As UV flatbed printer placements climb, the market for rigid substrates grows bigger and bigger. That’s helped foster an unswerving loyalty to rigid substrates, and to flatbed printing, on the part of many print service providers.
Several factors underpin that allegiance. The obvious chief benefit of printing on rigid substrates is reduction of labor, material, and production costs. No longer do PSPs need to undertake a first step of printing on vinyl, then adhering the vinyl to rigid boards required in many applications.
While there’s no doubt these cost and labor saving advantages are winning converts to the technology among print service providers everywhere, there are other factors behind the growth of rigid media. Those include lowered cost of flatbed equipment, a desire to stand out from competitors, and one other consideration that seems top of mind with just about everyone these days.
That‘s right, rigid substrates have a green story to relate. And it’s that message that’s resonating with an increasing number of PSPs these days. One of the rigid substrate providers that prides itself on its sustainable attributes is conVerd, an Elk Grove Village, IL, company whose name derives from Spanish words for “with” and “green.” It has been in existence four years, and focuses on green alternatives to petroleum-based products, says CEO Don Tomes.
“The main product we offer for a flatbed press is called conVerd Board,” Tomes says. “We have what we call the ‘trifecta.’ First, the board is 90 percent virgin fiber, with 10 percent post-consumer waste. What you’re getting there is a high quality of paper, but also a recycled piece to go back into the product.”
The second benefit in the trifecta is that the product is Forest Stewardship Council-certified, Tomes says. His company can trace the material all the way back to the forest, and confirm it didn’t come from an old-growth forest, a rain forest, or a clear cut, but from a sustainable forest, he says.
The third part of the trifecta is that conVerd Board is recyclable. “And on top of that three-legged stool is the fact that being green no longer means you’re going to pay more,” Tomes says. “What it does mean is you’re going to get a better performing product at the same price. You get a higher quality print image because it’s a 97 bright sheet, on the GE brightness scale. It’s a blue-white sheet, so you get really good color pop. But flesh tones look very natural.”
Those choosing conVerd Board are using it for point-of-purchase materials and temporary displays, as well as indoor signage, Tomes reports.
“The flatbed signage aspect is taking off because of the ‘wow’ factor,” he says. “Retailers can grab the consumer’s attention, draw them to investigating products, get them excited about the products and then get them to purchase.”
Today’s rigid substrates are allowing retailers and PSPs to do more, he adds. Point-of-purchase suppliers are building innovative in-store displays that get creative with dimensionality and are seen as a departure from typical square signs. For his or her part, the PSP is able to produce faster runs and quicker turnarounds, and make output unique and specific to different customers.
“What we’ve found is retailers are really embracing the environmental concept,” Tomes says. “That’s because consumers want that. When I get questions from retailers, they want to really investigate the product. They want to know why it’s green. What does that mean? We had our product third-party validated as recyclable, by a leading school of wood and paper science.”
Tomes has been in stores where messages trumpeting retailers’ environmental efforts are announced over the loud-speaker for customers’ edification. Printers too can get out word they are embracing green by printing the triangle recycle symbol on the board, to reinforce that it can be recycled.