AJJ Enterprises Uses EFI Pro 30f Printer to Decorate Pre-Assembled Cornhole Boards

With so many UV-LED wide-format inkjet printer models on the market, it is becoming easier for companies to find a model that matches specific production requirements. For example, this case study about a user of the EFI Pro 30f printer shows that some buyers choose UV-LED flatbed printers in order to decorate manufactured products.

AJJ Enterprises Installs Second Flatbed

AJJ Enterprises is an online seller of custom-decorated cornhole game boards. Visitors to the AJJ Cornhole website can order pre-decorated boards or wraps in dozens of themes or styles, including weddings, military, patriotic, state flags, or NCAA-licensed sports team logos. Buyers can even have themed cornhole sets personalized with their names.

AJJ Enterprises in Cincinnati installed their second EFI™ Pro 30f flatbed UV-LED inkjet printer in June.

Because the EFI Pro 30f flatbed printer is engineered to accomodate materials up to 4 inches thick, AJJ Enterpises can print directly to pre-assembled cornhole boards. This saves considerable time, labor, and production costs.

With the pair of Pro 30f printers, AJJ Enterprises has achieved roughly a seven-fold increase in throughput compared with the roll-to-roll vinyl and UV inkjet flatbed printers the company used previously.

Cornhole (aka beanbag toss) is a popular game for summer picnics and backyard barbecues. To meet the inceased consumer demand for cornhole boards this summer, Cincinnati-based AJJ Enterprises installed a second EFI Pro 30f flatbed printer.

“EFI’s engineers worked really closely with us because we have such a unique application,” explained AJJ Enterprises co-owner Shane Back. Because AJJ Enterprises constantly prints at maximum thickness, EFI worked with the company to adjust the printer’s UV LED curing lamps and ensure consistent, high-quality output.

The first model AJJ Enterprises used was a beta version. “On the beta printer, we changed our jig to hold the boards on the table,” said Back. “We also made some structural changes that are now standard on all Pro 30f machines.”

This simplified, fast production the Pro 30f delivers is imperative for the company, which has seen an unprecedented increase in demand for its products. While a portion of the company’s sales come from the struggling promotional corporate sector, the other half of the business – direct-to-consumer ecommerce retail through the AJJcornole.com website – is booming.

“With everyone at home due to COVID-19, it’s really driven our direct-to-consumer market,” Back said. This demand drove the need for the second Pro 30f.

AJJ Enterprises says the ability to print white ink direct to its birch cornhole boards has been a game changer.

“Being able to print white at a high speed has been a huge help,” said Back. “It’s been a huge cost savings. Because of the white ink, we can move jobs that we would have first printed on vinyl and then transferred to the substrate.”

The printer’s six-zone, user-selectable vacuum system ensures efficient hold-down, no unintended media movement, and easy transitions between jobs, which is conducive to AJJ Enterprises’ high volume of work.

“What sets us apart from competitors is the wide breadth of designs that we have and the fact that we can print so quickly,” said Back.

“With the Pro 30f,” he added, “we can print a cornhole board in a minute and 40 seconds.” That translates to a significant increase in work completed per shift compared with the company’s previous process printing on vinyl and mounting those vinyl sheets to each cornhole board.

The EFI Fiery® proServer Core digital front end has also helped improve throughput and overall efficiency, providing simple job management for both new and existing designs. “Since we reprint a lot of the same designs, once we get the first print set up it’s an easy press-and-replay approach,” said Back. “Custom designs take a little bit of finesse, but it’s just a matter of testing, making any adjustments, and printing.”

About the EFI Pro 30f

According to EFI, the Pro 30f was designed for improved speed, quality and cost-savings for unique applications. It delivers customer-requested features such as a larger flatbed size, thicker media handling, wider application possibilities, and better price points.

The Pro 30f UV-LED flatbed printer has a maximum printable area of 120 inches x 80 inches (3.05 m x 2.04 m) with bleed printing. It features four colors plus dual channels of white standard, along with multi-layer printing. EFI’s white ink gives users the power to print superior color images on clear and colored media, as well as specialty media, such as wood, metal or glass. This short video shows the EFI Pro 30f in action:

The EFI Pro 30f was first shown at the FESPA Global Print Exo in May, 2019

About EFI

EFI™ (Electronics for Imaging, Inc.) is a global technology company, based in Silicon Valley. They develop breakthrough technologies for manufacturing signage, packaging, textiles, ceramic tiles, and personalized documents. EFI manufacturers a wide range of printers, inks, digital front ends. Plus, they develop business and production workflow software that transforms and streamlines the entire production process. (www.efi.com)

What Actions Are Groups Taking to Promote An Event Industry Rebound from COVID-19?

