Lewczak first prints on vinyl on their Mimaki 160s and then applies the magnet with soapy water with a rubber squeegee.
Portland Color created this wall of Magnetic images at Bergmeyer Architects office in Boston.
Magnetic receptive materials are taking a revolutionary approach to convenience and individuality in marketing. Many companies are opting to use printable magnetic receptive media to place their business advertisements on metallic surfaces to take their branding and promotions to another level. This technique is cost effective, saves space and offers advertising options in unconventional places. New types of magnetic sheeting can be used to promote businesses through the use of large, magnetic advertisements on vehicles, wide banners, POP displays, and display boards.
“Vehicles are mobile billboards that last for years and are not fixed in one spot. Market research companies have found that vehicle wraps are the most cost effective way to advertise by generating 30,000-70,000 sightings a day,” said Scott Lewczak owner of ArtWorks, a Nokesville, VA graphics provider.
“Magnetic signs on cars, trucks, and vans have the advantage that they can be displayed and removed as required. During the day as a business vehicle, at night you can remove them to use as a private vehicle. Images and messages can be changed easily and as frequently as they need too be,” he said.
Lewczak’s shop mainly focuses on vehicle wraps but sees a fair number of magnetic signage jobs, too. He said he first prints on the graphics on vinyl on their Mimaki 160s and then applies the magnet backing with soapy water with a rubber squeegee. “Small businesses such as landscapers that live in areas were they aren’t allowed to have signs on their truck are some of our prime candidates for magnetic signage. They are easy to take off and re-install. I also supply customers with metal sheet so they can store the sign where it lays flat when they take it off. Its more of a niche market for me; but its a growing one,” he added.
Another output provider that is doing interesting things with magnetic media is Portland Color based in Portland, ME. The company specializes in retail graphics and fabric printing, but uses its HP Scitex FB6100 printer for outputting to magnetic substrates. In May of 2008, the shop installed the printer to address a broader range of large-format applications with direct to substrate printing. Most recently, Portland Color purchased an HP Designjet L65500 Printer in support of their company commitment to sustainability.
“We typically use magnetic substrates for retail environments, such as lifestyle images combined with a branding background with a seasonal change-out using both magnetic receptive material and magnetic substrates themselves,” said Paul Glynn, vice president of operations at Portland Color. “Some examples of where you would see these magnetic applications in a retail environment include a cash wrap, on valances, between fixtures. If you go into one of our customers’ stores in New York, we have a several magnetic applications on the shelves and on a postcard wall. We have installed a magnetic wall that the fixtures are screwed in over that has an image on it. Each season, we go in and change out the top layer of magnets to fit that particular season,” he explained.
The company uses magnetic media from Master Magnetics and Drytac that they purchase through their distributor Alpha Imaging. Glynn reported that benefits of using magnetic media are that you can use them in a fixture system which make them very easy to install. “There is an investment up front in the backing, whether it is panels on the walls or a permanent installation, and then whatever you stick to the wall is changeable.”
“We’ve spent a year and a half growing this part of the business. Magnetic printing is relatively new to the market, but the product category is continuing to grow. A lot of people have caught onto magnetic substrate printing. It was very obvious at SGIA ’08 where there was a full feature on magnetic substrates. The year before they were buried in a number distributors booths,” he concluded.
Magnetic Media Options
There are always new magnetic media applications being utilized as ways to market and promote companies and products. Magnetic media can provide both short and long term promotional exposure for individuals and businesses. Here is a sampling of some of the magnetic media suppliers and their products currently on the market.
Drytac supplies a wide variety of Magnetic receptive systems for the wide-format imaging industry. Drytac’s new line of magnetic substrates, magnet receptive primers and printable magnet-compatible materials may be used together to create an innovative changeable graphics environments or as individual components in a wide range of display applications. The FerroJet range of magnet compatible media is direct printable via most types of inkjet printers. Apply to FerroCoat walls using two-sided magnetic strips or tiles; or apply directly to DisplayMag surfaces. FerroJet is avilable in aqueous (9 mil), (eco) solvent (9 mil) and UV flatbed printable versions (5 mil) that have a very thin ferrous (metal) coating on the back that allows it to match-up perfectly to magnetic sheeting. Drytac also carries a Ferrous Paint called FerroCoat which can be used as a primer coat on virtually any wall. The “metal” paint will allow users to apply magnets and magnetic materials to the wall. In addition, Drytac offers a 10 mil Ferro also called Metal or Steel Paper. This product is screen and offset printable but most often is mounted in between a graphic and a mount board such as Gatorfoam. Ferro has sufficient holding power to hold magnets through a graphic and (dry erase) overlaminate.
Image1Impact offers Xtreme Magz vehicle application magnets. These magnets will allow users to hold the vinyl in place on vehicles and any metallic surface without the need of tape or the use of an extra person, saving labor time and materials. The Xtreme Magz are extremely powerful magnets with 20 pounds of pull, with a soft rubber coating to keep the graphics and the surface safe. There are two versions available: a low profile pull tab in bright neon green and a breakaway handle version in bright neon orange. The Xtreme Magz is usefully in many other areas and can also be used to hold graphics from a t-bar ceiling.
Master Magnetics Inc. offers Magnet Maker Sheeting. This 24 x 48-inch flexible magnetic sheeting can be used for vehicle and shop signage. The white vinyl surface is said to be ideal for screen printing graphics, images, phone numbers, business names, etc. The .030 inch thickness makes it strong enough to stay on the side of the vehicle, even at top highway speeds.
Magnum Magnetics manufactures white, printable magnetic sheets for wide-format solvent inkjet printers. New to the company’s offering is DigiMag VINYL. It comes in a variety of thicknesses ranging from .008 to .030 inches for wide-format solvent inkjet printers. Users can choose from matte and gloss vinyl laminate finishes suitable for outdoor use. Material width is 24.375 inches and standard roll lengths range from 25 to 200 feet. Custom roll lengths are available upon request. VINYL magnet lays flat and adheres to most metal surfaces or Magnum’s magnetic receptive RubberSteel sheet.
MagX is one of the largest importers of flexible magnetics into the US. MagX’s INKJET PAPERmag is made specifically for aqueous based inkjet printing and is specially formulated to create photo quality images. MagX’s extrusion method makes INKJET PAPERmag is said to be one of the absolute smoothest and most flexible on the market.
U.S. Magnetix is a full service imaging company that specializes in flexible magnets for the promotional and industrial markets. “We are a manufacturer of many of those materials and we provide magnetic materials in different widths with a host of different substrates on them,” said the company’s Chris Ryder, business development manager. Many of their products have ideal applications on magnetic walls for display in retail and for trade show exhibits.