By Melissa Donovan
There’s been an impressive push in the last decade to educate print buyers on the merits of directly printing onto rigid board using a digital flatbed printer. However, print service providers (PSPs) still use roll-to-roll devices and adhere the finished graphic to a board.
Eliminating this process by printing directly to rigid board helps PSPs minimize steps in production. Cost is a consideration—as not everyone can commit to these devices and need should match future output.
When a proper cost analysis is performed, looking at peers and their successes in implementing wide format flatbed printers is a great affirmation of what can be accomplished. Big Visual Group of Nashville, TN is one PSP who can’t imagine business without its flatbeds and credits them for helping to stand out from the competition.
Above: Big Visual Group of Nashville, TN utilizes a Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus to print directly on rigid board for clients.
Make a Big Impression
Big Visual Group celebrates 26 years in business working in a 40,000 square foot facility headquartered in Nashville. Offering in-house design, production, and installation, the PSP functions as a one-stop shop. It creates small format brochures, large format banners, vehicle wraps, and environmental graphics for marketing, branding, event, wayfinding, trade show, visibility, and signage needs.
According to Scott Snoyer, owner, Big Visual Group, the business is known for “crafting inventive visual products to help clients showcase their brands’ identity, maximize impact, and make a big impression.”
To achieve these goals and beyond, the company relies on wide format digital printing. About 70 percent of its service offerings are considered wide format digital print with half of the work accomplished using rigid flatbed printers.
It owns three, including a Durst North America Rho P10 250 HS Plus, DigiTech TruFire LT/X2, and Direct Color Systems 7200z. The Durst and DigiTech printers are the primary equipment in the shop. The Direct Color Systems device is useful for printing raised ink for applications like ADA braille signage. All of the devices run full shifts daily.
Any job involving rigid stock is printed on a flatbed at Big Visual Group. Common applications produced include real estate signage, yard signs, political signs, trade show boards, meter boards, directional signs, printed packages and package prototypes, point of purchase (POP) displays, event signs, a-frames, temporary construction signs, and standees.
Snoyer notes that printed rigid material is consistently requested by customers in real estate, POP, trade shows, conventions, and sports for creative and unique applications. For example, the PSP is an official sign and print partner for the Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators. It created cut outs of Titans fans, which were placed in Nissan Stadium in lieu of in-person spectators because of COVID-19.
Standees and any other application of this nature benefit from digital flatbed printing. “The sign is going to need to be rigid with most of things we produce. Therefore, we could be printing on a non-rigid printer or we can print directly with a flatbed printer. Flatbeds allow us to skip a step. For instance, yard signs need to be printed on both sides and hold themselves up. I could print them on vinyl, but I’d still have to take the vinyl and stick it to something rigid to make it stand up,” explains Snoyer.
All three of Big Visual Group’s flatbeds are fairly new to the shop floor. Snoyer credits being an early technology adopter as one of the ways the company differentiates itself from its competition.
“The diversity of our in-house offerings definitely sets us apart from others. This particularly comes into play with the technology we have within our shop walls and the fact that we are early adopters. We are constantly updating all of our equipment. We regularly add new capabilities and try new technologies to increase our production capacity without sacrificing quality.”
Trade Show Busy
The majority of Big Visual Group’s client base is in the Southeast, however it does entertain multiple national clients spread throughout the U.S. It recently completed work for Go West Creative, who requested interactive elements for its client’s trade show booth. The customer, KB Homes, wanted to showcase its business partners and a photo of a model home in a unique way while attending a supplier conference trade show in Las Vegas, NV.
Collaborating with Go West Creative, Big Visual Group constructed a 12-foot wide, 8.5-foot high, and 23-inch deep piece that was easily taken apart into five vertical sections, shipped to the Las Vegas location, and rebuilt on site.
An aluminum frame made up the outer workings of the piece, spinning triangles were constructed out of rigid board and displayed logos and graphics printed on the Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus. The work was completed in house over three weeks, from initial design to shipping.
Another project involving the Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus was in February 2020 for the PLA Conference at Music City Center in Nashville. Big Visual Group created a Nashville Music City branded environment to play on the trade show booth theme of “libraries are instrumental” with a nod to lower Broadway honky tonk.
All of the print production was handled in house. Signs directly printed on the Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus had a three to four day turnaround.
A Lot to Love
Wide format digital flatbed printers are an integral part of Big Visual Group’s daily operations. “I can’t imagine our business today without our flatbed machines. We use them all day, every day,” admits Snoyer. This PSP’s success and drive to stay up-to-date with the latest technology is an excellent example of what can be achieved.
Nov2020, Digital Output