Graphics companies have been hit hard by the cancellation of events, trade shows, and conferences in 2020. Here are just three steps that event-industry thought leaders and organizations are taking to encourage an event-industry rebound.

Promoting the Economic Impact of Events to Legislators

The Go Live Together coalition is working to ensure that when the COVID-19 health crisis is over, the voices and concerns of the live event industry will be addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding. Coalition members come from exposition management companies, associations, convention and visitors’ bureaus, event venues, and exhibiting companies.

The coalition contends that events are a massive incubator for innoavtion and economic growth. Recovery funding will not only help the events industry, but the recovery of the economy as a whole.

Go Live Together members are using press releases and infographics to help local, state, and federal lawmakers understand the economic impact of the trade show and events industry. For example, here are some statistics published by Go Live Together.

The trade show and events industry:

  • contributes nearly $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy
  • employs 3 million workers,
  • pays $130 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

Source: Go Live Together Infographic: Business Events Industry Impacts from COVID 19

For more information, visit: https://www.golivetogether.com/

Planning a Three-Phase Comeback

In a post How and When Will the Events Industry Get Out of This?” event industry strategist Howard Givner compares the comeback from COVID-19 to the event-industry’s comeback from 9/11: “Those of us old enough to have been of working age during the aftermath of 9/11 will attest to the fact that nobody can point to a date or even a period of time when the events industry started to feel ‘fully recovered’ from its effects.”

Givner suggests that the event-industry recovery will occur in three phases:

1) Pure Virtual;
2) Local Events that meet state guidelines for gatherings; and
3) Full-Steam Ahead (with instant on-site testing).

“One good thing to come out of all this is we finally – FINALLY! – have the entire world’s attention on the importance of live events,” writes Givner. Now that live events have been removed from our lives, “Everyone is pining away to attend their next music festival, industry conference, strategy meeting or trade show, to experience all those great things that events offer.”

Gathering Opinions from Corporate Exhibit Managers

An article by Travis Stanton in the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine provides insight into when face-to-face marketing might resume.

Read the article about the impact on the Pandemic on the Trade Show Industry on page 50
in the digital edition of the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine.

In Exhibitor magazine surveys of corporate exhibit managers and trade-show suppliers:

  • 52 percent predicted the industry won’t return to normal until the second quarter of 2021
  • 13 percent said they don’t expect normalcy until 2022
  • 5 percent questioned whether trade shows will ever return to business as usual.

One director of event marketing quoted in Exhibitor article pointed out that even if event ROI is difficult to measure, businesses were able to see the overwhelming value lost by event cancellations in 2020.

The full white paper “EXHIBITOR Insight Report: COVID-19’s Impact on the Trade Show Industry is available at www.ExhibitorOnline.com/COVID19.

Agfa Oberon RTR3300 Roll-to-Roll UV LED Printer Handles Flexible Materials 3.3 Meters Wide

The Agfa Oberon RTR3300 is a 3.3 meter roll-to-roll printer that uses UV-LED-curable inks to print higher-volume runs of flexible materials, including: reinforced vinyl, pressure-sensitive vinyl, static-cling, clear films, block-out banner, canvas, mesh (with and without liners), non-stretchy fabrics, paper, backlit films, and more.

Like other Agfa large-format printing systems, the Oberon uses a matched-component approach that aligns the print engine, inks, media, workflow, and color-management software to ensure high-quality prints and a consistent and reliable production process.

“The Oberon RTR3300 excels in printing solids over the entire media width,” says early adopter Hennie van Osch of the TVE company in The Netherlands.

Single or Dual-Roll

The Oberon can print on single rolls of materials from 24 to 130 inches or two rolls of materials from 24 to 63 inches. Engineered for long-run roll-to-roll jobs, the Oberon RTR3300 can also be used for roll-to-sheet projects.

Four or Six Colors of Ink

The printer can be operated with either six colors of ink (CMYKLcLm) or in a 4 color (CMYK + White) configuration.

The four-color model prints white ink in several different multi-layer modes to achieve different effects. For example, printing a “pre-white” layer on clear film or colored substrates ensures that the layer of color printed on top of the white is accurate. The five modes include:

  • Pre-White prints white beneath a color.
  • Post-White prints white on top of a color
  • Sandwich White prints a white layer between two colors layers
  • High-Density Color prints double or triple layers of color for vivid backlit graphics
  • Blockout White prints three color layers with white layers in between

The Oberon uses Agfa-made Anunvia inks, which have earned GREENGUARD GOLD certification. This means the inks meet some of the world’s most rigorous chemical emissions standards and can be used to print graphics that will be displayed in schools or heathcare facilities.

