Expanding Your Finishing Profitability, Part II
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Expanding Your Finishing Profitability, Part II

In part II, we continue examining some of the ideas for expanding upon your current offerings by knowing what the capabilities of your machine are and using your imagination.

By Hayden Kelley

With all the various changes in technology taking place, it is good to know some things to enhance your existing capabilities. By utilizing some of the ideas here as well as in part one of this two-part series, and generating ideas of your own and from your staff, you will be able to get a step or two ahead of the competition.

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  • Rigid Display with Image on Both Sides

    This project is appropriate for a number of different applications most notably in supermarkets and other retail environments. The only unique material that is required for this application is either a black or metallized backing film that is 100 percent opaque and about 10 mil thick (this is to ensure no light bleed-through which can distort your image). The use of a heat-activated adhesive is also recommended where available, as it will make finishing this project somewhat easier (a pressure-sensitive adhesive is also suitable, although slightly more difficult to work with). The use of a carrier board during the processing of this application is also recommended although it is not a requirement.

    How To:

    1.) Encapsulate your first image with your opaque backer on the bottom of your image and your clear film on the front.

    2.) Encapsulate your second image with your adhesive on the bottom and your clear film on the front of your image.

    3.) Trim both encapsulated images so that they are identical in size.

    4.) Peel the release liner of your adhesive back about 1” and tack it to the back of your second encapsulated image (you must be sure that the front edges of both prints match up exactly).

    5.) Process through your laminator

    This project is now complete and ready for display.

    Magnet-Receptive Displays
    A magnetic receptive display is a graphic or substrate that has been “metallized” to allow you to adhere and move all types of magnets on its surface. While there are a wide array of unique projects that can be put together when using magnetic materials, this project is one of the most popular, not to mention fairly easy to complete. A magnetic receptive display is perfectly suited for use in litigation graphic applications as well as for in/out boards, maps, game boards, message boards, etc.

    You will require a magnetic receptive “metallized” paper (there are products currently on the market that have been specifically engineered for this type of application), a rigid substrate, a laminating film (The use of a dry-erase film is recommended) and a mounting adhesive.

    How To:

    1.) Pre-coat your substrate with your selected adhesive (trim away excess adhesive).

    2.) Apply the magnetic receptive material to your pre-coated substrate (trim if necessary).

    3.) Encapsulate your image with an adhesive on the bottom and the laminating film on the top (trim away the excess film and adhesive).

    4.) Peel back the release liner on the back of your image about 1” and tack down the front end of your image to your substrate. Process through your laminator to mount your image.

    This project is now ready for your customer whom will be pleased.

    Floor Graphics
    The following finished product is ideal for counter top applications as well as for, as the name suggests, “floor graphics” applications. All that is required is a manufacturer recommended floor graphics laminating film and a ‘floor graphics’ adhesive.

    How To:

    1.) With your laminating film on the laminator’s top supply shaft and your adhesive on the bottom encapsulate your image.

    2.) Trim away the excess film and adhesive from your image, make sure to leave about ¼” of a sealed “lip” around the edges to protect the image from moisture.

    3.) Prior to applying your graphic be certain the surface to which the image will be applied is clean.

    4.) Using a squeegee smooth down the print

    5.) Following the application of your graphic, wax both the floor and print area for a uniform finish and texture.

    (There are, in fact, several different methods by which you can produce "floor graphics." The key is to be sure that you are using a UL approved adhesive and laminating film. For specific details regarding the application of your graphic it is strongly recommend that you consult your film vendor for further details.)

    Portable Displays
    Another fairly new product offering is the use of a portable banner stand. Currently there are a wide variety of stands available, including many that are adjustable and/or connectable. They are ideal for all sorts of applications, including POP and trade show displays, in-store design, museums, etc.

    Although the finishing process that you decide to use for this application will depend largely upon the type of stand that you are selling, it remains an excellent way to maximize the investment made in your laminator.

    Edge Wraps
    Edge wrapping is an excellent method of mounting your prints that will not only increase the life of the print, but also make it sturdy and more visually appealing. This method of finishing involves mounting a board that is slightly smaller than the print itself. The excess print is then wrapped around the edge of your substrate, eliminating the need for costly framing or edge finishing. All that’s required is the following: A rigid substrate (Gator Foam is recommended), a mounting adhesive (a heat-activated adhesive is recommended as it will make the application easier to complete). A vinyl (PVC) laminating film as the film must be flexible. Both heat-assist and/or pressure-sensitive films are appropriate for this type of application as long as they are vinyl.

    How To:

    1.) Ensure that your mounting board is slightly smaller than your print (on all four sides).

    2.) It is important that you apply the adhesive to your print first and not to your substrate. In order to simplify this, encapsulate your image with your selected vinyl laminating film on the top and your adhesive on the bottom.

    3.) Peel away the release liner from your adhesive and center your mounting board on the back of your print.

    4.) Process through your laminator (if working with a pressure-sensitive adhesive, ensure that the exposed adhesive around the periphery of your print does not bond with anything it is not meant to).

    5.) Cut away the corners of your image so that they do not overlap to the back of your substrate.

    6.) Fold one of the edges over the side and onto the back of your substrate and then process through your laminator

    7.) Repeat for all 4 corners.

    These ideas simply scratch the surface of the many unique and different options available to you and your customers. There are also many other unique applications out there; simply contact your film vendor and they should be able to point you in the right direction. Another idea is to have your staff come up with new ideas of their own. After all, this is how all of the above projects were first introduced, through the ingenuity of people at companies like yours.

    There is one final piece of advice. It is strongly recommend that both your finishing and sales staff meet with one another on a regular basis. During these meetings the two groups can exchange ideas and come up with new solutions. Your sales staff can tell your finishing department what your customers are looking for and your finishing department can come up with solutions to these demands. On the flipside, it is also important for your sales staff to be aware of the capabilities of your finishing department so that they can "up sell" your company’s finishing services. After all, you do not want to be a commodity provider, but a unique service provider that stands out from the crowd.

    Hayden Kelley is the General Manager of Drytac Canada headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. For comments and suggestions, he can be contacted by email at haydenkelley@drytac.com. You can visit Drytac's web site at www.drytac.com.

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