One growing POP trend is cut-out shapes and dimensional printing, said Mike Sherkey, business development director for Cushing, a wide-format printer in Chicago. “We’re getting more cutting requests,” Sherkey noted. The increasing demand made cutting by hand cost-prohibitive, so in February Cushing took delivery of a G3 L2500 cutter from Swiss manufacturer Zund.
Sherkey added that printing on thinner materials also is growing in popularity. Over the holidays, high-impact “.020-inch Styrene is used for POP on racks with Christmas tree clips, for example,” he said. Depending on the application, Cushing’s output comes from one of eight large-format printers it uses. With some 40 full-time employees, the 10,000-square-foot firm houses: two 60-inch Canon imagePROGRAF iPF 9100 12-color inkjets, two 60-inch HP Designjet 5500 models featuring outdoor UV ink, one 98-inch HP Designjet 10000 roll-to-roll banner printer, one 4x8-foot Océ Arizona 550 GT UV flatbed printer, one 42-inch Océ ColorWave 600 plotter (for inexpensive retail, Sherkey pointed out), and one 54-inch Roland DG CammJet for printing and cutting vinyls.
The PSP added a Canon imagePRESS 7010 late last year to increase capacity for small-format jobs such as brochures, mailers, booklets, counter card, and table tents. The upgrade joins an imagePRESS 7000 model installed two years ago. The firm also does a fair amount of package prototyping for corrugated, said Sherkey, “one offs” or low quantities of five or 10 pieces.
Just last month, direct mail firm Specialty Print Communications (SPC) of Niles, IL, acquired a 49 percent interest in MOTR (Media on the Run) Graphics, a POP and large-format signage business to be housed within SPC’s 73,000-square-foot lettershop which opened three years ago in suburban Chicago. “It’s a good complement to their business,” said Delia Saboya, who is partnering with LeFebvre brothers Adam, Dustin, and Ryan on the venture. “POP ties in with the gift cards and mailings that SPC does. We can wrap the whole project, including signage in stores and [other] retail business,” explained Seboya, a 25-year industry veteran As of press time, MOTR had not decided what wide-format flatbed printer it would buy, but Saboya said they are taking a close look at EFI VUTEk, Fuji’s Inca, and HP/Scitex devices.
Describing SPC as a diverse printer is a bit of an understatement. The $90 million firm, which produced some 100 million pieces of direct mail over the 2011 holiday season, houses a Kodak Prosper S10 inkjet web imprinting press along with a Versamark CS410 and half- and full-web presses. In 2009, it acquired book printer Batson in Benton Harbor, MI. The G7-certified shop won a PIA Premier Print Benny award in 2011 for a dimensional B2B campaign produced for Sprint.
To add print capacity and expedite speed to market for short to medium production runs, last December KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group, Cincinnati, purchased American Digital Communications (ADC), a 40,000-square-foot facility in Norcross, GA. ADC specializes in digital printing, finishing, kit packing, and delivering customized POP materials to several retail industry segments, including quick-serve restaurants, convenience stores, and home-improvement retailers.
Three years ago, ADC added digital diecutting capabilities along with an EFI VUTEk QS2000, which is a six color plus white wide-format UV device printing on a variety of flexible and rigid paper as well as synthetic substrates. The VUTEk joined KDM’s 10 other large-format digital printers, which range in size from 54 to 146 inches.
Over the past few years, KDM has also increased its arnsel of hardware in the wide-format space, purchasing a HP Scitex FB7500 UV flatbed six-color press in October 2009 and a second FB7500 press a year later. In 2011, they also upgraded to the HP FB225 inks which adhere to a wider range of flexible and rigid sheets and are GREENGUARD Certified. With the addtion of their second FB7500, KDM also added capacity in its finishing department by bringin on a second MGE I-cut digital flatbed die cutter in November 2010. The firm also has 30 printing presses covering seven print methods, including presses, screen, large-format UV offset, large-format conventional offset, large-format digital, small-format digital, flexo, dye sublimation, and photographic imaging.