“You see the FSC logo on lots of printed product across a range of printed paper today,” Tomes says. “You can even put a QR code on it, taking customers to the retailer’s environmental page. Sixty-three percent of all paper today is recycled. We’re selling a product that already has infrastructure of recyclables in place. They don’t have to sort out and create a whole new waste stream. The products we compete against are all the polystyrenes, likely with benzene.”
As flatbed printing has grown ever faster, PSPs have been able to turn out larger print runs in less time. That has meant greater numbers of customers for Lamitech, Inc., an 18-year-old Cranbury, NJ, company that is essentially a paperboard converter and supplier for offset, screen, and digital printing.
“Paperboard has been around forever. But with the advent of the digital flatbed presses, the marketplace that had been centered around traditional screen printing process transitioned to digital flatbed,” says Lamitech vice president and general manager Adam Reiser.
“When those presses first arrived, they had a lot of unique capabilities. Printers focused on the high-cost substrates, because it allowed them a greater margin, and because print speeds were slow. But print speeds have climbed dramatically, meaning they are moving to commercial, volume-type printing jobs.”
Instead of printing one, two, or 20 of something, PSPs are printing 3,000, Reiser says. In runs that size, the cost of the media becomes a significant issue. And paperboard is among the most affordable rigid substrates, he notes.
Lamitech makes rigid posterboard products in dimensions from 28x44 to 48x96, and in calibers from .030 to .10, he says. A thickness of .10 yields a piece of cardboard thick enough for bank stanchion signs, and hanging and window signs in retail settings. “In a liquor store, there are stacks of cases of beer,” Reiser says. “The sign at the top, a case card, will be fairly thick boards.”
One of the advantages reaped by any retailer choosing signs made from Lamitech boards is that the product is 100 percent recyclable. “In many cases, the material we’re selling them has been recycled before,” Reiser says.
“It’s a great green message to their customers. Any of the signs printed on the paperboard we sell can go right into their normal corrugated waste streams, and be remanufactured into normal paperboard products.”
Different Right Down to its Core
There’s a crucial difference to the products of Laminators, Inc., a 50-year-old Hatfield, PA-based company that manufactures a complete line of rigid substrates. “What differentiates our products from other rigid substrate manufacturers are the various cores and thicknesses of our products,” says Jessica A. Olff, the company’s marketing communications manager. “We offer products in a multitude of thicknesses with corrugated polyallomer (CPA) cores, hardwood cores, and solid core.”
The CPA products are marketed in various sizes and thicknesses, and are able to withstand inclement weather in outdoor applications. “Our corrugated polyallomer (CPA) core products, such as Alumalite or Econoilte, feature aluminum on both sides of a corrugated polyallomer (CPA) core,” Olff says. “The benefit to using these products is a lightweight, smooth surface that is ideal for digital printing.”
Laminators, Inc.’s products can be used on signs as large as billboards, Olff adds. Multiple panels can be used to create a billboard, or for a standard, 4x8 post-and-panel building sign. “What’s nice about our CPA core products is that they can be fastened using dowel pins,” she says. “That allows for ease of installation and the ability to create larger signs by putting panels together.”
Apart from the CPA core products is Omega-Bond, another product from Laminators. This features double or single-sided painted aluminum, bonded to a solid polyethylene core, for a rigid yet lightweight substrate. Omega-Bond is recommended for the same exterior applications, and can be used effectively for scoreboards, billboards, real estate panels, and highway signage, Olff says.
She believes the quest for sustainability and elimination of waste will do nothing but enhance sales of rigid substrates in the years ahead.