Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions Blog / Digital Print Musical Chairs

Digital Print Musical Chairs

With a commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve enhanced the printer by offering a built-in dryer with a new print profile that nearly doubles print speeds, giving TrafficJet Plus a superior cost-to-print speed ratio.

Still trying to get it right?

Many attendees interested in digital traffic sign printing left this year’s ATSSA Expo scratching their heads. While the current state may not seem unusual to those engaged in commercial graphics digital printing where converters can choose from a variety of printer brands, it’s not the case in the traffic sign industry. Public safety is at stake, so sign conversion methods and materials are strictly tested, agency-approved, and recommended/approved by the sheeting manufacturer for specification compliance and warranty coverage.

While Avery Dennison has remained consistent with the performance of our own TrafficJet Print™ System, one of the more prominent sheeting suppliers may appear less certain of their own direction. Are they promoting Durst or EFI? Many believed they promoted the HP Latex 365, but now another pivot seems in play with an apparent recommendation for the ColorPainter M-64s on display in Oki’s show booth. Confusing, since many in the industry believed Oki already had an alignment with a different sheeting manufacturer.

It might seem attractive to offer multiple printer options from a single sheeting supplier, but the concept becomes complicated when producing specification compliant traffic control devices and need a documentation chain to assure long-term sign warranty integrity. Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality. It’s what experts W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, et al, spent their professional lives stressing to industrial leaders. It’s important to understand how this connects with the world of traffic signs. State transportation agencies devote significant resources on protocols ensuring sign materials used on their roadways are tested and prequalified for use.  Each change to a new print platform can require retesting and formal recertification. With NTPEP outdoor testing taking up to 4 years from sample application to receipt of final test results, this substantially delays the acceptance of field-ready signs. How does an agency, faced with looking only at a familiar sheeting pattern, understand if the sign was produced using only a previously tested and approved print method?

Doing it the Right Way

Avery Dennison has held consistent with our TraffficJet Print system, launched in 2013. Our CMSpot6™ inks have proven their ability to perform both in testing and in the field. “Doing it right” means we successfully developed a print system on these 4 pillars:

  1. Printer: Selecting a printer with a sterling reputation for durability and reliability led us to Mutoh’s 1638X series printer, which offers the best combination of features at an affordable price level for our industry.
  2. Media: Partnering with Ink Mill Corporation, we engineered true spot colors to provide consistent color compliance and durability unmatched in our industry. Our partnership was so successful it led us to acquire Ink Mill and bring ink production in house. Complimenting spot colors is our own protective overlaminate, OL-1000 which brings built-in graffiti cleanability into every permanent digitally printed sign, an Avery Dennison exclusive.
  3. Training & Service: Each print system is installed and serviced by certified Avery Dennison technicians. Onsite operator training is conducted by our own personnel, ensuring customer satisfaction. Bi-weekly emails provide maintenance reminders, tips and tricks. One point of contact never leaves you in a dilemma where your printer supplier blames the sheeting manufacturer who in turn blames the ink supplier and on and on...
  4. Certified Digital Traffic Converter (CTDC) Program: This is a sign converter’s best tool for demonstrating compliance to all of their public agency customers. And if you’re a public agency wanting assurance that your digitally printed signs are done right and comply with warranty requirements, it’s a critical program to require of your own sign supplier.

With a commitment to continuous improvement, we’ve enhanced the printer by offering a built-in dryer with a new print profile that nearly doubles print speeds, giving TrafficJet Plus a superior cost-to-print speed ratio. Print more signs in a day, and ship signs quicker to your customers. Combined with the longest warranted durability (up to 15 years on traffic colors and 10 years on custom colors), AND standard graffiti cleanabilty, it’s clear Avery Dennison leads the industry for digitally printed traffic signs.

Public agencies purchasing finished signs need to seek assurance that their supplier is printing signs using an approved and warranted method. And for anyone contemplating the purchase of a digital printer, ask the sheeting supplier for confirmation that the output is agency approved. Obtain confirmation of the technical service, materials, and finished sign warranty provider; you may be surprised that age-old assumptions no longer apply. And like school kids running around a circle of chairs, be sure that when the music stops playing, you’ve left with a place to sit.

For more information on the Avery Dennison TrafficJet Print system, visit our website.
To learn more about Avery Dennison Reflective Solutions, visit reflectives.averydennison.com.

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