The inks dry instantly because they are immediately cured with UV-LED lamps. LED lamps don’t generate a lot of heat, so they can be used to print heat-sensitive materials (such as vinyls) without causing them to soften and stretch.

Agfa’s patented “Thin Ink Layer” technology creates eye-catching, color-vibrant prints with a low level of ink consumption per square meter. This not only reduces operating costs, but also ensure stable jetting without printhead clogs. The thin-ink-layer technology combines Agfa’s expertise in ink manufacturing and color-management software development.

Asanti Sign and Display Production Hub

Agfa’s Asanti software helps automate the workflows of sign and display companies that use Agfa printers. The Asanti dashboard provides operators with details about the status of the printer and print jobs, while ‘media recipes’ control color quality and other parameters for jobs that will be produced on a specific substrate. The smart-imaging algrorithms in Asanti help limit ink consumption.

Asanti software integrates seamlessly with Asanti StoreFront online-ordering software and PrintSphere data-exchange solution.

Customer Support

Agfa is committed to serving as a facilitator and counselor for its customers.

“Our customers can count on us to improve the balance of their business,” says Tom Vermeulen, Head of Sign & Display at Agfa. “We do not just sell printers, ink, and workflow software, we accompany print-service providers on their journey, by working out a growth path together. Our sales, application and support teams think along with printing companies. We help them identify their needs — and the needs of their customers — and the best possible way to answer them.”

Customer support can include hands-on applications support or in-depth, technology-independent advice on color consistency and overall process control. Print-service providers may also request a meticulous analysis of their business strategy.

For more information about the Oberon RTR3000, visit: www.agfa.com/printing/products/oberon-rtr3300/

About Agfa

Agfa develops, produces, and distributes an extensive range of imaging systems and workflow solutions for the printing industry, the health care sector, and specific high-tech industries such as printed electronics and renewable energy solutions. Visit: www.agfa.com

Agfa announced the Oberon RTR3300 on February 27, 2020

Roland IU-1000F UV-LED Flatbed Holds Thin, Thick, or Heavy Sign and Display Boards

The Roland IU-1000F UV-LED flatbed printer is designed for fast, efficient printing on a variety of substrates, including 4 ft. x 8 ft. rigid boards weighing up to 99 pounds. Created for sign and display professionals, the IU-1000F can print vibrant, detailed graphics directly onto thin or thick boards, including PETG, PVC board, foam board, wood, corrugated board, aluminum plate, and more.

It can also print directly onto sheets of leather, fabric, or canvas for custom decor or creative displays. Users can also print graphics onto tabletops, plywood, MDF, and other boards to create decorated furniture.

Roland IU-1000F can print materials up to 98.4 in. x 51.1 in.

With its heavy-duty flatbed chassis and vacuum bed, the IU-1000F was designed to handle heavy metal and wooden materials with ease.

Printheads and Inks

The printer uses 12 printheads in staggered three-row arrangement. To accommodate thicker materials, the printheads can be raised four inches above the heavy-duty flatbed chassis and vacuum bed.

Each printhead has a 1,280 nozzles along with banding and mottling prevention features that support high-resolution images up to 635 x 1800 dpi.

The IU-1000F uses high-density CYMYK, Gloss, and White inks that are GREENGAURD Gold certified for safe use in a variety of indoor environments, including healthcare facilities and schools.

The white ink is ideal for printing true-color graphics on clear or colored surfaces. Users can also use the gloss and white inks to create textural and dimensional effects on the surface of the print.

An optional primer ink can be applied to promote the ink’s adhesion to materials such as as acrylic, glass, and ceramics.

Other Features

The IUF-1000F offers multiple speed and performance options, including:

  • Media ionizer to ensure ink-firing accuracy on that generate a lot of static (such as corrugated board);
  • State-of-the-art UV-LED curing lamps save energy and extend lamp life;
  • Variable zone vacuum can be applied to four different sections of the flatbed, to maximize hold where it’s needed most;
  • Media alignment pins ensure consistent placement of multiple boards and double-sided panels;
  • Premium RIP software for tiling, scaling, cropping, and other functions;
  • Roland Print Control Center for easy management of machine’s movements, speeds, voltage, and head cleaning;
  • One-touch, automated daily printhead cleaning;
  • The ability to print on one board or multiple boards at the same time;
  • Two-Year Trouble-Free Warranty

The prnter can average about 35 4 ft. x 8 ft. rigid boards per hour in “Draft Mode, 15 boards per hour in “Standard” print mode, and about 10 boards in near-photographic “Quality” mode.

