Making a Challenge into a Grand Opportunity

Georgia Printco, LLC was founded in Lakeland, GA in 2000 by Sheldon G. Hurst, Jr. and Tom Clarke. With backgrounds in the commercial sign business, the partners assist franchises by selling wholesale to the trade. This has enabled Georgia Printco to develop a client base that includes franchisees from some of the biggest names in the business, including Fast Signs, Sign-A-Rama, and Sign World. Focused on service, quality and on-time delivery, the company employs 36 people, has a customer base of 12,000, outputs three million square feet of printed material per year, and reports more than $4 million in annual revenue.

Hurst and Clarke purchased their first VUTEk 5300 in 2001 and housed it along with other printing equipment in a 17,000 sq. ft. building. In 2004 they purchased a second VUTEk 5300, and by 2006 their expanding line of equipment required a move to their current 40,000 sq. ft. facility.

Tractor trailer covers

One of Georgia Printco’s markets is printing covers for tractor trailers. These truck covers wrap the entire trailer, eliminating the need for strapping down materials to the truck bed.

Not only does Georgia Printco print the sides of the cover with seamless full-length murals, it even helped in the trap assembly design, which includes heavy webbing to prevent spills in case of a roll-over accident.

This fully automated system has been approved by both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Canadian Ministry of Transportation.

“The covers are approximately 1.400 square feet, and when you include reprints to eliminate the seams and the time it takes to change rolls, printing the entire assembly on a VUTEk 5300 at a standard speed of 250 sq. ft.per hour at 300 dpi can take as long as eight hours,” says Hurst. “We were running three full shifts five days a week, and often up to seven days. Our two VUTEk 5300 printers could not keep up with our volume, so we looked at new technology.”

After researching five-meter options, Hurst decided on EFI’s new VUTEk GS5000r grand format machine. “We signed up for the printer as soon as EFI announced it—before it was even widely available. We would wait for it,” says Hurst.

Georgia Printco took delivery of its new printer in April, 2010 and immediately sent sample prints to 12,000 customers.


Pressroom efficiency

Since the April installation of the VUTEk GS5000r, Georgia Printco has been able to accomplish in a single shift what had previously taken three, and use the second shift to accommodate new premium quality jobs. The speed and quality has allowed the company to quickly turn around large point-of-purchase quality jobs for clients such as Pentair Pool and Spa, Scott’s Home and Garden, and Watermill Express.

“Eighty-five percent of our output is now printed on our VUTEk GS5000r. Of that, we are running nearly 50% at 600 dpi and 3,100 sq.ft./hr., and our customers agree that the print quality is beyond their expectations. The other 50% has been with the machine’s heavy-smoothing capability at 2,000 square feet per hour, allowing us to easily please customers who expect POP-type banners,” says Hurst.

Hurst reports that the company has been able to run five-meter rolls, as well as three rolls of smaller material side by side and accomplish a much higher quality at speeds five to six times faster than their other machines. “Even before increasing our sales volume, we were able to eliminate two shifts and save enough cash to cover the cost of the GS5000r,” says Hurst. “In addition, based on the high quality of the printer and the response we’re getting, we expect a 10-15% increase in sales.”