What They’re Saying: “The HP Films are Good Quality and They Look Great”

Over 30 years ago, Tony Evans saw his childhood dream come true when he opened Evans Graphics in Monessen, Pa. “I lettered my first fire truck in 1985, and I started my business four years later,” he says. “Ever since I was a little boy, it was my dream to work with fire trucks, and I would say that now, around 80% of my work is on emergency vehicles.”

Throughout the years, Evans has changed the way he creates the graphics for his clients. He’s always wanted a printer, but he wasn’t spending enough outsourcing his printing to make it worth it. When he realized he was paying as much as $1,000 a month to have another shop print his graphics, he purchased an HP Latex 115.

“I wanted to give my customers prints that mimicked gold-leaf lettering, but I couldn’t do it without a printer,” he says. “Having a printer in-house saves my customers money, saves me from outsourcing, and it allows me to be more creative with what I can do.”

Once he got the printer installed, Evans knew he would need some material for commercial jobs and non-reflective products. Although he’d never purchased from LexJet before, he reached out to sales specialist Trey Kelly who was happy to talk to him about the HP Adhesive Vinyl line.

“I print with a lot of reflective material for the emergency vehicles and I use the HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate,” he says. “The cast laminate is unbelievably awesome! It has a nice high gloss, with no silvering, and it cuts beautifully. It enhances the characteristics of the reflective vinyl and makes it a little easier to handle.”

Reflective Vinyl with HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate

Sometimes, certain jobs will call for a little thicker laminate and that’s when Evans chooses HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate. “Some trucks have roll-up doors and I have to trim between every slat and for those jobs, because the Polymeric is a little thicker, it makes it easier to use,” he says. “These are flat surfaces, so it works great.”

When he’s not working with reflective vinyl, Evans uses HP Prime Gloss CP and HP Prime Gloss Air GP for various projects like signs and stickers. “I used the Prime Gloss GP last year on a cargo van and I see that van around town all the time and it still looks great,” he says. “The CP, which doesn’t have the air channels, I use for labels. Since they get cut and handled by multiple people, I don’t want the air channels to possibly cause the label or sticker to separate from the backing.”

However, it was his recent experience with the HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP that really got him fired up. Combining the conformable Optimal with the cast laminate, Evans set out to install a ‘supergraphic’ on the side of a minivan for a local pest control company. “I wasn’t sure if the Optimal would conform well because it’s not a cast film. Wow! It was great,” he says.

Panel vans have recessed areas where rear windows would be in passenger vans, and Evans thought those recesses may require the use of the heat gun to soften the vinyl during installation. As it turns out, he didn’t need to warm it up. “Everything went on without a heat gun,” he says. “The entire application, including the gas filler door. I mean, the van looks like it came that way.”

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP with HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate

It’s not just the ease of installation that Evans loves about the vinyl. Because he’s working with the HP printer and inks, HP adhesive vinyl, and the HP laminates, he’s using quality products and getting quality results. “It prints beautifully, it cuts and weeds easily,” he says. “The HP films are good quality, they take the ink well, and they look great.”

Adding the printer last year has not only allowed him to expand his customer service and his creativity, but it also has kept him busy, especially as things started to slow down earlier this year. “With the work that I do, primarily emergency vehicles, I’m staying busy through COVID. Having the printer made me essential. I’m busier and more profitable than I’ve ever been,” he says.

If you are interested in learning more about the HP latex printers or HP Adhesive Vinyl, contact a sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Post-COVID-19 Prep: Optimize Your Inventory During Downtime

We’ve heard from some print shops that activity may be slowing down in some areas, so we put together some ideas of how you can use your downtime wisely. We all know that storage room inventory can get backed up, so now’s a great time to figure out what you’re using, what’s collecting dust and maybe identify some new, multiuse products that can save you both space and money plus you can earn up to 4X Edge Rewards.

“A good exercise is to put a list together of products you buy regularly and reach out to your vendor and let them know this is what I use regularly,” says LexJet sales rep, Ramiro Torrez. “And ask: Do you have something that is comparable at a better price point?”