Roland DGA Corporation In Irvine, California provides marketing, sales, distribution, and service in North America for Roland DG Corporation of Hamamatsu, Japan. Roland DG’s inkjet printers, print/cutters and cutting machines are widely used to create promotional items such as banners, signs, vehicle graphics, stickers, and labels. The devices are also used to provide customization services for apparel and promotional and personal products such as smartphone cases.

For more information about Roland IU-1000F large-format UV-LED flatbed printer, visit: rolanddga.com/iu-1000f. For more information about Roland DGA and the complete Roland product line, visit: rolanddga.com

Roland DGA announced this printer on October 22, 2019

Canon ProStream 1800 Inkjet Press Balances Productivity, Quality, and Media Versatility for Higher-Volume Printing

The Canon ProStream 1800 continuous-feed inkjet press from Canon Solutions America can can help commercial printers boost production levels, reduce turnaround times, and increase profit margins on applications such as premium and high-volume direct mail, books, catalogs, and magazines. The press strikes a balance between high productivity, superior print quality, flexibility, and media versatility.

Canon ProStream 1800
Canon PROStream 1800 production inkjet press (Photo: Canon Solutions America)

Operating at speeds of up to 436 sq. ft./hr., The ProStream 1800 can produce up to 114,245 letter images or 11,300 B2 sheets per hour while maintaining high print quality. These speeds are 66% faster than Canon’s ProStream 1000 model which was introduced in 2017. The high-performance ProStream 1800 allows print service providers to migrate some higher volume jobs from offset printing presses to digital inkjet printing.

Features

Media Versatility: The ProStream 1800 can achieve high levels of print quality on a broad range of media, including standard offset coated, uncoated, and inkjet-optimized papers from 40 gsm to 300 gsm. Because the press can print documents up to 22 inches wide and 60 inches long, the ProStream 1800 can print calendars, posters, and point-of-sale signs with ease.

To ensure seamless changeovers between jobs, operators don’t need to strop production to switch between diffferent format lengths.

Inks and Printhead: The ProStream 1800 uses 1200 dpi piezo drop-on-demand printheads and proprietary polymer pigment inks with Canon ColorGrip conditioning fluid to ensure color consistency.

Air Floatation Drying System: To effectively print on a wide-range of paper without compromising the high standards of the finished output, the ProStream 1800 features a air floatation drying system. By not coming into contact with the paper, the system preserves the paper surface and gloss. Artificial intelligence linked to a sensor continuously makes adjustments to the drying system during the print run to ensure quality. It also maintains the optimal web temperature to minimize energy consumption.

Optional Inline Quality Control: A high-performance camera system automatically monitors print quality as the paper moves through the press, enabling press operators to focus more time on actions other than quality assurance.

Owners of ProStream 1000 Press Can Upgrade

The first model in the ProStream line, the Canon ProStream 1000, was installed in November, 2017. Since then, over 2 billion pages have been output on 30 ProStream 1000 presses worldwide. Current users of the Canon ProStream 1000 press can upgrade to the ProStream 1800 if they need more capacity to do higher volumes of jobs that require digital printing.

“At Canon Solutions America, we share our customers’ passion for print and understand that as their businesses must adapt to changing market requirements, our technology needs to evolve, too,” said Francis McMahon, Executive Vice President, Production Print Solutions, Canon Solutions America, Inc. “With the launch of the new ProStream 1800, we can support customers who are looking to grow their production volumes without compromising quality or speed.”

See the new Canon ProStream 1800 in action at Canon’s Customer Innovation Center in Boca Raton, Florida or by requesting a virtual demonstration. Call Canon Solutions America at 877-623-4969 for more information.

Press was announced by Canon Solutions America July 15, 2020

Functional Ink Innovator Develops Anti-Microbial Face Mask for General Use

Liquid X, a manufacturer of functional metallic inks for e-textiles, is using their proprietary, OEKO-TEX certified particle-free silver ink to create the ComforTeX line of washable, reusable, and comfortable face masks. Designed for general use, the anti-microbial face masks remove over 95% of the tiny droplets and particles suspended in the air (aerosols).

Each mask includes a pocket for the SecruiTeX filter insert which features an antimicrobial coating for extra protection against micrororganisms. The coating is produced with Liquid X metallic inks that have inherent antimicrobial properties.

Over the past year, Liquid X has been using their inks to develop smart textiles for the automotive, aviation, and medical industries. Because the the company’s metallic inks use silver, zinc, and copper metals that have inherent anti-microbial properties, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Liquid X to begin offering non-conductive textiles that would help limit the spread of the virus. The Liquid X particle inks conformally coat the textile to keep pathogens from growing on the fabric.

