By Olivia Cahoon
A variety of display options are available when it comes to digitally printed point of purchase (POP) signage. It is well suited for both temporary and permanent promotions, creating a versatile and cost-effective solution for customers and brands.
Over 60 Years of Printing
NGS Printing started in 1957 as a small silkscreen print shop in Schaumburg, IL. The company originally had five employees and offered small format screen printing, laminating, and die cutting in an 8,000 square foot workspace.
“It was all done through conventional methods with exposing screens using film and die cutting using steel rule dies,” shares Owen Scheppman, VP, NGS Printing. “Everything was manual and labor intensive.”
In the 1990s, NGS Printing outgrew its facility and relocated to a 24,000 square foot workspace in Elgin, IL. With 50 employees, the shop has since added 20,000 additional square feet and now offers wide format UV printing, digital screen making, multi-color screen printing, router cutting, digital die cutting, laminating, and kit packing services.
“We try to leverage technology to help lower our costs while keeping our quality a priority,” offers Scheppman. While the shop still offers screen printing, it slowly expanded its customer base by adding new print capabilities.
In the past decade, NGS Printing focused on investing in digital printing equipment and finding ways to bring it in house. “Focusing on efficiency helps us react to our customer needs faster and support small quantities as well as large orders,” says Scheppman.
Nearly a decade ago, digital printing complemented the shop’s screen printing services by handling smaller jobs. “Today, digital printing technology has changed so much that it is an ideal solution for more than short production runs and has really become a valid option for most applications,” adds Scheppman.
NGS Printing produces a variety of POP materials from aisle markers and counter cards to header graphics and shelf talkers.
“If the product is made of paper or plastic, we print it,” says Scheppman.
The shop is most competitive in the permanent display market where plastics are the primary focus. This includes all the different panels included in a fixture display—side panels, back panels, and header signs.
NGS Printing also makes general store graphics that include aisle markers and violators, banners, cabinet decals, channel shelf strips, floor graphics, hanging posters, magnetic graphics, outdoor yard signs, overlays, shelf headers, translites, and window clings and signage.
Currently, the shop’s digital equipment is responsible for nearly 65 percent of its POP work. According to Scheppman, the company sees a variety of work and screen printing still provides great value on large running jobs, including work with spot colors, special effects, white ink, or materials that are difficult to print to.
In 2018, NGS Printing installed the Fujifilm Inca Onset X and in 2014 the Fujifilm Acuity F. The shop is loyal to the Inca/Fujifilm brand since purchasing its first digital press in 2007 with the Inca Spyder. “There is some value in staying loyal to a brand as you know more history and have less service contacts and considerations to worry about,” explains Scheppman.
The Inca Onset X is the third Onset model NGS Printing has installed. The shop continues to upgrade to keep up with technology advancements.
When it first started with the Onset S20, NGS Printing produced 20 to 40 sheets per hour. With the Onset Q40, Scheppman says the quality improved significantly and the machine’s output increased about 50 percent. “Now with the current Onset X, there are redundant printheads to speed up the press further while also offering light cyan and light magenta to expand the color gamut.” Combined with robot automation, the shop’s Onset X is capable of printing over 130 sheets per hour.
Purchased in 2014, NGS Printing’s Fujifilm Acuity F ultimately replaced the Inca Spyder by offering nearly twice the productivity. “We also loved the high-quality output and the ability of the machine to digital print white ink.”
Further, the machine features a tandem worktable for higher efficiency. While the Acuity F is printing, the operator unloads and loads the table’s other side so it can begin the next job immediately. “Most printing presses don’t offer this capability and there is significant downtime between sheets,” adds Scheppman.
For POP printing, NGS Printing is not brand specific with its material selection. The shop selects substrates based on the customer’s requests and costs, availability, and printability.
Finishing is almost always required unless customers wish to cut the sheets themselves. NGS Printing’s finishing equipment includes a 30-inch backslitter, 60-inch laminator, CNC MultiCam 5000, Esko Kongsberg XP, Saber guillotine shear cutter, Schneider guillotine shear cutter, Zünd L-2500-CV plotter, and Zünd G3 L-3200 devices.
Cooler Decals for POP
In October 2019, a new client approached NGS Printing for a cooler decal graphic. The client was looking for a supplier that offered high-quality output, competitive pricing, and the capacity to meet demanding lead times.
NGS Printing selected the Inca Onset X press, Fujifilm UV inks, and Caldera RIP for the job. The graphics were printed on General Formulations 4 mil High-Tack Permanent pressure-sensitive vinyl and laminated with General Formulations 5 mil scratch-resistant vinyl overlaminate.
“The project was a process image and seen from close view,” explains Scheppman. On large quantity jobs, the Inca Onset X is efficient and cost effective due to its larger sheet size, which allows more on a page. He admits that the image’s closer viewing distance made digital printing superior to screen printing.”
The final artwork was approved in mid-November 2019 and the job was printed, laminated, cut, and shipped several days later.
In total, NGS Printing created 1,000 sets of cooler decals that consisted of four different parts per set. The finished decal featured a rectangle shape with square corners cut to 30×42 inches. The job also entailed color matching a special green for the company’s branding.
Finishing consisted of cold lamination with an adhesive overlaminate followed by guillotine cutting the parts to rectangle shapes.
To ensure the client received their products by the due date, NGS Printing extended its production hours.
Overall, the customer was pleased with its completed cooler decal graphics. NGS Printing hopes to complete more projects for the client.
Digital print allows print providers like NGS Printing to produce POP graphics for brands, retail, and restaurants. With the right press and a motivated staff, the opportunity is lucrative in the POP space.
Feb2020, DPS Magazine