Torrez worked with a customer who was buying 25 different products and he made recommendations to whittle the list down to 12 more versatile items. In some cases, the customer saved when buying more of the streamlined list.

“We saved her about $1,200 if she’d replenished one of everything in her old inventory,” he says. “Plus, when you buy in bulk, you’re going to get a better price for it.”

Next, we identified several applications that can be covered by one super-versatile product. Learn more about these products and stock up, so you’re a step ahead when it’s time to ramp up production once again:

VINYL: If you are stocking up on different products for self-adhesive window, signage and car decal graphics, HP Prime Matte Air GP is a one-size-fits-all option. Additionally, HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP can work across the board for wall graphics, corrugated plastic, windows and can even be mounted to Styrofoam.

SIGNAGE FILM: Another super versatile option for signage is LexJet’s Production Display Film, which can stand in for grommeted banners, retractable banner stands, and hanging signage, thanks to its lay-flat characteristics. It’s a cost-effective solution for indoor or short-term outdoor graphics, which is also available in a Solvent version.

POSTER PAPER: If you’re looking for a poster paper that works well outdoors and also doubles as a photo paper with good resolution, check out LexJet Satin Poster Paper 200g. At $0.12 per square foot, it’s a highly cost-effective, PVC-free option that delivers richly detailed, water-resistant prints.

FABRIC: When events start back up, you’ll want to have a fabric on hand that can work on a variety of applications. EnduraFab Frontlit is a 100% polyester knit fabric for Latex users that’s appropriate for lightweight and elegant table skirts, backdrops, step-and-repeats and flags. For aqueous printers, try LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth for a multitude of applications.

MULTI-PURPOSE: One of the most exciting product launches in recent years is LexJet FlexTek. This non-woven technical fabric is a winner thanks to its highly functional and versatile characteristics. It’s recyclable and PVC-free, making it an environmental win, too. FlexTek can be wrapped around stretcher bars to create canvas wraps (as an alternative to polyester canvas) or used for posters, banners or even hanging signage. It’s also available in a Solvent version, and both versions offer long shelf life.

For more ideas for versatile products and good-better-best options for your application, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

Let’s Go Trade Show! A Virtual Tour with LexJet

On Friday, April 17, we’re bringing the latest news, tips, demos and product launches right to you with our LexJet Virtual Let’s Go Trade Show! We’ll have valuable insight for dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, as well as lots of insider tips and sneak peeks on the products and services you’ll need to prepare for when everyone returns to work.

During this event, from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET, we’ll be covering the following topics:

  • Live demo showing how HP Adhesive Vinyl can be used for almost any application
  • Best social media marketing practices now and post-COVID-19
  • Discover the hot new window textile, Squid
  • Dye-sub applications with the Epson F Series
  • A live demo of HP Latex Print & Cut

Sign up today and we’ll provide you with the links of each of the live sessions. Choose the ones you’d like to attend, and drop on by. We look forward to seeing you (virtually) April 17!

SIGN UP NOW

Create Easy Contour Cut Lines for Stickers, Decals & More

To create attractive, customized shapes for decals, stickers and signage of all types, you can easily adjust your graphic file in Adobe Illustrator to create cut lines in the shape of your choice that will be perfectly set up for when you’re ready to send the job to your printer and cutter.

Follow along as we walk through, step-by-step, in this short educational video to ensure your cut lines are set up correctly to print and cut accurately with your graphic.

This technique is often used for customized sticker shapes, but can also be utilized to create functional cutouts, like the graphics we created for the mini-Jeeps pictured below, in which the graphic is trimmed perfectly to fit around the hood hinges and clamps. For this project, we used HP Adhesive Vinyl. This technique would work well with other products, such as LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric and LexJet Simple Grip or other self-adhesive products with a release liner.

In the video above, we also show you how to convert JPEG and PNG files for optimal results. Rastor and vector files are covered, as well.

Once you follow this set-up procedure, you’ll be ready to send the file to your RIP software, which will prepare the file for printing.