A scanning electronic microscope (SEM) captured this 250X magnification of a woven polyester fabric coated with Liquid X’s particle-free ink. The ink uniformly coats each thread, creating smooth, flexible textiles that offer conductive properties or inhibit the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms.

“Typically our inks functionalize a textile to create an electronic device that can bend and flex in ways that traditional electronic devices cannot,” explains Beth Vasy, vice president of operations at Liquid X. “We can also use derivatives of our ink formulations to create low-cost, even transparent, anti-microbial coatings for high-touch surfaces, medical gowns, hospital curtains, automotive upholstery, and more.”

OEKO-TEX-Certification

In June, Liquid X received the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification for their silver ink. The world-renowned OEKO-TEX label lets consumers know that non-woven polyester textiles treated with the ink have been tested to be free of carcinogens and heavy metals and are safe for contact with skin. Liquid X earned the strictest, baby-safe rating.

“With the new OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification, our inks can now enable wearable applications that require contact with skin and the ability to withstand sweat and/or saliva,” said Bill Babe, sales and marketing manager at Liquid X. For example, medical-device manufacturers can use the ink to design wearable electronics for health and wellness monitoring.

During the pandemic, “We initially started making masks and antimicrobial filter inserts for our employees, friends, and familes as a way to provide an increased level of protection,” says Vasy. The feedback about the breathability and comfort of the masks was overwhelmingly positive, so Liquid X decided to offer the masks to the public: “We want to provide a way for people to protect themselves when the other person isn’t wearing a mask.”

Liquid X CEO Greg Babe wears the ComforTeX face mask.

Adult-size masks costs $5.99 and come with one anti-microbial insert. A 10-pack of additional inserts can be purchased for $10.99. Visit: https://liquid-x-printed-metals-inc.myshopify.com

The antimicrobial insert should be removed before the mask is washed. A replacement insert should be used after every three washes of the mask. The mask can be washed up to 10 times.

About Liquid X

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Liquid X is an advanced material manufacturer that can take an application for functional metallic inks from prorotype to production. Liquid X partners with manufacturers within the electronics industry to develop and print functional components such as sensors, heating elements, and smart textiles. They use additive manufactuing techniques to take an application from concept to commercialization. Visit: http://www.liquid-x.com

SpeedPro’s Smart Signage Technology Connects Printed Graphics to Digital Content

Over the years, printer manufacturers have demonstrated various methods of connecting printed graphics with updatable content on a smartphone. The goal is to create “smart signage” that integrates printed materials into measurable, multi-channel communications programs.

Recently, SpeedPro introduced a smart-signage solution called InfoLnkx. It takes advantage of the fact millions of consumers now carry smartphones that can automatically read tags programmed for NFC (near-field communications). This means consumers don’t have to download an app or use a camera to scan a QR code to open the connection from the printed piece to the online content.

SpeedPro is a network of more than 170 studios in the U.S. and Canada that provides a variety of printed products, including large-format graphics. SpeedPro studios can use InfoLnkx to help buyers of graphics for stores, restaurants, stadiums, and events improve the customer experience.

For example, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Restaurant Group is using InfoLnkx technology to eliminate the need for customers to touch menus. When restaurant visitors put their smartphones near a tabletop sign, they can read the menu on their phone screens. The restaurant can update to digital content to show daily specials or suggest alternatives to beers or other menu items that are temporarily unavailable.

The Denver-based Breckenridge Wynkoop Restaurant Group used InfoLnkx technology in Wynkoop Brewing and both locations of Cherry Cricket restaurant. (Photo: SpeedPro)

“Signage is playing a bigger and more critical role in our restaurants than it ever has before. It’s involved in almost every aspect of the new guest experience and is helping to guide our teams and guests on how to navigate this new normal,” says Alex Bunn, Director of Marketing for the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Group. “Touchless menus create safer dining out experiences for us all.”

How It Works

InfoLnkx uses programmable NFC tags applied to printed graphics. When sign viewers place their smartphones near a designated portion of the graphic, they will immediately see the on-screen messaging. The NFC tags can connect viewers to whatever type of digital messaging the client wants to provide, including audio or video files.

The graphics could be posted in a variety of locations, including posters in high-traffic entryway or on graphics applied to tables, stadium seats, or elevator doors.

“We knew this touchless technology would change the customer experience,”said SpeedPro CEO Larry Oberly. “We were developing it prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but expedited the launch of the technology in order to aid businesses that were re-opening and seeking innovative ways meet new public health requirements.”

