What They’re Saying: HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate is “Dynamite”

About a year ago, Adam Koppelman bought the SpeedPro Imaging in Totowa, N.J., from its original owner. “We’re growing, which is terrific. I’ve brought on a few large corporate clients,” Koppelman says of his clientele.

One corporate client that he and his team are working with is the Dave & Busters at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, N.J. “The staircase is about 23 feet wide and 36-steps high, with a landing. The graphic isn’t going on the tread, only the risers,” Koppelman says. “I knew it wouldn’t be stepped on.”

Needing to protect the graphics from the occasional kick, Koppelman chose to use HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate. “We’ve used it for other projects like wall murals,” he says. “With Dave and Busters, there’s corporate branding and color is important, I need it to be right and we didn’t have any issues. It looks dynamite and they are pleased with the results.”

Having used other brands through the years, Koppelman knows there are some issues when using a matte laminate: silvering, bland or faded colors, even installation issues. Laminates can be expensive, so replacing graphics can get costly if they need to be reprinted. “I switched over to the laminate because it is a nicer product than what we were using. Also, it is more efficient from a cost perspective.”

Not only does he feel the HP matte laminate enhances the colors, but his installers are also pleased with the way the product goes down.

“We printed a 6-foot by 10-foot wall mural and the installer asked what kind of laminate we used. He felt that install was easier for him due to the rigidity and thickness of the laminate and vinyl.” With the success of the smaller wall mural in his portfolio, other companies have requisitioned larger pieces for their corporate spaces. “We recently did one that was 8-and-a-half by 26-feet. The customer was very happy with the results.”

Koppelman is not only using the HP matte laminate on his projects, but he is also talking to other SpeedPro owners and they’ve started using it as well. “We’ve been going through the rolls pretty quickly over the last few months.”

What he likes most about the product is the rigidity, his customers like the look of the finished graphics, and his installers like the way it handles. Of course, saving money is also an added benefit.

If you are interested in learning more about the HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate or the other products in the portfolio, call a LexJet sales representative at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Prints That Win: Thunder Waiting for Dakota

One afternoon, Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based photographer Joseph Ruh’s wife suggested they visit a friend’s farm. Upon arrival, they were greeted by Thunder and Dakota, two of the resident horses. They spent the afternoon walking around the farm and photographing both horses. A split-second decision of Ruh’s would land him in the winner’s circle for the Sunset Print Awards.

Thunder was so close, pinning Ruh against the fence. “I almost missed the shot, but then thought to myself this angle could be really neat,” he says. When he and his wife returned home, they looked at the photos. His wife saw the up-close shot and persuaded him to enter it into the competition.

Photography is something that’s always come naturally to Ruh, ever since he was young. Growing up, he had a neighbor who was an artist and worked for Gibson Greeting Cards. He was the one who inspired Ruh to get in touch with his creative side, through both painting and photography. It was photography, however, that stuck with Ruh.

“I wasn’t great at painting, but I could take a photograph,” he says. “My father had cameras around his house, encouraging me to start shooting with an 8mm video camera as early as 9 years old.” Ruh and his father would eventually switch to film cameras.

Even while working in electronics in the military, he still found photography interesting. Stationed in Germany, Ruh learned to work with black and white and grew to love the medium as he developed photos in the photography lab on the fifth floor of his dormitory. Fast forward to the 1970s when Ruh took a 3-month probationary job as a photo-journalist at the Kentucky Post. For five years, he shot everything from editorials to sports. Eventually, he took a job at Northern Kentucky University as a staff photographer in the marketing department.

Ruh would work at the University for over three decades, photographing everything from sports to biology classes (his favorite). “I really loved the science aspect, especially using a 15mm macro lens to shoot dissections in the class and sitting in on the lectures.”

To this day, Ruh won’t travel without his camera. Whether riding his bike or driving his car, he has his camera next to him so he can take pictures of anything from landscapes to flowers to trees. He currently works as a commercial photographer for contractors and builders but also enjoys also taking photos for fun. “I enjoy the freedom of creating self-assignments to take pictures of what I please.”

