Savvy digital and sign shops know how to pool together information and processes to make the most out of this finishing equipment. What is the key to success in this area?
Marten says, “Soft signage is one of the fastest growing segments in the large- and grand-format printing industry—shops need to understand the potential and decide to invest financial and training resources to allow for their success. Print shops should investigate what applications they want to produce and to what scale they plan to produce them, then plan for equipment to match. A great thing about finishing fabric is that equipment is available for all sizes and types of output. Fabric printing and finishing is now in reach of small and large shops.”
According to Eliasson, “Through implementing this kind of equipment in the production and making a layout of the company’s type of welding/seaming, a radio frequency trackwelder is used for many different products and when implemented correctly is always a faster technology.”
As with most equipment upgrades, one of the reasons for the purchase is to improve productivity and profit. How can a shop improve these vital parts of a business?
“Productivity and profit will follow when the print shop makes their production cycle easier and quicker through a combination of capability of equipment, training on the workflow, and understanding how to translate this into their sales cycle,” says Marten. “Whether or not they are just starting out and need to make the jump into soft signage or are increasing their efficiencies on their current fabric production, optimizing their tool set for their goals will help them to run leaner and more profitable. Lastly, it is always important to educate sales teams on capabilities and product set so that they can, in turn, sell those capabilities into your target market.
“A Forsstrom trackwelder gives the owner a faster weld and the welded product a very nice looking finish and a high-quality seam,” says Eliasson. “The result is a better product that the graphics and sign shop is able to charge more for, at the same time as they will produce more. The machine also gives the graphics and sign shop a higher status.”
As the market continues to grow and savvy shop owners look for more uses for their wares, trends will emerge. Let’s look at some of the trends in the finishing department.
“The current and future trends that we see is that our customers use the machines also for other applications, such as light architecture with prints,” says Eliasson. “On our side, I stress that the trend within this area is that more and more graphic customers widen their customer type and base, and find use of our equipment for many other applications.”
Marten weighs in: “For medium and large PSPs, the trend is toward speed, automation, and any method of cutting down on the number of steps in the production process are becoming key for profitability. Equipment investments that produce consistent repeatable results such as a Klieverik heat press or Znd cutter accomplish this type of consistency and cut down on human error, equipment error, and waste. For smaller PSPs, there is growing urgency to be able to produce at least some if not all jobs in house to reduce fulfillment time and delivery reliability.”