A Versatile Solution

SpeedPro studio owners are working with their clients to explore other ways to use the technology, such as reducing long lines at stadium concession stands by enabling in-seat ordering or helping non-profit agencies connect people with disabilities to online communities.

Museum visitors concerned about touching an interactive digital kiosk that has been repeatedly touched by other people could scan InfoLnkx-enabled posters to get wayfinding or exhibit information delivered to their smartphones.

Focused Innovation

While print-service providers routinely research innovative materials and applications, most smaller print shops don’t have the time or staff to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of implementing different options for smart-signage technology.

SpeedPro’s corporate group worked with the EdgeDweller business-growth consultancy to develop and build a system that all SpeedPro studios could use.

Lauren Ziegler, who owns SpeedPro Innovations in Reading, Pennsylvania, helped source NFC chips that would work with typical large-format graphics applications. She says InfoLnkx technology is easy to implement once you learn how to interact with the tags.

For More Information

Click this link to visit a landing page about InfoLnkx: SpeedPro Website: Smart Signage

This link takes you to an article on the Wide-Format Impressions website: SpeedPro Smart Signage Technology Helps Restaurants Improve Customer Safety and Experience

See how the technology works by watching this YouTube video: SpeedPro Smart Signage | Near Field Communication (NFC) | InfoLnkx

Roland TrueVis-VF2-640 Eco-Solvent Printer Has Wider Color Gamut for More Spot Colors

The Roland TrueVIS™ VF2-640 is an 8-color, 64-inch wide-format eco-solvent inkjet printer built to print color-accurate signs, vehicle graphics, labels, decals, and heat-transfer apparel. The first “print-only” model in Roland’s DG’s TrueVIS series of devices that use eco-solvent inks, the VF2-640 inherits many features from Roland’s TrueVIS VG2 series of printer/cutters.

“The VF2 is an unbeatable machine for those who prefer a ‘print-then-cut’ workflow,” explains Daniel Valade, Roland DGA Product Manager of Digital Print. “It offers incredible color and quality across a variety of media substrates, plus the productivity and legendary Roland DG reliability needed in the most demanding print environments.”

With the orange and green inks on the TrueVIS VF2-640, print-service providers can expand both their wide-format color gamut printing capabilities and product offerings. (Photo: Roland DGA)

The VF2 can be seamlessly paired with Roland DG’s GR-640 large-format cutter, or a Roland DG Pro series cutter, for the high-productivity, precision cutting of decals, labels, heat transfers, and other print and cut applications. Print/cut data can be automatically processed by the included VersaWorks® 6 RIP software, for maximum production efficiency.

Inks for Wider Color Gamuts and More Spot Colors

Orange and Green Inks: The VF2 comes with a new TR2 Green ink. Combining the new green ink with the previous orange ink and CMYK inks makes it possible to achieve challenging hues of purples and reds.

A new True Rich Color 2 Preset maximizes the wide-gamut potential of the TrueVIS VF2-640. It enables users to combine vibrant colors with neutral grays, smooth gradations, and natural skin tones to produce vivid, photorealistic output.

The expansion of Green colors in the True Rich Color 2 preset makes it possible to produce more process colors. To enhance color matching and reproduction, a Green Roland DG Color System Library includes 142 newly available spot colors.

The multi-process color function on the VF2-640 makes it possible use the Orange and Green inks as process colors.

Because print-service providers specialize in different types of advertising, decor, or photographic art prints, the VF2-640 can be configured to run different combinations of ink colors, including:

  • Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Black, Orange, Green and White
  • Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Light Black, and White
  • Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Light Black, and Orange

The machine can also run with 7 colors (without the white) or with two 4-color sets of ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black).

Because the TR2 inks are UL GREENGUARD Gold certified for low chemical emissions, the inks can be used to produce indoor wall graphics that won’t adversely affecting the building’s indoor air quality.

Other Features

Performance Warranties: Many buyers of outdoor signage and vehicle wraps want assurance that the graphics will last for several years. Graphics printed with TR2 inks on select 3M media qualify for the 3M™ MCS™ Warranty and graphics produced with selected Avery materials can be provided with the Avery Dennison™ ICS Performance Guarantee.

Four FlexFire™ Piezo Printheads provide vibrant colors and outstanding detail, even in high-speed modes.

TU4 Media Take-up Reel offers two modes to handle everything from thin films to heavy canvas materials. The improved stability of media take-up improves the efficiency and accuracy of post-print processes such as cutting or laminating.

Newly Designed Pinch Roller System simplifies media loading and improves tracking accuracy.

Roland DG Mobile 2 app lets you test-print, clean and troubleshoot your printer from your tablet or smartphone.

Two-Year Trouble-Free Warranty with customer service and support from Roland DGA.

