By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Digitally printed wallcoverings offer branding and personalization with the ability to be completely custom designed for a specific space. Found in corporate offices, homes, hospitals, hotels, retail stores, and sports arenas, print service providers (PSPs) that offer wallcoverings, especially those with nationwide services, are challenged with calculating and enacting accurate dimensions. This was a prominent consideration for a recent job completed by Rainier Industries.
100+ Years of Business
Founded in 1896 in Seattle, WA, Rainier once provided tents to prospectors heading North in the Alaskan gold rush and continued to provide shade and shelter services like event tents and awnings. In 1994 Rainier acquired a sign shop and added graphics and signage to its business. The company mainly offered outdoor signage from a 24,000 square foot workspace with 60 employees. In 2002, it entered a joint venture with Display Products, which specialized in visual merchandising and wallcoverings.
Today, Rainier is a fabrication business with offices in Tukwila, WA and Charlotte, NC. Its Seattle location is 140,000 square feet. Over 260 employees are spread across the entire business. “Print is only one division of our business—we also manufacture shade products like retractable awnings and shelter products like tents,” says Charlie Rueb, sales manager, display division, Rainier.
The majority of Rainier’s print business is wallcoverings, although the shop produces banners, dimensional displays, framed artwork, industrial work, interior décor, vehicle wraps, wayfinding signage, and large scale environmental branding for sporting facilities.
Rainier started printing wallcoverings in 2002 when it partnered with Display Products. The shop had little difficulty transitioning into the application because a significant percentage of Display Products’ business already consisted of wallcovering projects.
“We produce wallcoverings seven days a week,” shares Rueb. 60 percent of Rainier’s print business is wallcoverings and 98 percent of that work is completed for the company’s largest print customer.
The company’s clients usually provide the artwork or have a specific idea in mind. It handles a mix of designs from branding to cityscapes. The majority of the PSP’s wallcovering projects are one-off custom creations.
To create its wallcoverings, Rainier uses Dreamscape media. “The variety of textures and the constant quality across all products is the deciding factor,” comments Rueb.
Durst Image Technology US LLC UV roll-fed printers are utilized for printing. Specifically, the Rho 312R is a roll-to-roll printer designed for industrial backlit and fine art applications. It uses Durst Quadro Array 12M printheads to produce up to 240 square meters per hour. The Rho 312R prints up to six colors and can be used for backlit applications, banners, façade decorations, fine art prints, point of purchase, and wallpaper.
“We use Durst printers exclusively and celebrate a long-term partnership with them. The Rainier plant functions as one of the Durst North America demonstration facilities,” comments Rueb.
He recently noticed an increase in smaller commercial companies offering digitally printed wallcoverings primarily because they are more affordable and an easier solution for custom environments. “Commercial companies are moving more toward using wallcoverings and away from traditional vinyl adhesive. It’s become the norm and is expected by customers.”
In 2016, Rainier finished a branding project for the new Clemson University Football Operations Complex in Clemson, SC. The company had completed small jobs for Clemson in the past but nothing of this size.
The new complex was designed to deliver 142,500 square feet of state-of-the-art training and meeting spaces for its athletes and staff. “Jack Porter partnered with the football administration and HOK Architects to design an experience that epitomized the Clemson brand—its rich history, tradition, and the current coaching staff’s philosophy of fun, family, and character,” explains Rueb.
Rainier fabricated displays and graphics including several wallcoverings throughout the facility. The wallcovering branding featured Clemson alums, current players, and the university’s history of football.
Rainier’s biggest challenge was calculating accurate dimensions. Located on the opposite side of the country, the PSP couldn’t view the dimensions in person. The building was also under construction during the time of the project’s branding efforts.
Dreamscape Mystical was used to create the wallcovering graphics. It features a surface texture that resembles handpainted brush strokes. Compliant with all fire codes for indoor commercial installation, the material is engineered for ease of installation and removal.
Rainier printed the graphics on a Durst 312R and used a Zünd XL router for trimming. “Our customer required a quality product on a quick deadline. The Durst 312R is a fast production machine and the output quality is unmatched,” comments Rueb.
The Clemson University project took nearly a year from job submittal to installation. Rueb describes the project as a huge success. “The new facility, which features a bowling alley, mini golf, slide, and sleeping quarters, was well received by the university, the team, and Clemson fans nationwide.”
Digitally printed wallcoverings transform any space from a hotel to a sports facility. PSPs offering this service are able to provide a level of customization unheard of in traditional wallpaper printing. Part two of this series features a print shop providing wall graphics for an elementary school.
Sep2017, Digital Output