By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Print providers offer promotional items to advertise company brands and products. In this space, digital print technology delivers fast turnaround times and custom items. From books and office supplies to drinkware and keychains, promotional materials are in high demand and require personalization.
Sports Products PLUS
Established in 1990, Mac Specialties started as a foam football manufacturer in Oceanside, NY. With one employee, the company made foam footballs by hand in a 10×10-foot workspace. The footballs required a two-component liquid, which was combined and poured into molds to create foam.
Mark Cohen, president, Mac Specialties, says that during this time, many foam products were released and as a result, he began to consider print technology. He soon created a list of possible screenprinted products while considering digital technology. “I had all kinds of ideas for what could be digitally printed and finished before the digital industry could do it,” he offers.
Cohen officially entered the printing space by producing balls and basketball sets. The basketball sets included a backboard that was screenprinted onto cardboard. During this time, Cohen planned for digital innovation and stored objects in a 1,000 square foot space for safekeeping. He planned to use the items for future digital printing projects.
In 2003, Mac Specialties received requests for four-color processing. “The technology wasn’t there or very cheap,” admits Cohen. However, the company’s cardboard supplier offered material capable of laminating to digital paper. Soon after, Mac Specialties purchased a small Epson desktop printer that accommodated cardboard backboards.
Since then, Mac Specialties has grown to a promotional products and point of purchase (POP) display manufacturer and fulfillment house. With 95 employees and a workspace of 30,000 square feet, the company has a facility in NY and a factory in Monterrey, Mexico.
Its products are released under its product line—Sports Products PLUS. All are produced in North America in one of its two manufacturing plants and sold primarily through promotional products distributors. Mac Specialties’ capabilities include digital printing, urethane foam molding, injecting molding, and screenprinting. The company offers die cutting, digital routing, laser cutting and engraving, and UV gloss coating.
“We can print on most rigid and flexible materials including vinyl, styrene, polypropylene, PVC, aluminum, wood, acrylic, plexiglass, and paperboards,” says Cohen.
The company’s original offering, foam products, has expanded to basketballs, baseballs, footballs, soccer balls, softballs, and volleyballs in five sizes with over 600 two-tone color combinations.
Mac Specialties also offers creative services for the promotional products industry. The company produces badges, cord cards, disposable demonstration tables, magnets, park place stands, phone stands, POP displays, recycle bins, standees, and trade show displays.
According to Cohen, the biggest benefit of using digital print technology for promotional materials is the fast turnaround time. “We’ve had requests for something at 9 A.M. of a personalized product with moving parts and had it finished in four hours,” he says. Mac Specialties handles jobs as short as one product to tens of thousands of products.
To create promotional products, the company uses several digital presses in its two manufacturing facilities. In its Mexico facility, Mac Specialties prints on the Fujifilm NA Corp. Acuity Select. The Acuity Select is a UV flatbed inkjet printer with eight ink channels including white and clear options. The printer features a maximum print area of 49.6×98.8 inches for rigid media and an 86.2-inch maximum print width for roll media. Its flatbed speeds reach up to 353 square feet per hour (sf/h) in express mode and 219 sf/h in production mode. The company uses the Acuity Select for printing rigid substrates like corrugated boards, plastic, and styrene.
In its NY facility, Mac Specialties uses five Mimaki USA, Inc. presses and a Ricoh USA, Inc. Pro L4160 latex printer. Its Mimaki presses include two Mimaki JFX200 printers and the JV400LX Series. For finishing, Mac Specialties uses a Zünd G3 cutter and two Trotec Laser Inc. Speedy 300 laser engravers. The Speedy 300 features a maximum processing speed of 140 inches per second and handles sizes up to 29×17 inches.
Mac Specialties works with its digital portfolio to print and manufacture a variety of products including the Smart Spot smartphone stand. “We manufacture what we like to think is the best branded smartphone stand,” says Cohen. The stand is printed on styrene with up to 25 percent recycled content. It includes a full-color, full-bleed imprint area and is available in custom shapes.
In addition to smartphone stands and promotional products, the company is also in the process of applying for a patent bobble head/chatter head. “We basically try to develop our own proprietary products rather than commodity products,” shares Cohen.
A combination of digital print technologies, finishing devices, and media help print providers meet clients’ promotional item expectations. By implementing various digital print technologies, print shops like Mac Specialties take advantage of demands for promotional materials.
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Nov2017, Digital Output