To learn more about the new TrueVIS VF2-640 wide-format printer, visit www.rolanddga.com/vf2. For more information on the complete Roland DGA product line, visit www.rolanddga.com.

The Roland TrueVIS VF2-640 printer was announced June 11, 2020.

Agfa to Host Virtual Event about Offset Printing Technologies June 18-26

Agfa has announced Studio 4D48, a six-session virtual event that will coincide with the original June dates for the drupa 2020 international print technology exposition. From June 18 to June 26, Agfa will conduct sessions that can help printing companies worldwide navigate current business challenges and plan for the future.

The targeted educational webinars will discuss market and technology trends and how printing companies can benefit from Agfa’s latest made-to-measure printing innovations for the offset printing industry. These include printing plates, hardware, and a range of workflow, color management, print standardization and screening software. All of them underpin Agfa’s ECO³ approach, aimed at making print operations more economical, ecological and extra convenient.

“4D48 would have been our booth number at drupa,” says Guy Desmet, Head of Marketing for Agfa’s business division Offset Solutions. “Drupa and other trade shows may have been postponed or even cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but our commitment to the printing industry stands strong. We want to inspire and engage printing companies. In Studio 4D48, our experts will give them an update on our offering, and how it can move their businesses forward in a cost-effective way.”

Six webinars will be conducted twice a day, focusing on specific market segments, such as commercial heatset and sheet-fed printing, offset packaging, and newspaper print production. Common threads will include various kinds of automation, efficiency increases, and cost reductions.

All webinars will be streamed in English from Agfa’s headquarters in Belgium. Each webinar will last between 30 and 45 minutes each.

To see the full list of Studio 4D48 sessions and to register, visit www.studio4d48.com. Links to the recordings will be made available at the conclusion of the event.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the drupa printing equipment exhibition originally scheduled for June 16-26, 2020 in Dusseldorf, Germany was rescheduled for April 20-30, 2021.

How OOH Agencies Aided Local Communities During COVID-19 Crisis

When COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates reduced the number of commuters, travelers, and event-goers exposed to out-of-home messages in urban centers, OOH agencies quickly adapted. They posted public health messages, supported small businesses, and thanked the frontline heroes in hospitals. They also provided data and insights to help brands understand some of the changes in audience movements and behaviors. Here are a few examples:

Amplifying the Ad Council’s COVID-19 Messaging

In March, the Ad Council, White House, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened OOH industry leaders to bring critical COVID-19 safety messaging to the American public.

By donating ad space on premium out-of-home advertising billboards, kiosks, and car tops, the OOH industry helped amplify the important Ad Council messages that were also being broadcast on TV and promoted through social media.

OAAA (Out-of-Home Advertising Association of America) published a landing page from which members downloaded the Ad Council’s creative assets for COVID-19 campaigns. While each OOH company provided customized support, all Ad Council’s creative assets were designed to drive audiences to www.coronavirus.gov, the centralized information resource from HHS and the CDC.

The Out-of-Home Division of Circle Graphics donated printing and placement services to get the Ad Council’s creative assets in markets that have limited availability of digital OOH signs.

“The American public looks to the Ad Council in times of crises, and Circle Graphics hopes getting printed materials strategically placed by our partners Clear Channel, Lamar Advertising, Outfront and others extends the reach of these life-saving messages,” said Rod Rackley, president of Out of Home at Circle Graphics.

Clear Channel Outdoor created OOH “stay-at-home” content for the #AloneTogether social distancing campaign and featured it on digital billboards across their entire network. (Photo: Ad Council)

“Out of home has historically played an essential role in informing our communities and residents on how to stay safe during times of uncertainty and crisis,” said Scott Wells, Chief Executive Officers, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.

Other OOH companies that supported Ad Council messaging included Firefly, Intersection, Lightbox, Octopus Interactive, and ReachTV.

Firefly supported COVID-19 work across their platform on digital screens topping ride-share vehicles and taxis in major markets.

Intersection ran the creative on their assets in New York City and worked with the Ad Council to launch multiple distribution efforts nationally.

The Lightbox OOH video network ran public service announcements across their video screens in malls across the U.S.

Octopus Interactive activated its nationwide network of digital displays inside ride-share vehicles to deliver the Ad Council campaign’s ads to passengers.

ReachTV launched the Ad Council’s COVID-19 public service announcements on TVs in 90 different airports and posted videos on the ReachTV Celebrity Fan pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Uber activated its cartop OOH ad space technology to bring the campaign’s messaging to multiple markets across the U.S.

“We’re incredibly grateful to all of our extraordinary out-of-home partners who are ensuring that these critical messages are being seen by the American people,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council.