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Best Practices for Printing an Overlaminate with Timothy Mitchell

HP Latex application specialist Timothy Mitchell explores uses and best practices for the versatile HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate. This product not only works as a typical overlaminate used to protect prints, it can also be printed and used as a clear media that works with the HP Latex Print & Cut Solution.

Mitchell suggests using the product for a project like a decorative border around the edges of a window. The clear media works well on windows and can be custom cut using the Print & Cut system.

For optimal results, Mitchell suggests raising the ink load to 200%. “If you were to build this at 110%, and you were to put it in a store window with strong lighting coming through it, it’s going to look washed out … because you have what is a translucent material in a window, and that light cuts the color back,” he says. “If you were to switch that same print to 200% and you put it in there, the colors are going to pop.”

He suggests building the ink signature the same way as a backlit. In the video above, he walks through the steps to do that, and shows how the printer color calibrates and then can create a customized or standard ICC profile, based on the type of Latex machine.

Mitchell also discusses other advantages of the product and how to get the best results. Watch the video above for all of his insider tips and tricks.

5 Products that Changed the Game for Wide Format in 2019

In 2019, we looked to the market and our customers to find the gaps we could fill with problem-solving product innovations. As a company that marked its 25th anniversary this year, we’ve built our foundation on finding new ways to help our customers thrive. As the year comes to an end, we take a look back at some of the product launches customers and the industry asked for.

In case you didn’t catch them previously, here’s a look at five new media products that changed the game for the wide-format industry:

Squid, for High-End Window Graphics. Likely one of the most buzz-worthy products of the year, Squid is a self-adhesive, printable window textile that offers an elegant-looking alternative to window films that is more environmentally friendly and provides privacy while blocking the sun’s rays. With several color bases that range from a light Chalk to a dark Coal, Squid can be used alone or enhanced with eco-solvent or UV-curable print. In November, we announced that the Chalk version of Squid is now available for Latex printers.

Fredrix Metallic Canvas in Pearl and Gold. Maybe you didn’t think you needed a metallic-based canvas product, but now that it’s here, we don’t think there’s any going back. Before Fredrix dreamed up these dreamy canvases, the only option for creating a metallic gallery wrap was to use a wallcovering product, with dubious effect when wrapping it around those stretcher bars. Today, we’ve got Fredrix Metallic Pearl, which provides a glamorous, iridescent base that puts print jobs like bridal portraits in a whole new stratosphere. The Fredrix Metallic Gold is a showy option that looks amazing with rich, black inks. It also took the 2019 SGIA Product of the Year for Media – Textile – Canvas.

Dye-sub Fisher Textiles in Wide-Format Sizes. With the introduction of wide-format width dye-sub printers hitting the market from the likes of Epson and HP, the industry was in need of some quality dye-sub fabrics in the right widths. Until we partnered with Fisher Textiles, there weren’t many options. We brought right-sized rolls to the industry for a variety of applications, such as flags, soft signage, table skirts, drapery, banners, backdrops and much more.

New Sunset SUV Fine Art for Large Runs. As the preferred printer technologies in the market begin to shift to eco-solvent, we’re finding a bigger need for traditionally aqueous-based media to be re-formulated. Where better to start than with the fine-art segment? We introduced Sunset SUV Fine Art Paper 210g for high-volume art and photography reproductions at a cost-conscious price. For customers loyal to aqueous inks, we also launched Sunset Hot Press Smooth Bright White and Sunset Cold Press Textured Bright White papers to give them another budget-friendly, high-quality option.

High-Tack HP Grip Matte for Stickier Situations. All year we’ve seen the relatively new HP Adhesive Vinyl portfolio of products become customer favorites. Yet, the line was missing a high-tack option that could be used on hard-to-stick-to surfaces, such as trash cans and other low-energy plastics. So we brought on HP Grip Polymeric Air with its aggressive, high-tack clear adhesive, which works on rough surfaces as well as low-energy, while providing an easy, bubble-free installation.

Do you have any product favorites from 2019? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know what other solutions you’ve been looking for.