By Melissa Donovan
Paying attention to routing and cutting devices can lead a print shop into the next tier of customer service. Upping the ante with automated finishing and eliminating manual tasks that present margin for error increases productivity across the board. Print service providers (PSPs) keeping up to date with the newest machinery further enhance their productivity.
Above: M3 of Greensboro, NC completed work for the University of Notre Dame’s baseball locker room with help from its HP Latex 800 W printer and Zünd G3 L-2500 router/cutter. Wall graphics were completed with a combination of 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3 with a luster overlaminate and Avery Dennison Conform Accent Chrome in gold.
Maturing into Standalone
Matthews Group, Inc. has been business since 1967. Matthews Mobile Media (M3), a division of Matthews Group, started producing graphics for its parent company in 1992—acting as the in-house graphics division. Since then, it has grown into a standalone PSP specializing in environmental graphics based in Greensboro, NC. A staff of 15 produce, ship, and install these graphics nationwide. With beginnings in transportation and vehicle manufacturing, “we still produce and install vehicle graphics daily, but our focus has shifted to projects that don’t have wheels,” admits Rob Matthews, production manager, M3. Wallcoverings, window graphics, floor graphics, banners, and signage are all created in a normal day at the shop.
Matthews says the majority of its jobs are considered one offs, which is why the company relies on digital printers and automated finishing. “Digital printing is ideal for these projects because every element is easily customized and the turnaround times are unmatched,” he continues.
On the finishing end of the process, M3 has taken a real focus on increasing production—adding automated devices that complement its digital printing capabilities. In December 2019, it installed a Zünd G3 L-2500 router/cutter. This was the second device purchased from Zünd, with the first in service from 2006 to 2019.
The G3 L-2500 router/cutter features tooling to process a broader range of substrates like acrylic, PVC, foam, aluminum composite material, and corrugated. Matthews admits the router and oscillating tool has allowed for processing jobs that he never imagined doing a few years ago. M3 can produce aluminum one-off parts and prototypes, wood panels and templates, and vinyl upholstery.
All roll media is processed on the Zünd when the staff starts their work day. Then rigid media is run once the roll media is completed. Minimal time is spent on routine maintenance or cleaning, which means the router/cutter is always ready to go the next morning.
Another part of the finishing lineup is a CWT 1847 application table from Cutworx USA, which was purchased to complement M3’s flatbed printing capabilities. According to Matthews, it allows for an increase in production efficiency as it is ideal for masking, mounting, and laminating.
Serving the Fighting Irish
Matthews credits the Zünd G3 L-2500 and an HP Inc. Latex 800 W 64-inch printer, which it added to its production floor six years ago, for meeting a tight deadline for a recent job. M3 was asked to renovate the baseball locker room at the University of Notre Dame. The university coaching staff was looking to update the space to enhance recruitment efforts. For a design request, they hoped to maintain the gold chrome look used on their football helmets.
For wall graphics, 3M Commercial Solutions’ Envision Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3 with a luster overlaminate was used, primarily so it would conform well to the textured brick surface. An accent wall displayed the gold chrome look with help from Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions Conform Accent Chrome in gold. The space was finished with flat cut out lettering and logos to maintain the brand and messaging. All of the pieces were processed on the Zünd router/cutter and all printed graphics—roughly 1,300 square feet of printed vinyl—were produced on the HP Latex 800 W.
Quick to Finish
Based on its recent job for the University of Notre Dame, M3 is set up to offer its customers quick, efficient service with high-quality graphics.
Apr2022, Digital Output