By Cassandra Balentine
Planes, trains, busses, and automobiles offer more than modes of transportation. Their exteriors are prime space for high-impact advertising. In any city locale, bus wraps provide an opportune setting for a number of marketing messages, from entertainment to clothing and public service announcements.
One print service provider (PSP) that understands the power of these graphics is Circle Graphics. Established in 2000, today the company is a sizable producer of large format digital graphics. Its corporate headquarters is located in Longmont, CO, with four other strategic production facilities out of Burbank, CA; Baton Rouge, LA; Hingham, MA; and Raleigh, NC. The shop employs a staff of 900 across these locations.
Its manufacturing facility spans 400,000 square feet and houses more than 88 grand format printers, custom automated finishing equipment, and coating capabilities to produce printed recyclable materials up to 16 feet wide. The operation is 100 percent digital. Ken Rowell, VP of technical sales, Circle Graphics, estimates that its prepress department processes more than 20,000 files per day with the aid of proprietary software automation tools. “We operate around the clock, seven days a week to deliver extraordinary customer service, and print over 300 million square feet of material,” he says.
The company provides a variety of products and services to address out of home (OOH) advertising, business digital print, and consumer digital printing. “Our products range from simple vinyl banners for small businesses to high-quality prints on canvas for consumers, to very large and complex billboards and customized vehicle wraps,” shares Rowell.
One area of expertise for Circle Graphics is large format digital print servicing for OOH advertising industry. Since 2000, the division provides billboards, transit graphics, wallscapes and murals, banners, and promotional frames.
Among its transit offerings, the company provides core products including bus wraps, eco-backlit transit shelters, taxi tops, subway posters, and phone kiosks.
Bus wraps represent a powerful application that generates attention everywhere the vehicle goes. Circle Graphics’ Bus Super King offering utilizes pressure-sensitive vinyl with the ability to bond well to painted surfaces, OEM plastics, and metal surfaces while remaining easy to remove. Bus wraps represent a popular application, and Rowell says the company produces them on a daily basis for this industry.
Rowell notes that most of its bus wrap projects are produced in a relatively short period of time. “Turnaround for a full bus wrap can be as short as two days from customer approval,” he attests.
Most of the bus wrap creative Circle Graphics produces is designed by an outside agency. “The only time we have involvement is when the creative needs to be adjusted to accommodate the appropriate bus template,” he explains. “This typically happens at the prepress proofing stage when one of our designers or the customer recognizes a potential issue that will negatively affect how the artwork will be displayed on the bus.”
The go-to device for bus wrap output is its EFI VUTEk GS3250LXr Pro. The UV LED roll-to-roll printer features true grayscale print capability, high image quality, and flexible inks.
For installation, Circle Graphics works with a “world-class team of certified independent installers to ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction,” says Rowell.
The shop is well versed at producing and installing wraps, but does run into the occasional challenge. Rowell recalls a situation where it was dealing with wrapping a double-decker bus and it had to install over a permanent, pre-existing wrap. “We needed a changeable film that could be removed every 30 days and replaced with a new wrap without damaging the base wrap,” he says.
To address this obstacle, the shop enlisted FLEXcon’s BUSart base film, part of the media providers Bus and Train Wrap Advertising System, which includes the BUSart OV5020L overlaminate, as well as FLEXcon’s perforated window film SEETHRU-SIGN STSWBF2. “I felt FLEXcon offered the best total solution for this type of application,” admits Rowell.
The base film, BUSart V 400 F White A-69 90 PFW BA, possesses good opacity for hiding previous graphics and offers conformability around bus surfaces that are curved, flat, or flat with rivets. The BUSart OV5020L overlaminate is specifically designed to protect the wrap from abrasion and bus cleaning. It is a 3.5-mil flexible luster vinyl overlaminate, which provides a luster finish. Its pressure-sensitive acrylic adhesive provides a good bond to the base film’s surface.
The turnaround for this bus wrap application was three days, and the graphics remained on the vehicle for 30 days.
From banners to billboards and everything in between, Circle Graphics finds success by keeping an eye out for the latest trends. Rowell says the company continuously finds new ways to address the needs of the markets it serves.
Feb2016, Digital Output DOBSW1602