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Printer Options / High Intensity Reflective Signs

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Russell J. Bean, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    Hello,

    I'm looking for options for printers for printing on High Intensity (Parking Signs).
    Currently we have been screen printing them. We're trying to get more with the times and go digital. Ideally the minimum out door life span should be 7 years. Any and all methods would really help. One concern we have is about the fumes the machines may put out.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    What your budget for the printer? that will be your biggest decider for the printer type
    There are members here who sell equipment, contact them and see what they offer in your price range.

    I would go with a flatbed and then apply a UV lamination over the print
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    I guess the higher end of the range would be around $35,000, but I'm interested in learning about all printer options people use for this sort of application. Would also like to avoid lamination if possible. We have a Gerber Edge and do some smaller non-reflective signs with that but it does not print on the high intensity prismatic material.
     
  4. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Avery TrafficJet + Avery HIP will give you 7 Years+ Warranted but requires lamination. You won't get any digital process that will last that long unlaminated unless you went with a Summa DC series or Matan Thermal Resin Printer.

    Summa is Slow and Matan is very fast but 5x your budget.
     
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  5. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    We have a Summa DC4. But we generally use it for the standard white vinyl applications only. We have had E.G. Reflective at some point.
     
  6. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  7. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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  8. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Did they? That's kind of surprising. I always thought they went with Latex because of the market share. I always wondered why only the 360/365 was warranted, when they all use pretty much the same ink...our 3M rep told us it prints the exact same (560 is a bit different because of the 2 optomizer heads), but he expected they would all eventually be certified and covered under their MCS warranty.

    After all the hell I've had with the CP's in the past, I'll never get another. It prints great... and maybe we got a lemon, but one day every head just failed and multiple techs, including an engineer from Oki Japan came to diagnose why magically one day half the nozzles just died with no head strikes, and the onlything we got was buy 8 new heads for the discounted bulk price of $27,000, with no guarantee they'll last longer than a week since they cant diagnose why they failed. :rolleyes:Theres hundreds of forum posts about people who have 1-2 heads just randomly fail like all of ours did, and no solutions.

    So we moved to Latex and couldn't be happier. They have their own issues and downfalls... but for the most part I like them a lot better than our oki. So hopefully they continue to support Latex in their traffic division.
     
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  9. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    We print on 3M and Avery(our preferred choice) HIP all the time with our 365, 570, and FB750 with no issues. I just thought it was funny that 3M reps were saying that they are working on a solvent delivered screenprint ink (ala Avery) and will only be supporting the HP Latex through Grimco at a recent industry conference... When that'll happen who knows, but they are struggling to get wide adoption and municipalities to sign off on Latex as fully acceptable.
     
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  10. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    Yeah. Not sure how it is in USA but over here every municipality is different. One city will only accept 3M and screen print/cut graphics... One will only accept Avery... One will accept Avery with digital print, etc.

    We print temp signs and graphics signs on reflective... Everything needing to meet city specnwe still screen print or cut graphics. It's cheaper to screen/cut 80% of the time anyways. Not as convenient, but still cheaper.
     
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  11. Robert Gruner

    Robert Gruner Member

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    Mr. Bean,

    With regards to digitally printed Traffic Signs:

    Brief History - ARO thirty years ago, most ALL FHWA certified Highway and Street Traffic Signs were screen printed on 3M High Intensity Film. Since 3M was the only game in town for HIP film, 3M priced their product $6.00+ a square foot. Cities, Counties, and State DOT sign shops were typically mandated to screen print their traffic signs using extremely harsh inks that would last outdoors 7-10 years without fading. In the early 1990's, OSHA put the kibosh on many government screen printing operations due primarily to the carcinogens in the screen print inks; therefore, many users turned to cutting cast vinyl and applying the vinyl to 3M HIP in order to maintain the 7-10 year outdoor mandate. In early 2000, wideformat digital inkjet printers were introduced to the industry; however, the eco solvent inks would only last 3-5 years outdoors. The advent of digital printers coincided with 3M's patent for HIP expiring. Avery, Nikkalite, and Orafol quickly jumped into the market for traffic sign HIP products. The price per square foot for material lowered to around $2.00 a square foot. Even though material pricing had lowered significantly, DOT's still wanted 7-10 year outdoor performance.