Using Vehicle Advertising to Support Gig Workers

Wrapify is a fast-growing OOH company that enables gig-economy workers to earn extra money by displaying ad messages on cars they drive for ride-share and delivery services such as Uber, Lyft, GrubHub, and Postmates.

The “Delivery Drives Relief” vehicle wraps featured space for the logos of 10 local restaurants or other businesses. Campaign profits went directly into the pockets of participating delivery drivers. (Photo: Wrapify)

On March 24, Wrapify announced an 8-week “Delivery Drives Relief” campaign to help gig economy workers who transitioned from driving passengers to delivering meals, groceries, and supplies to millions of home-bound workers and their families. While ride-share use dropped as much as 70% during the COVID-19 shutdown, drivers hoped to replace some of that income by making deliveries for restaurants and other local businesses.

The wrap graphics Wrapify designed for brand partners encouraged people to “Flatten the Curve: Get It Delivered.” The campaign was conducted on 1,900 gig-work/delivery vehicles in cities in which restaurants were hit hard by the COVID-19, such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Savannah, Georgia.

Promoting Hyper-local OOH Advertising

Billups is an advertising technology company that uses data analytics to help OOH and DOOH advertisers plan and measure campaigns in a manner that meshes with digital advertising campaigns.

In April, they published research about how COVID-19 shutdowns had affected exposure to OOH campaigns. The study found that while airports, restaurants, hotels, malls, and other sites experienced significant decreases in foot traffic, essential businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and general merchandise stores were seeing higher numbers of visitors.

To enable brands to stay connected to their audiences, Billups recommended shifting OOH ads from traditional high-traffic sites such as highways and urban transit platforms to hyper-local OOH sites in neighborhoods.

For example, Billups suggested that brands place empathetic COVID-19 messaging on neighborhood street furniture or on signs near grocery-store entrances. They even proposed reaching consumers at home through printed door-hangers or advertising inserts with pizza, restaurant takeout, or Amazon delivery boxes.

Helping Local Businesses

Some OOH companies, such as do-it-outdoors promoted their ability post brand messages on mobile hand-washing stations or trucks used to deliver products to neighborhoods.

During the week of April 13th, they also ran three of their largest mobile billboard units along routes that passed every grocery store, healthcare clinic, hospital, and pharmacy in York, PA. The graphics featured eye-catching ‘Thank You’ messages targeted toward essential local grocery and healthcare workers.

Rachel Frock, the in-house graphic designer for do-it-outdoors, created the brightly colored graphics that emphasized “Not All Heroes Wear Capes.” (Photo: do-it-outdoors)

Orange Barrel Media and its sister company IKE Smart City donated airtime on their digital signage platforms to local businesses and non-profit groups in 18 major cities.

Small businesses and non-profits placed ads on Interactive street-level kiosks from IKE Smart City. The kiosks feature full-motion touchscreens that help city residents and visitors learn more about local attractions and businesses. Shown here is a kiosk in San Antonio, TX. (Photo: Orange Barrel Media/IKE Smart City)

“What would our cities be without the local and independent merchants and restaurants, arts organizations, and non-profits that define the culture of our communities? These organizations not only employ more than 50% of US workers, they enrich our lives and make our cities unique. We must support one another as we navigate the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Pete Scantland, CEO of Orange Barrel Media and IKE Smart City. “Our mission is to utilize our media platform to improve lives in cities, and we are committed to leveraging our assets to help those who are suffering during this time.”

Lessons Learned

As the COVID-19 crisis intensified in March, brands had to quickly shift their ad messaging to be more empathetic to consumers whose lives have been disrupted. OOH advertising companies demonstrated how quickly they could help brands pivot. They also showed how OOH advertising can be a measurable, real-world component to social-media and other other online marketing campaigns.

While many brands cancelled previously scheduled OOH campaigns for March and April, OOH companies encouraged them to plan ahead and reserve prime OOH space for the late summer and fall months as business gets back to normal.

Recommended Reading

The Importance of Brand Awareness During a Crisis.
This post on Medium explains why it’s important for companies to maintain brand awareness and trust during a crisis.

Hyperlocal is the New High Profile
In an OAAA Thought Leadership post, Jan Jeff of Billups notes that “The traditional experience of OOH has completely changed in our current situation. It is normally seen as something to be experienced concurrently, with billboards that reach many people simultaneously, and on a large scale. But, with the seclusion of audiences to their homes and neighborhoods, hyperlocal, which features types of OOH media like bus shelters, street furniture, transit, package inserts, kiosks, and more, all have a unique ability to reach audiences on a more personal level.”