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.

Easy Variable Data Printing with HP Print & Cut + SAi Flexi

Looking for a quick way to use variable data in your next print project? When the Suncoast Jeep Festival asked us to create 500 numbered decals for their event, we opted for an easy software and print-and-cut solution to get the job done.

Each Jeep that entered the event needed to be tagged with a decal, and each needed its own number, which was to be displayed on the windshield. We chose HP Latex Print & Cut Solution, which comes with SAi FlexiPRINT RIP software that makes variable data printing a breeze. For the decals, we chose to print on HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP, which has a removable and repositionable adhesive.

In the video above, we provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on how to set up your design file for auto-serialization numbering, as well as marking cut-lines for kiss-cuts and perforations, to illustrate how fast and simple making these decals was.

Working in tandem with the HP Latex Print & Cut system, the Flexi RIP software creates a barcode during the printing process, and the cutter will read and recognize this barcode, and is then programmed to know the exact pattern to cut and perforate — no additional programming is needed when moving the print job to the cutter.

While we chose a simple number serialization project, the Flexi RIP software could be used to swap out photos, graphics, logos or anything else to create individual or personalized prints for labels, decals or whatever your customer can dream up!

LEARN MORE: Watch this video to see how we created cut lines in Adobe Illustrator:

For more information about working with variable data, give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538.