Printing Direct to Magnet Creates Profitable Opportunities

Keeping your wide-format printers busy is a primary key to your success, according to Master Magnetics (Booth 106). The ability to print direct to flexible magnetic sheeting opens up entire new channels of business that you may have been missing. From vehicle signs for contractors, realtors, and restaurant delivery vehicles to POP retail signs, calendars, and local sports team schedules, there is an endless number of items that make printing on magnetic sheeting a very profitable segment of your business.

Some printers are reluctant to take advantage of these opportunities because they feel that the traditional two-step process of printing on a substrate and laminating to the magnet, or printing on unmagnetized material and then magnetizing it, is too time consuming and not an efficient process. Printing direct to magnet avoids these extra steps, saving time and money. With good quality magnetic sheeting, excellent high-resolution printing results can be achieved with solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and Latex ink systems. For aqueous inks, you can get Master Magnetics’ PrintMagnet already laminated with a paper topcoat for one-step, direct-to-magnet printing.

A common reason cited by printers for resistance to printing on magnet is the concern for running magnetic material through their printer. A common problem may be if the platen is metal, the smooth and even flow of the magnet being fed into the printer would be restricted. This is easily overcome by covering the platen with styrene, chip board, vinyl, duct tape, or other material to create an air gap between the metal platen and magnet.

Other issues, such as print head height adjustment, ink saturation, or other metal parts of the printer that the magnet will come into contact with could be answered by your printer manufacturer and referring to the printer’s profiles. “Everything you run through a printer requires a unique set-up for optimal performance and quality, and magnet is no different,” says Ralph Terramagra, Mutoh Eastern Regional Sales Manager. “The platen and post heater on most Mutoh printers are made of aluminum, so they will not cause a problem with the magnet. There is a steel piece across the back where the media feeds in that will need to be covered, as explained earlier. Basically, if you keep the magnet from sticking to metal it is really not much different than printing on vinyl. That being said, remember it is much thicker, so keep your head height in a higher position. It is also heavier, so your print feed will need to be adjusted,” explains Terramagra.

Testing for compatibility and quality has been completed with many international printer manufacturers including Mutoh, HP, EFI, Gerber Scientific Products, Mimaki, Integra/Grapo, Seiko Instruments USA, Canon, Océ, Fujifilm, Jetrix, Screen, Polytype, and is in process with other well known brands.