Innovative Applications to Expand Your In-plant's Services
On day two of PRINTING United Expo, the in-plant community gathered for a breakfast discussion about “Innovative Applications to Expand Your In-plant’s Services.” In-plant Impressions editor-in-chief Bob Neubauer and a panel of in-plant managers showed examples of innovative print applications being produced using the latest digital production and wide-format technologies.
The forum, sponsored by Canon Solutions America, was meant to provide in-plant managers with ideas and inspirations for new types of work and projects their shops can produce.
“Things have changed for in-plants over the past 10 years,” Neubauer said. “They've gone from document printers to wide-format experts specializing in transforming spaces. They have taken on challenging jobs like swimming pool graphics. So, there's a lot more going on than just documents.”
Neubauer showed numerous examples of unique applications such as menus printed on synthetic materials, packaging, six-panel brochures, labels, double-sided clings, backlit prints, textured printing, ADA signage and more. All of these are achievable by in-plants using the latest toner and wide-format technologies.
To show even more applications, Neubauer assembled a panel of in-plant managers that included June Lewis, of Kellogg Community College; Chuck Werninger of Houston Independent School District; and Louis Ferrel of Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Lewis got the conversation started by highlighting some of the new and exciting items Kellogg Community College’s in-plant is printing. She showcased the quarterly magazine it produces, along with other projects like student passports, an emergency management guide, and informational brochures for the admissions office.
One project that Lewis said she is particularly excited about is a batch of holiday dinner invitation cards that were printed just weeks ago on the in-plant’s recently installed Canon imagePRESS V1000. Lewis said she anticipates the V1000 allowing the in-plant to increase its capacity for different projects.
“We're going to be doing more synthetic paper on the new V1000. The V1000 will also have our booklet maker in-line whereas we didn't have it in-line before. So, we're definitely going to pick up on our booklets,” Lewis said.
The conversation turned to Werninger and everything his in-plant is doing for the Houston Independent School district, which has more than 280 schools.
“If you go to the average school in America, they look like hospitals with white walls. They're very scary, cold, clammy environments, and they're massive, massive buildings,” Werninger said. “So, what we've started doing is a series of window graphics to make sure that the kids’ first experience when they walk into school first day and every day is really good.”
While window and wall graphics remain a popular choice, Werninger explained that stair graphics have become all the rage, because when kids reach middle school to high school range, he said, they’re constantly looking down.
“Everybody's looking at their shoelaces when they're walking around. But when they get to the stairs, they look up because they don't want to stumble in front of their friends,” Werninger said. “It turns out it's easy to design, and it's easy to print. Installation takes a little more work because you’ve got to get down on your hands and knees; there's just no two ways around it but the teachers love this stuff. And it's really important to develop the root fundamentals in kids and this gives them an opportunity to do some of that stuff.”
To achieve these projects, Werninger said his in-plant has three canon Colorado flatbed printers and a team of three full-time installers. So many projects are rolling in that he’s even looking for a fourth to bring on.
The floor isn’t the only surface that can be printed on, he reminded the audience. The in-plant's Canon Texas UV flatbed can even print on ceiling tiles, he said, and showed a sample of his shop’s work.
The discussion then shifted to Ferrel and the work the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority’s in-plant is doing such as bus stop signage for more than 20,000 bus stops, vehicle wraps, yard signs, and posters.
“We alert the public to just about everything that's going on in the city. So, when there's something going on, we put posters up all over the place. We have about 110 train stops and about 52 different transit centers. And we'll put that information there as well so that everybody will have the same information. And they're all time sensitive. Everything only lasts, I would say, probably the lifespan of eight to 14 days,” Ferrel said.
To achieve its signage and poster jobs, Ferrel said the in-plant utilizes a Canon Arizona Flatbed printer.
Ferrel also revealed that the in-plant just started printing graphics for bus shelters. With 4,000 of them in the city, Ferrel and his team are trying to spruce them up to make them look more appealing to those taking transit.
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