Ruh appreciates the ability to enter competitions, such as the Sunset Print Awards. “I like receiving feedback from the judges and other competitors,” he says. “I can see what I am doing right and what needs improvement.” He likes the guidelines provided through the PPA’s 12 elements and ensures that his photos encompass each one. He enjoys editing his photos because he feels that is an important part of the competition process, “[editing] helps me see my work from other viewpoints.”

Stating he can’t get enough of photography, Ruh finds inspiration for his work in everything from art magazines to television to his model airplanes. He considers the different angles, frames and focus that he can use to make something ordinary into something extraordinary through an image. Using an EPSON SureColor P800 Printer and Sunset Photo eSatin Paper helps him print award-winning images and gives him complete control over the entire process, from capture to print.

Putting it to the Test: HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP is “a Winner”

Recently, Scott Kaiser and his installation team at Sunrise Signs in Gloucester City, N.J., received a roll of HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP from LexJet. Before using any new product for a project, Kaiser says they like to push the material to the extreme. “Any time we try out new material, we torture it to see what it’s going to do,” he says.

So how did the Optimal fare? “We tortured it and it stood up great,” Kaiser says. “We stretched it and it didn’t white out, which can sometimes be an issue with latex inks. I also like the repositionable quality, and it really does take to those rivets!”

In the video above, you can see the intense testing of the Optimal laminated with HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate which includes stretching, overstretching, heating, rolling over rivets and repeated repositioning. Not only is an installer looking to see how well the color sits on the material, but checking performance on different surfaces is also important.

“We put it on some rough surfaces on that truck. It’s an old, beat up box truck and it was in terrible shape,” Kaiser says. “We wanted to see how it does when problem areas arise. We lifted it back up and reheated it to see if it went back to its shape. It did.”

When it comes to fleet or box truck graphic installations, there can be some challenges. “He (the installer) was putting some graphics on a super smooth trailer, and he liked working with it, but for another trailer, there were lots of rivets.”

Although there were many rivets on one of the jobs, Kaiser says the vinyl held tight. “They just had to work a little bit slower through those areas, but the vinyl held, and the rivets look tight.”

Kaiser says that he will continue to use the HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP protected with HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate for trailers and box trucks. “I’ve used other well-known brands before, and I think the HP Optimal had great success when compared to the other products,” he says. “Our installer even put it on his own trailer.”

Whether testing against the rigors of installing on a less-than-perfect surface or overstretching it to look for white-out conditions, Kaiser and his installer put the Optimal Gloss Air GRP through its paces, and both have declared it a “winner.”

If you are interested in learning more about the performance of the Optimal Gloss Air GP – or any other products in the HP Adhesive Vinyl line – call a LexJet specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com today.

A Cutting-Edge Update for Visit Sarasota County’s Visitors Center

The space dedicated for Visit Sarasota County’s visitor center started as a pretty blank slate — crisp white walls with high ceilings and lots of potential. The Visit Sarasota team asked LexJet to add some creativity with the possibilities of print. And we took it from floor to ceiling … and beyond.

Since we knew that desktop and bookshelves would be covered with colorful brochures and maps, we opted for a subtle watercolor print for the wallcovering. We chose Vescom Polster wallcovering with a slightly textured surface that provides the natural look and feel of stucco. And because this Type II PVC vinyl wallcovering is Class A fire rated and meets EPA requirements for low-VOC emitting products, we knew it would be a safe option for the busy visitors center.

Panels printed on EnduraFab Frontlit Premier

A large curved wall was just begging for a show-stopping graphic. Using EnduraFab Frontlit Premier latex-printable textile, we printed five hanging panels that created the quintessential Sarasota sunset family portrait.

Our most exciting print project paired canvas wraps with augmented reality. We printed a half dozen canvas wraps with images that photographers captured around the Sarasota area. Using our proprietary augmented reality app for smartphones or tablets, a video would play when the device was held in front of the canvas wraps.

