By Olivia Cahoon
Point of purchase (POP) is a popular service for many print providers equipped to offer customers high-quality output. The variety of substrates compatible with today’s inkjet devices expand the number of offerings. Applications include cooler clings, door hangers, floor graphics, and window clings.
Getting Down to POP
Founded in 1956, ICL Imaging started as Industrial Color Laboratory in Framingham, MA. The shop operated from a 1,000 square foot space and offered film developing, contact sheets, and high-quality prints.
In a 35,000 square foot facility, ICL Imaging now has 45 employees and offers a variety of services such as large format printing, installations, mounting/laminating/finishing, print project management and fulfillment, and prototyping and three-dimensional rendering. The shop primarily serves the greater Boston, and New England area but also ships throughout North America.
Among ICL Imaging’s service offering is POP materials, including barricade graphics, fabric displays, floor graphics, interior signage, retail window graphics, special event signage, store front graphics, wall graphics, and specialty items like dimensional graphics, life size cut-outs, and custom boxes. The shop digitally prints 100 percent of its POP work.
ICL Imaging uses a variety of roll-fed and flatbed printing equipment from Durst, EFI, Epson, Fujifilm, HP, and Mimaki. Its presses include the Durst Lambda 130 and 131, EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340, Epson SureColor S60600, Fujifilm Acuity Advance Select HS and Advance HS-X2, HP Latex 570, HP Scitex XL1500, and Mimaki JV33-160S, JV5-320S, and UJV55-320. The company also utilizes the Practix Manufacturing OK-12 heat transfer machine.
ICL Imaging’s digital devices utilize UV, solvent, and latex inks as well as dye-sublimation for fabric. The shop stocks dozens of roll-fed and rigid substrates from a variety of suppliers. “When it comes to selecting media and substrates, we evaluate all aspects of performance and test extensively before deciding to bring on a new product,” explains Erik Scott, director of sales & marketing, ICL Imaging. “Color fidelity is important to us and our clients, so we constantly look for options that will perform consistently with high-quality results.”
The shop’s software includes Adobe Creative Suite and Caldera RIP.
The majority of ICL Imaging’s POP products require finishing. The shop has three cutting devices—the MultiCam 3000 CNC Router, Gerber MCT Cutter, and SummaSign S2 T160. Additional finishing devices include the AGL 6400 hot/cold laminator, AGL mounting press, and GBC Orca III Pro-Tech hot/cold laminator.
As a digital shop, ICL Imaging values quick turnaround to meet retail launch deadlines. “Of course, color output will vary across devices, so we continuously profile each and every substrate we print on, on each machine where it can be printed,” says Scott. This allows PMS matches and other necessary color corrections to be completed with minimal impact to the production schedule and process.
ICL Imaging occasionally faces challenges producing POP materials. According to Mark Eaton, director of operations, ICL Imaging, experience is the most common denominator when it comes to problem solving. “Our well-seasoned staff usually sees most of the more common issues that arise and already have solutions for them.”
However, there are new materials and material combinations as well as installation surfaces that require the shop to find special solutions. The most recent is the use of low or no volatile organic compound paints on wall surfaces. According to Eaton, these paints take longer to wet out and require different adhesive formulas to adhere to them. “Pretesting is the best solution in this case because often we do not know what type of paint was used, so we provide a test kit to use in order to determine how to proceed and what material might give the best result.”
Materials can also change, even if the print provider purchases them from the same supplier. To combat this, ICL Imaging often reacts to those changes by reprofiling materials and re-testing them.
Baby Stroller Promotions
In 2019, repeat client JetSetGo approached ICL Imaging for POP displays to promote travel strollers in retail store windows. JetSetGo is a U.S.-based distributor of innovative European baby essentials for the modern parent. The company promotes the most sought-after European trends to the U.S. market, beginning with the BABYZN YOYO French stroller.
The POP display included both wide format signage and branded boxes. ICL imaging selected poly knit fabric for the graphics and Palram’s Palboard PVC sheet for the boxes. The fabric was printed with the Mimaki UJV55-320 and the boxes with the Fujifilm Acuity Advance Select HS.
The signage was for multiple stores that each requested specific sizes. In total, it took two weeks for ICL Imaging to complete the POP materials. The shop also coordinated multiple installation locations for each of the displays.
The boxes were tested over time to ensure they supported a 15-pound stroller. This job stands out for the shop as the box was a new design due to the weight required to support the materials.
Overall, ICL Imaging completed the project for JetSetGo in time and the client was satisfied with the completed displays. “The client was very happy with the quality and appearance in stores,” offers Eaton.
POP for All
There are endless display options when it comes to digitally printed POP signage. ICL Imaging takes advantage of this by utilizing a variety of digital presses and valuing quick turnaround to meet retail launch deadlines.
May2020, Digital Output