A Wider Variety of Work in Memphis

Members of the Tiger Graphic Services staff gather by a fountain outside their building. From left: Ann Rogers, Randall Pope, Penni Istre, Alyson Chapman and Nancy Bailey.

Operator Nancy Bailey shows a proof that was printed off of Tiger Graphic Services’ new 61˝ HP Designjet L26500 wide-format printer.

Since installing a new 61˝ HP Designjet L26500 wide-format printer in July, Tiger Graphic Services, at the University of Memphis, has more than doubled its growth. While the 11-employee in-plant is still using its nine-year-old HP 5500PSUV printer, Manager Penni Istre says that the new device was necessary to produce the shop’s oversized and corrugated signage work, which makes up about 35 percent of its business.

“We previously had to outsource jobs that required oversized and corrugated signage,” reports Istre. “We could use vinyl on our older press, but could not use adhesive vinyl for corrugated signs, window film or fabrics.”

Some of the features of the new printer that Istre likes are its ability to handle a wider variety of papers and its latex ink and dryer. The Onyx software that comes with the printer also includes an accounting feature that has made Istre and her staff’s jobs a lot easier.

“The machine relays to the shop how much per square foot it will take to print a particular item,” she says. “It also lets you plug in your pricing and then automatically calculates how much it will cost to print the piece.”

Since the device prints wider, Tiger Graphic Services can now send five or six items at once, and group them together—one landscape, one portrait—to fit on one page, using the least amount of paper.

Some of the other items that the in-plant can now handle on the new machine include: double-sided posters, canvas, adhesive backed vinyl, glossy, lightweight, heavyweight, photo paper, adhesive clear plastic and window cling. One of the most interesting projects that the shop has printed on the new device was a 6×8-foot full-bleed banner.

“As the banner was coming out, we didn’t want it to land on the floor,” Istre recalls. “It had a rollup on the bottom, so we were able to tape it, and it then rolled onto the roller. So when it came out, it was already dry.”

Another project the in-plant is currently working on is a campus-wide promotion where it will print contact cards on magnets (the material is pre-magnetized) to send out to the campus community. To laminate prints, the in-plant uses a 42˝ Catina 4100 roll laminator, along with a cold mount that it uses to mount on the foam core, and a framing system from ProEdge Systems.

To promote this new wide-format device, Istre and her team have put together a marketing booklet, highlighting all of the new equipment the shop has purchased and what it will be doing.

“We go through the campus phone book and try to set up at least five to 10 meetings a week to discuss our wide-format capabilities, as well as our ability to produce direct mail utilizing variable data,” says Istre. “We met with the athletic department and showed them what we can do, and now they are sending us a bunch of projects.”

While the in-plant has not yet printed on canvas, Istre hints that this will soon be in the works. “Since we are just starting to roll this out, we are going to come up with some pictures, and then print on canvas and take it over to the art school and show it off.”

In addition to the new wide-format printer, Tiger Graphic Services has also added two new Ricoh digital presses—a Pro C710 and Pro C610—in May to handle the increase in demand for color printing. The shop uses both printers to create cross-marketing campaign materials such as business cards, covers and booklets.

“We still have 3/4 of the campus to reach out to, and if things continue to keep up at this pace, we will need to add more staff,” concludes Istre. “But we plan to continue to market our services to the university, with an emphasis on our direct mail and variable data capabilities.”

Related story: Photos Get People in the Door at Tiger Graphic Services

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