“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” wrote Eleanor Roosevelt in her 1960 book You Learn by Living. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Those are words to live by for many of us, including print service providers who would like to add the profits that come with being able to provide expert lamination service, but fear lamination is too hard—or too costly—to master.
Print finishing and lamination is one of the most profitable portions of an entire printing project, said Tony Caruso, NJ-based Eastern regional sales manager for Madison, WI-based Advanced Greig Laminators, better known as AGL Inc. “But there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty because of the finishing,” he added. “If you don’t have the right tools for the job, all the time and money invested in creating that graphic is in the dumpster.”
The biggest challenge Caruso confronts in his job, he said, is educating print providers to the opportunities in lamination, as well as demonstrating best practices, tips, tricks and techniques to obtain optimal results.
“You can do it well, do it exceptionally profitably, and expand your offerings to current and prospective customers, along the way capturing new projects you never had the opportunity to capture before,” he said.
Chuck McGettrick, North American sales manager for Charleston, SC-based manufacturer Marabu North America, believes the failure of many shops to take up lamination is based upon lack of knowledge. “A lot of times, people have heard horror stories,” said McGettrick, like Caruso suggesting fear may be behind the reluctance to get aboard the lamination profit initiative. “Many times, when people see [lamination] machines at trade shows, they’re not running. We run our machine at every trade show...It’s an education thing. It’s having the knowledge that this product and process can work for their application.”
As McGettrick said, when trepidation isn’t a factor, it is often simple lack of understanding that prevents shop owners from seeing the value lamination offers. “It’s an overlooked step,” agreed Caruso. “The most simple way of looking at lamination and finishing is it’s a method of protecting and enhancing your images, and providing customers with a variety of finishes and textures. It’s like a clear coat on paint. If you were to paint a vehicle or put a graphic on it, the final step would be to put on a protective coating. If you were to finish your wood floors, the final step would be to put a coat of urethane on it. Lamination is the final step in protecting and enhancing wide-format graphics.”
One major recent development at AGL has been the company’s simplification of its product names. The entire line of laminates is encompassed by the name Cover-Rite. Behind that name are suffixes that denote individual Cover-Rite products. For instance, the name Cover-Rite P3G stands for polyester laminate (P) 3-mils. thick (3) bearing a gloss finish (G), Caruso said.
One very new product garnering rave reviews is AGL’s Cover-Rite V4.75T, a vinyl (V) 4.75-mils. thick (4.75) and featuring a textured finish (T).
Cover-Rite V4.75T is a pressure sensitive, eco-friendly material with semi-gloss textured finish excellent for floor graphics, and UL listed for slip resistance. Its textured finish gives it a fingerprint and scuff resistance perfect for high-traffic areas, such as point-of-purchase, wall graphics and banner stands.
“Feedback’s been overwhelming,” Caruso said. “It’s becoming incredibly popular. We’ve had this product out now for about six months, and it’s quickly becoming one of our most popular brands. It’s extremely versatile, and ideal for displays and exhibits where the exhibition hall requires an environmentally-friendly solution, which more and more halls do. ”