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Question What Equipment Do I Need for This

Discussion in 'Product and Supplier Referrals' started by USAFS, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. USAFS

    USAFS New Member

    Feb 1, 2020
    I have been trying to figure out what equipment is needed to create Hazardous Material Placards. I have inquired with numerous sign shops as well as hazardous material placard producers, over the past several years. However I am still no closer to knowing what I need now, as the day I started searching.

    I have been distributing these hazmat placards for about 15 years now. Business has picked up substantially and I am able to afford some printing equipment. However I have no idea exactly what equipment is needed. The current hazardous material placard producers are keeping this a very tight trade secret, and no one else seems to know.

    The Hazardous Material Placards are printed on square cut adhesive vinyl, printed on one side, These measure 10.75" x 10.75" and are laminated. There are several designs, but most are one color, some are two.

    I have a small office and am looking for something that can handle about 2,500 placards at a time (per design). I am not sure how these placards are cut, and moreover how they are laminated. I assume I will need 3 machines - printer, cutter/trimmer, and a laminator? Is there a machine that can cut the process down a step or two?

    Any suggestions on what basic equipment I will need? Or any equipment in particular, like an exact make/model? Any help will be greatly appreciated. :)
  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    How do you know they are laminated ?? Can you actually peel a top layer off ?? At that quantity, I'd sooner think it was screen printed. Better job, less cost and faster. The ones that are 2 color...... is there a trap where the 2 colors meet ??
  3. USAFS

    USAFS New Member

    Feb 1, 2020
    Thank you Gino for the quick reply. When I say the placards are "laminated", that is to say these placards have a UV laminate protection on them, as they are used outdoors attached to trucks, etc. It seems to be a very thin layer, not thick enough to be peeled.

    An example of one of these placards (if I may) can be viewed at https://www.jjkeller.com/shop/Product/Dangerous-Placard-Worded

    These may very well be screen-printed, I haven't the slightest idea (hence my posting here).

    I am not sure if there is a trap where the 2 colors meet, as I don't know what a trap is. :(
  4. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    At 2500 a run I have to agree with Gino. I have been screen printing that type of work for many years from the size you are talking about to 4' x 4' road signs, PS vinyl, hard panel and mesh. Admittedly when large format printers became solvent printers the market changed somewhat but I imagine most large runs are still printed by someone like me smashing ink through a rag with a very big squeegee.
  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    All the information you need regarding materials is in the website you linked. As far as production there are several ways to go. Screen printing would be the go to for high quantity with designs that never change.
    You could also use a UV flatbed to print second surface on clear styrene. You would need a flatbed cutter or buy precut blanks and place in a jig.
    UV flatbeds are also capable of roll to roll printing for applications requiring vinyl. Depending on durability required you may or may not need a laminator.
    Final option would be to buy a wide format printer, laminator, and plotter then sell the decals or apply to blanks.

    Gotta ask yourself if you're up to the challenge of not only learning the software/hardware but the production end of it. Ain't as easy as it looks or some would have you believe. You WILL F up a ton of materials getting through the learning curve. Even after you learn the ins and outs the equipment will randomly decide to "eat" a job.
    Take lamination for example. Saying goes: Five hours to print five seconds to ruin the job. Fact.

    Quite honestly hook up with FireSprint(a merchant member here) and let them worry about production while you run the business and collect the checks.;)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

    Sep 3, 2018
    United Kingdom
    Screen printing is definitely the cheaper option but it’s still possible with a print and cut solution. Yes, you will also need a laminator.

    That is about 2.5 54” rolls worth which isn’t a huge run by any means but isn’t the smallest. I’d assume an entry level printer on a relatively low quality (these probably don’t need to look *perfect* would probably take anywhere between 3-5 hours a roll.

    if this is the only job you do, it’s probably going to be cheaper Just outsourcing these. Once you factor in the material, inks, printer, laminator, cutter, and any savings for broken printers etc you’ll be quite deep in. Would take a good few of these runs to get your ROI back I’d guess.

    Even then, it might still be cheaper to get these from a trade printer that can have them printed, packaged and delivered to your door without you having to spend thousands on equipment. I second the firesprint comment!
  7. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

    Jun 15, 2009
    Mesa, Arizona
    I would run that as 3 layer rowmark, and then adhesive back it. You can do it all with 1 machine (CO2 Laser) and it's damn near permanent.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

    Apr 26, 2016
    englishtown, nj
    am i the only one who would do it with gerber edge?

    where is fred?
  9. player

    player Major Contributor

    Apr 24, 2006
    This is probably where screen printing costs are way lower than digital. Edge most likely can't compete.
  10. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    I'm right here and you're correct that a Gerber Edge would be a great choice in terms of being able to produce more durable work than inkjet printers and handle smaller quantities of different designs. The Edge can also sit for months without being used with no cleaning or maintenance needed. On the other hand, the material costs are much higher, possibly putting the seller in the position of not being competitive.

    So if the jobs are many different designs or sizes, Edge printing works out as a good choice. But if it's 1,000's of the same thing, then screen printing becomes the better choice.

    What concerns me in this thread is the often heard motivation of the OP to take on production to increase profits and his or her apparent lack of knowledge and experience at production. Finding a good outsource(s) to handle that aspect of it may be the best thing for him or her to do.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. netsol

    netsol Very Active Member

    Apr 26, 2016
    englishtown, nj
    all true fred.
    the edge is great for short run & i never have to worry about printing something every day to preserve the heads
  12. Jburns

    Jburns Active Member

    Jan 19, 2009
    So are these "Placard/s" - like hard plastic? Or simply vinyl decals- graphics?
  13. FireSprint.com

    FireSprint.com Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing


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