The canvas wraps included images of beach scenes, paddle boarding, shopping and more areas of interest for visitors. We chose Fredrix 777VWR Vivid Matte Canvas with a smooth texture that delivers highly detailed photo reproductions.

Watch the video above to see how it all came together for the Visit Sarasota County group and their open house, which celebrated the new space.

New Exhibit Takes Flight with Floor-to-Ceiling Murals

When the design team at Field Museum in Chicago wanted to create an exhibit with the few James Audubon’s artifacts they had on-hand, they decided to give it a big treatment with floor-to-ceiling murals of reproductions of Audubon’s illustrations.

The exhibit idea started with an original over-sized book by Audubon, a 19th century naturalist and painter who dedicated his life to studying and documenting all the birds of North America. His bird expertise and illustrations are world-renowned. Field Museum had a few birds represented from the book as well as pages from one of Audubon’s sketch books. With only a few items on-hand, but a desire to showcase them, Nel Fetherling, supervisor of graphic production, worked with her design team to come up with a creative approach for the small exhibit.

The images in the book had been photographed years ago, and Fetherling was able to access the files. “I said: ‘Let’s do wall paper,'” she says. “We wanted to do something really, really big.”

Fetherling had used LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for smaller jobs and thought it could work as a wall mural, as well. “Because we use aqueous inks, I knew I couldn’t print true wallpaper, so I used this product instead,” she says. Her team printed six 14-foot x 75-inch wall murals as well as one for the entryway (pictured at top).

“The colors were so brilliant,” Fetherling says. “Our designer was skeptical, but after we printed it, she said the colors were almost better than the actual illustrations. It’s just such a nice white to print on.”

Fetherling handled the installation herself, requiring a scissor lift and a bit of trial and error. “I was thankful that it was a little bit forgiving,” she says of the ability to reposition or remove Print-N-Stick. “We have had other products that weren’t quite as successful going through the printer — and the colors were not as good. This is better than other products we’ve used with an adhesive back.”

She says Print-N-Stick’s versatility has everyone talking about what they could use it for next, since it is a viable alternative to a solvent or latex vinyl that she could not print in-house on her two Canon PRO-Series PRO-4000s.

“The Canon PRO-4000 and Lucia inks are very nice,” she says, with her team relying on the printers for everything from educational panels to artwork to event posters and much more. “Our designers were amazed at quality of prints coming out of the Canons. And we liked that we can get a two-roll thing on the Canons to switch out papers quickly.”

To learn more about the Audubon exhibit, visit Field Museum. To learn more about LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, call a LexJet rep at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Florida Farmers Heed the Call to Help Nebraska

In recent weeks, Nebraska was devastated by flooding, with thousands of acres of farmland under water. Florida farmers know what kind of damage Mother Nature can bring, so Sarasota, Fla. cattleman, Chris Egolf, and some friends decided to help.

“We knew we needed to get the donated supplies to Nebraska,” Egolf says. “As fellow ranchers, farmers and Americans, we wanted to help as much as we could.” Donations consisted of 48 round bales of hay, 8,500 pounds of cattle cubes and feed, 200 fence posts, and 18 rolls of barbed wire and electric fence supplies.

The group loaded up one tractor-trailer, a gooseneck trailer, and another flatbed trailer and headed out from Sarasota to Elkhorn, Neb., a 3200-mile, 52-hour round trip. “We went straight up and back to be at work Monday morning,” Egolf says.

Egolf decided to have some banners made in support of “Nebraska Strong” and to decorate the trailers for the long drive. Bryce Montisano, a team leader at LexJet, heard about the supply run and donated some banners printed on LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner.

“The banners were seen from Florida to Nebraska, and we had several people honking horns as a show of support. Someone even left a donation on our windshield,” Egolf says. “In fact, one of the drop locations loved the banners so much they kept one to display. The rest of them made the trip back to Florida.”

Thanks to all those who donated and participated in the 2019 Nebraska supply run. If you’d like to learn more about the durability of ThriftyBanner, give us a call at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.