Get the Most from Your Latex Printer

If you’re considering working with HP Latex print technology — or if you’ve purchased a latex printer that you’d like to get more use out of — you’ve clicked on the right blog. Let’s take a look at how HP Latex technology can help you improve production times, save money on consumables and offer more products to your customers.

Save Money: While your initial investment on equipment may be higher than other print technologies, the cost of consumables such as ink and media are quite a bit lower. In fact, latex ink costs are nearly half the price of aqueous inks. Media, such as banner material, can cost 10-30% less than aqueous versions, depending on the material. Those overall, long-term savings are significant.

Improve Workflow: When an HP Latex printer is installed in your facility, a tech will spend time with your team providing operation instruction, so the learning curve is quick and easy. Once in production, since latex inks don’t need to be coated, you’ll save the time and expense that come into play with coating canvas, for instance. With latex, there’s no need to add a protective coating, so just select a roll of gloss canvas, print, stretch and go — all within the same day! Plus, the durable latex inks are fade- and scratch-resistant and can last up to five years without a protective coating or laminate.

Offer More Solutions: This may be the biggest opportunity for print service providers. With latex, you can expand your offerings into all the major digital print market segments, including fine art and photo reproduction, canvas wraps, indoor and outdoor signage, trade show graphics, adhesive vinyls for a multitude of applications, and the exploding specialty décor market. More and more materials are currently being manufactured for latex production, including fabrics and wallcoverings.

The Latex Difference: When using HP Latex-certified materials, you are ensured that not only will you get accurate, consistent results, but in many cases you’ll be able to offer your customers products that have been verified for environmental and human health safety, which you cannot achieve with solvent technology, for instance. Often, hospitals, hotels, schools and corporations look for these verifications and certificates to help them achieve LEED certification for their buildings. You can make a big difference in helping them reach this goal!

Last year, HP introduced its Latex Print & Cut bundle, pairing latex printers and top-of-the-line cutters. Check out the video below to learn about the applications you can produce, like stickers, decals or vehicle graphics, and how they stack up to the competition.

To discover all the HP Latex printer options, please visit LexJet.com and call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 today.

A Successful Formula for Bold and Beautiful Inkjet Printed Wall Murals

Printing wall murals

Formula Boats, based in Decatur, Ind., is proud of its product, as well it should be. The company’s high-octane boats are sporty and stylish, facts which are replicated in its promotions and presentations.

Formula Boats’ latest creation, the Formula 350 CBR, is the centerpiece of a new wall mural that adorns the lobby of its headquarters in Decatur. Taken from a July photo shoot in the Bahamas, the wall mural wows visitors and passersby alike.

Printing wall murals for promotions and advertising“You can also see the mural from the road; we’ve noticed a bunch of people pull in to our parking lot and point at it,” says Tonya Hamilton, director of communications for Formula Boats.

Hamilton also handles the company’s large-format promotional printing and says the application of the material to which she printed, LexJet Simple WallCal (6 Mil), was relatively easy. The only hiccup in the process was during the printing.

“Our printer had a problem printing the full 54-inch width. It kept moving over about 1/4″ to 1/16″ so that each panel was off a little bit, so we had to print patches to make sure everything corresponded and lined up perfectly,” explains Hamilton. “The actual installation was a piece of cake, though all those little splices made it more time-consuming. It was supposed to be only big six panels, but it ended up being six big panels and six smaller splices to get it lined up properly.”

Next time, adds Hamilton, she’ll leave an inch or so on each side for a 52″ print width, instead of printing edge to edge.

“We want to do it again, and our next big project is a vehicle wrap for a parade here in town,” says Hamilton. “Vic Porter, our company’s chairman, will pull one of the first boats he ever built in the parade.”

Hamilton also uses LexJet Poly Select fabrics for trade shows, point of purchase and dealer showrooms. Check back here for follow-up posts on the fabric applications and the vehicle wrap to find out more about these applications.

Gambling on Wall Graphics

Inkjet printing wall murals and decor

They say (whoever they are) that, one way or another, the House always wins, so there’s nothing better than a situation in which everyone wins. Such was the case with a recent wall graphics project Imagine This Banners completed for a casino in West Virginia.

Casino decor and wall graphicsImage This Banners, headquartered in Charleston, W.V., covered four walls at the casino, effectively transforming those spaces and setting a unique atmosphere. Two of the walls were 50 feet long by 6 1/2 feet tall, another was 22 feet long and 8 feet tall, and the fourth wall was 15 feet long by 10 feet tall.

Imagine This Banners used Photo Tex PSA Fabric from LexJet for the project, and owner Greg Harpold says it was the first time they installed an adhesive-backed wall mural of this size though he’s been evangelizing on behalf of this application for years.

Applying inkjet printed wall graphics“When I first got into the large-format business in 2005 I was attending a lot of trade shows like SGIA and I was intrigued by the wall wraps. I come from a theatrical, stage lighting, film and television background and it was a natural thing for me to latch in because digital inkjet printing makes fantastic backdrops, as well as the ability to change and create atmosphere quickly,” says Harpold. “I’m hoping that it will run like wildfire and open the door for more of this type of application.”

Image This Banners, by the way, is the design and large-format printing arm of an international multi-media company with additional offices in Toronto and London that includes Jaguar Education, which produces educational materials for schools. “Large format printing was a natural spinoff for us; we enlarged our basic formats for posters, mascot banners, floor graphics, wall graphics, pole banners… you name it,” Harpold says.

Installing interior wall decor imagesHarpold adds that he had previously pitched the casino on wrapping the walls a few years ago. The casino finally came around, designed a concept and called Imagine This Banners to see if they could pull it off.

