five years.
Moving on UpSkinzWraps exclusively uses Mimaki’s JV3 series of printers and is not alone. According to Steve Urmano, marketing manager for Mimaki, since 2003 JV3’s have had a large following of users. "There are close to 3,000 in use in the U.S., so a majority of the printing done for vehicle graphics is being done on JV3s," he continues.
Presently, Mimaki is focusing on its new JV5 line of printers, also excellent for vehicle graphic printing. The printer has a production time seven times faster then the JV3 thanks to the, "high speed head," composed of 180x8 lines of nozzles and the "staggered alignment of 4 heads," Urmano expains. He expects to see a lot of Mimaki’s user base transferring to the JV5 in the upcoming months.
If You’re New to Digital…
Another popular printer that is perfect for sign shops who are just going digital is Gerber Scientific Products’ new EDGE FX. Gary Soltoff, the company’s thermal product manager, explains, "The proven technology allows customers to print, cut, and apply vehicle graphics immediately without concern for color management, dry time, or handling issues. In most cases lamination is not required." In essence, an EDGE FX customer has all the hard work done for them by Gerber Scientific, who integrates the equipment, software, and materials beforehand.
How Fast Can You Print?
"The HP Scitex TJ8300 is a leading market solution in the vehicle market. It is a solution HP is actively promoting, as well as educating its customers about this growing opportunity," offers Itai Halevy, director of global marketing and business development for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Scitex. The printer has a print speed of up to 400 square meters per hour -- 4,305 feet -- at POP/POS quality, enabling it to be labeled by Halevy as one of the fastest wide format digital presses on the market.
Additionally, HP Scitex also suggests its XL1500 and XL1200 models for creating vehicle graphics. The printers are offered in 2-, 3-, and 4-meter models, which according to Halevy, "enables you to choose the size that best fits your application needs and production floor space." Another attractive feature available with both models is that you can print on almost any media of any format or size including PVC materials, extiles, Tyvek, paper, and self-adhesive vinyl.
Award Winning Value
Mutoh America Inc. advocates everything from their Falcon Jr. to their Toucan 646 as appropriate for printing vehicle wrap graphics. However their most popular product by far is the Toucan LT. Randy Anderson, product manager, says it because of its, "fully integrated heavy duty media handling system that allows for unattended overnight printing."
Recently the company entered a new product into the fray, the ValueJet, a 48-inch printer available at an entry-level price of $14,995. The printer has new and improved print speeds and an exceptional image quality which are made possible through Mutoh’s revolutionary new X-Rail design and new piezo print head technology. It also has a variety of production speeds to choose from; adding to the level of value that comes with the purchase.
Print and Cut
"Roland inkjets are widely used for a range of vehicle and fleet graphics, from simple decals to full wraps," shares managing director of Roland DGA Corporation’s color products division, Brian McLeod.
Thanks to Roland’s print/cut technology both their VersaCAMM and SOLJET printer/cutters enable sign shop owners to create as precise a vehicle wrap as one can get. The seamless workflow saves time and ensures precision of the vehicle graphic. McLeod continues, "Print/cut technology is particularly well suited for the creation of partial wraps, which are an excellent alternative to full vehicle wraps. Partial wraps are much less expensive to create than full wraps and are easier to design, produce, and install."
Jane Cedrone, marketing communications manager at VUTEk, a division of EFI, targets the company’s UltraVu product series as a big seller for those wishing to print vehicle wrap graphics. She believes that the UltraVu, especially the UltraVu 150, is a, "stepping stone for shop owners to get a footing into VUTEk printers." Cedrone continues, "It is a small, industrial strength machine so it serves as a good start for shop owners. Additionally, you don’t need a real wide printer for vehicle wraps. Plus it is ideal for printing on self adhesive vinyl."
Once a shop feels the need to upgrade, Cedrone suggests moving to the UltraVu 3360. Many sign shops use the machine for variety, especially when it comes to printing fleet graphics.
Read our feature articles on vehicle wraps in the September and October issues of Digital Output, where we hear from additional sign shops and manufacturers.