    Technology advanced to the point where some manufacturers were willing to extend outdoor warranties on their HIP film when printed on their film with a specific ink and laminated with their clear overlam.

    Today, your options as follows:

    1. Avery TrafficJet - Consists of a Mutoh printer, printing an Avery proprietary ecosolvent ink on Avery HIP and laminated with Avery clear film. Warranty is up to 10 years.

    2. Grimco System - Consists of HP Latex 365 (only) printer, SAI/3M Traffic RIP software, printing standard HP latex ink on 3M HIP and laminated with 3M clear laminate. Warranty is up to 10 years.

    3. Orafol System - Consists of expensive Agfa Anapurna UV printer, AGFA RIP software, printing on Oralite HIP and laminated with Oralite clear laminate. Orafol is looking to add the HP Latex printer to their portfolio later this year. The goal is up to 10 years outdoor warranty.

    4, Nikkalite System - Consists of OKI ColorPainter, printing OKI eco-solvent ink on Nikkalie HIP and laminated with Nikkalite clear overlam. Warranty is expected to be same as their competition.

    2CT noted that he has learned from 3M reps that 3M is working on a Solvent (Eco-solvent) solution? That kind of surprises me as ALL solvent/ecosolvent inks require outgassing which means laminate typically cant be applied to printed substrates for about 24 hours. That would significantly slow down production.

    2CT also noted that "3M through (threw?) HP under the Bus at a recent conference and is jumping in bed with OKI ColorPainter series now." I assume the conference was ATSSA in Tampa, FL last month? That was not the impression I got from 3M?

    I would love to learm more fro 2CT if he/she would PM me?

    Bob
     
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  12. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    Thank you for all the information. This was a great help!!
     
  13. DTP2

    DTP2 New Member

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    10 years is not true as well as 24 hours outgassing. Avery Dennison is currently offering speeds up to 162 ft2/h, an industry leading warranty up to 15 years and laminating after 2 hours in combination with OL-1000 and anti-graffiti.
     
  14. Russell J. Bean

    Russell J. Bean Member

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    Quick update here. We had 2 employees retire. Due to declining health issues. We just plot vinyl onto high intensity blanks. Smaller egp signs 12x...... we use Oracal 651 clear. Print straight into the clear and apply it to the sign blanks.
     
  15. DTP2

    DTP2 New Member

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    Are we talking about permanent traffic signage here? Because I would love to see your daytime, nighttime and reflectivity numbers on this sandwich...
     
  16. BlueMoonATL

    BlueMoonATL Member

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    OKI has the M64s Nikkalite traffic printer which with Nikkalite laminate is warranted for 10 years outdoor. They are also releasing the 3M M64s Colorpainter Traffic Printer in January (it's in the final stages of testing now) which will print on DG3 and HIP and is MCS Warranted for 12 years outdoors when using the MCS recommended laminate and OKI 3M inkset. It has 2 heaters on the front and offers instant lamination, again all sanctioned by 3M's MCS. No spot colors needed like the EFI and Avery (Mutoh) Traffic Jet machines.
     
  17. BlueMoonATL

    BlueMoonATL Member

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    I would be interested in this also... in the US, regulated traffic signage couldn't be produced this way. Non-Regulated yes, but the refractive and reflectivity would be greatly affected.
     
  18. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

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    Oki Colorpainter and HP Latex would be my 2 options to consider.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  19. DTP2

    DTP2 New Member

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    Well, it actually can and is an approved method to use digital printing systems. Bu the combination mentioned in the post I was wondering about.
     
  20. DTP2

    DTP2 New Member

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    Out of curiosity, why those 2 systems? The HP system is not backed up by one, single manufacturer. For every issue, you need to talk to someone else. Also, the warranties for this system are quite complex and somewhat "thin". It almost seems like each color has it's own warranty. The same for the OKI. This is sold and serviced by one party and the other one sells the sheeting. What about in case something happens? Who is going to support you as claims can become quite big in the regulated traffic sign business?
     
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