Harpold admits to being a bit nervous about the project since, as mentioned earlier, they had not completed a project of this scope with adhesive-backed materials. Fortunately, the choice of Photo Tex soon put any misgivings to rest.

“I have learned a lesson or two when it comes to installing large adhesive graphics and some materials are very unforgiving. If you drop them or position them wrong you might be starting the entire install over or damaging the surface that you are applying to, but Photo Tex is a blessing for its ease of application since it’s repositionable and can be easily corrected if it sticks where you don’t want it to stick,” says Harpold. “I would totally suggest using foam-covered squeegees when it comes to applying Photo Tex. This technique really helps protect the artwork and allows you to focus on the job at hand.”

Greg Harpold
Greg Harpold, owner of Imagine This Banners, Charleston, W.V.

Harpold says the client is “absolutely stoked,” all the way through the organization from top to bottom. Part of its success, beyond the relatively easy installation, was the color gamut provided by the Canon iPF9000 printer, which Harpold says is especially important for hitting flesh tones.

“My production manager and righthand gal Tracy Rogers was completely floored by the print quality of Photo Tex and the ease of its application. She has been with me through thick and thin and said this job was, by far, a total success because Photo Tex gave us such latitude in both printing and installation,” says Harpold. “Also, working with Jaimie Mask [Imagine This Banner’s personal customer specialist] and the valuable information she provided regarding the product really helped us move toward Photo Tex as our choice of material for this project.”

This Month Only: Save $50 on a 54″ x 100′ Roll of Solvent Photo Tex

Printing wall murals on an adhesive backed fabricYou may remember Photo Tex from such LexJet Blog posts as: Solving a Maze with Inkjet Printing on a Ceiling, How to Apply Wall Graphics with Photo Tex, and Printing the Big Picture for Conferences and Trade Shows, among many others.

The point is, this extremely versatile, easy-to-work-with-apply-and-remove inkjet printable fabric has become one of the most popular inkjet materials in the market over the past few years for applications as wide ranging as die-cut wall graphics, full wall murals, window graphics and even temporary vehicle graphics.

And now, the solvent/low-solvent version of Photo Tex is on sale this month only, today through June 30. So, when you buy a 54″ x 100′ roll of Solvent Photo Tex you’ll get $50 off the regular price. If you buy online, use Promo Code PTSFR. We suggest you stock up with one order (the promotion is limited to one order only) as your savings will obviously increase with each roll purchased.

As a reminder, Photo Tex is an adhesive-backed fabric with a special adhesive that makes a cinch to apply and remove and leaves no residue behind. One of the lesser-known qualities is the ability to take it down and repeatedly re-use it. Photo Tex works well for life-size photographic cut-outs, wall murals, windows, doors, sign boards, backlits and other flat, non-porous surfaces.

For more information about Photo Tex, both Solvent and Aqueous versions, and this $50 off promotion, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538. And, see how easy Photo Tex is to work with and install in the video below…

Strange Brew: Building and Printing Custom Beer Taps for a Collaborative Brew

Decorating beer taps with inkjet printed graphics

You may know Tim Dussault, owner of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., from such projects as custom inkjet-printed window shades and a makeover for the H2O club posted here at the LexJet Blog. Dussault is always on the lookout for the next creative, custom project. As he puts it, “Our process is about serving unique niches that aren’t mass produced and that market to a specific audience.”

In this latest case, pictured here, it was a tasty blend of brews from three local brewers – Diamond Knot Brewing Company, North Sound Brewing and Anacortes Brewery – blended for a beer-tasting special event that brought Dussault’s creativity to the fore.

The brew masters from the three breweries exchanged ideas, recipes and yeasts to create a special brew for the event, held in three different places between the Puget Sound and Everett, Wash. The brew was also on tap for a month, and three taps representing each brewery were need for all three locations.

Since Dussault is active in the community and well known for producing projects like this, they turned to him for his expertise. The group came up with a concept, DNA, for the collaborative brew, and an eye-catching graphic. DNA is a double entendre – the initials of each brewery plus the fact the new beer is a blend of the three different yeasts each brewer uses.

Dussault had one day to take that concept and build the nine taps, so he worked with his local sign shop, Anchor Signs, to cut the taps out of one-inch thick PVC board on Anchor’s CNC router, then printed, cut and applied the graphics, which were printed on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene.

Printing images on window shadesDussault says the event was packed with people from as far away as Canada. Moreover, the event and the work got pub and brewery owners thinking about how to better promote their businesses with the creative use of graphics and signs.

“We’ve had three to four different pub and brewery owners interested in the process, and not just the beer taps, but the whole concept of using graphics in a creative way to promote their business,” says Dussault. “I created a roller shade print for one of the breweries. The roller shade is inside the brewery, which faces the restaurant. On that window shade is a schematic of the brewing process and how beer is made using photos of their own equipment – their tanks and process – so when someone looks at it they see not only the process but what’s being used in their specific brewery. We’re modifying the concept for another brewery because each is so unique.”

HP Z6100 Firmware Update Provides Vacuum Control for Slipping Substrates

Firmware updates for HP large format inkjet printersSome media types like to slip slide away as you print. Fabrics are particularly guilty of this slipping offense. To help with those troublesome textiles, and any other media printed on the HP Designjet Z6100, HP has a firmware update that fixes this issue.

The update allows you to modify the amount of vacuum applied to various media, and for both thick and thin materials, you can adjust the loading vacuum level. So, for fabrics like LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth and the Poly Select line of fabrics, the extra control makes it easier to keep them in line.

Click here for more instructions and to download Firmware Version 9.0.0.4.

And, as always, if you need any additional help with the firmware update or have any questions about LexJet’s fabric line, HP’s Designjet printers, and any other inkjet printable media, call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.