Integrating White Ink: PSP
Short-run solution, long-term benefits.
Based in Decatur, Georgia, PSP (simply-reliable.com) specializes in P-O-P for retailers, convenience stores, grocery chains, and quick serve restaurants.
“Most of the work we do is temporary or promotional graphics,” explains Robbie McDaniel, president of the company. “It might be for a store opening, a promotional event, or a three-day sales special.”
A good share of that work is produced digitally on HP large- and grand-format printers. When PSP launched 10 years ago, though, it had a single one-color screen press. As the business and its screen capabilities grew, its evolving customer needs had McDaniel weighing the addition of digital capabilities by 2004.
At the time, some larger clients began expressing interest in producing prototype P-O-P and limited test runs before placing a large print order. “We realized we had to provide them a short-run solution,” recalls McDaniel.
Demand surpassed expectations. Within two weeks after installing a 54-inch Roland SolJet printer, the unit was running two shifts. “We started to understand the market for digital printing, and our customers began to see the benefits of digitizing their work,” he says. A few months later, McDaniel stepped up production and his company’s options with the addition of an Inca Spyder flatbed.
McDaniel eventually encountered one limitation to his then-current digital-printing capabilities: He had no equipment with the ability to print with white ink. So, his solution was a workaround – when a digital project required white, he would apply white on the screen press, then ran the material through the digital press for color.
“That’s not a cost-effective solution,” he notes. “There were times we’d have to interrupt a 2000-sheet run on our in-line screen press just to print 20 sheets with white for a short-run job.”
Although he was aware of emerging options in white ink on the digital side, he wasn’t impressed with what he saw or heard. “We were talking to people and shops with those capabilities, listening to the problems they were having,” he says. “But, for us, the quality wasn’t yet good enough, the opacity wasn’t there. I needed something you just turn on and print with white ink, whenever you’re ready.”
Last year, however, McDaniel saw promise in the Hewlett-Packard Scitex FB700, and brought that machine in-house. The shop has since added HP’s FB6100 and a TurboJet 8500 UV.
Now, PSP uses white ink when printing colored graphics on various colors of PVC, clear vinyl, Gatorboard, styrene, and foam board. “Window graphics are our biggest use of white by far; you must have that base coat of white,” he adds. “We do a lot of work on ClingZ, a static-charged material that cannot be screen printed.”
The addition of white-ink capabilities has helped make PSP a full-line, one-stop supplier of P-O-P solutions. “I don’t think our customers care what kind of equipment or technology we use as long as we can give them what they want, the quality they expect and a decent price,” he says.
For more on white ink's possibilities, check out these shop profiles: