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SHEET Materials


How direct-to-substrate printing has impacted sheet materials


From tried and trusted substrates to new products launched just this year, sign makers have plenty of sheet products from which to choose. Sign Update takes a closer look to learn more.


“The largest and most positive impact on sheet material over the last few years has been the increasing trend for sign- makers to invest in direct print flatbed technology,” says Chris Green, Head of the Sign & Display Channel at Antalis.


As the running speeds and quality of print continue to increase, in conjunction with the costs of the UV flatbed machines falling and ROI time shortening, more signmakers are choosing this option to give flexibility to their production.


This increase in demand for sheet material has then led to a growing requirement for variety and innovation within our rigid ranges, as the signmaker tries to deliver the requirements of the end user, but also wants to differentiate or diversify.” In order to meet this demand, Antalis are developing new performance engineered products and solutions alongside their supply chain part- ners to support the signmakers in their quest.


A recent example of this and one in which they are making traction is DISPA®. This is a product made by 3A composites with mul- tiple layers of 100 per cent recyclable paper. “It’s a robust alternative to plastic products, is strong and rigid yet lightweight, and offers a smooth white surface that makes graph- ics stand out,” says Chris. “The embossed structure that forms the central layer of


DISPA® is a patented core and method of manufacture which results in a uniquely sta- ble board.” As the trend for environmental solutions increase, DISPA® is proving to be an immensely popular alternative to non- recyclable products, showing an immediate like-for-like cost saving and savings at the end of life with revenues being generated from a signmaker’s recycling streams.


Handling the economic climate Chris notes that the team at Antalis are con- stantly working with customers and their supply chain to ensure the range of sheet materials is market relevant, containing brands that signmakers trust along with products that will innovate. This year will see a continuation of this strategy with developments in their ACM, Foam Rigid PVC, Corrugated, Calendered PVC, and Polypropylene ranges to name a few. “The current uncertain economic climate is also leading to pressures on prices within the market, and we are working hard with our supply chain to ensure we remain competi- tive whilst still giving exceptional value through our services and our industry lead- ing Digital Academy programme,” says Chris. One way in which they are seeking to do this is through the creation of quality products that can meet the ever-rising expectations from both sign makers and customers. According to Chris, there are lots of pressures on the modern signmaker, with time being chief among them.


“The market demands a quick turnaround on jobs which means in a JIT workflow process, materials can literally be coming straight off the distributor’s vehicles directly onto the printing press. Static is generated when there are sudden changes in temper- ature and humidity, and this generally happens when the materials are in transit. By not allowing time for the materials to acclimatise to its new environment, pockets


Chris Green, Head of the Sign & Display Channel at Antalis.


The FOAMALITE Premium product seen in John Lewis in Kingston, Surrey. 30 Sign Update ISSUE 170 APRIL 2017


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