Time Flies as Clocks Are Direct Printed on SINTRA®, DIBOND®

The clock was ticking as application specialists at Meredith, N.H.-based VUTEk Printing Systems prepared to exhibit the company’s new VUTEk® PressVu® UV 200/600 digital inkjet printer at the SGIA ’04 Specialty Printing and Imaging Technology Show last October in Minneapolis.

Standing procedure for these specialists is to prepare an applications gallery of items printed with VUTEk Printing Systems for display in the company’s trade show booth, according to Kevin Currier, worldwide applications engineering manager at VUTEk.

“We like to create examples with VUTEk Printing Systems that stimulate people’s minds,” said Currier. “We like to come up with new and interesting designs.”

However, a number of pressing issues had kept the application specialists from this creative task – until just two days before materials were to be shipped to the show. It was then that Currier found Mike Syverson and Rocky Lavoie, both senior application specialists at VUTEk, with their heads together in the applications lab – which “looked a lot like Santa’s workshop,” he said – creating a series of working clocks for the show.
“They felt like they were missing a rare opportunity to be creative,” said Currier. “These guys are pretty resourceful. If there’s a way to get a job done, they’ll find it.”

Fortunately, VUTEk is at the forefront of providing large-format inkjet printers that are capable of high-quality digital direct printing to substrates. This process allows a complicated, intricate job like the clock designs to be completed quickly, saving both time and materials.

The clock components were direct printed on sheets of 3mm white Sintra® and 3mm Dibond® Brushed Silver graphic display boards by 3A Composites USA with the VUTEk PressVU 200/600 digital inkjet printer. The images were router cut with MGE i-cut digital die-cutting software.

“Both materials (Sintra and Dibond) are easily printed on a flatbed printer,” said Currier. “When combined with a cutter, these jobs are completed quickly. It’s so much more efficient to be able to print directly to a rigid substrate instead of mounting a printed image to it.”

The VUTEk application specialists assembled a dozen clocks in three different designs that measured 16 inches in diameter and featured multiple layers of Sintra glued together to create a total thickness of ¾ inch and a three-dimensional effect.
Inexpensive battery-operated mechanisms were attached to the clock backs.

“When we build three-dimensional designs, we focus on Sintra for its durability,” said Currier. “It’s a perfect material for a lot of applications, including cutting, drilling and shaping. The Dibond Brushed Silver offered its own sophisticated look.”

The clocks were set up in the VUTEk booth conference rooms at SGIA ’04.

“They were a big hit,” said Currier. “When we make a practical item that really shows what the printer can do, it really gets the point across.”

The clocks were so popular, in fact, that when sent to VUTEk’s next trade show – a sign show in Italy – the booth materials package came back without them.

Sintra is a lightweight-yet-rigid expanded PVC material that is available in a wide range of thicknesses from 1 mm to 19 mm in various sheet sizes and a rainbow of colors. Sintra cuts cleanly, creating smooth edges. It can be direct printed and accept vinyl graphics. Sintra fabricates easily without special tools and can be heat formed and laminated to other materials.

Dibond is a rigid, durable aluminum composite material consisting of two pre-painted sheets of .012-inch aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core – a unique composition that makes it approximately one-half the weight of aluminum. Dibond Brushed Silver features polyester clear-coat applied over the brushed aluminum finish. Dibond, the flattest panel on the market, offers a superior surface that protects expensive digital and screen-printed graphics.

For more information about the VUTEk PressVU UV 200/600 digital inkjet printer, contact VUTEk Inc. by telephone at (603) 279-4635 or by email at info@vutek.com. Visit VUTEK on the web at www.vutek.com.