A Screen Truepress Jet W3200UV flatbed inkjet printer is at home at Blackburn Manufacturing Co. and poised to take the Neligh, Neb.-based flag manufacturer into the next generation of wide-format digital printing.
"This represents an entirely new process for Blackburn Manufacturing," said Jennifer Blackburn-Nielsen, president. "The Truepress Jet W3200UV allows us to branch out into new product lines and increase our production capabilities on the work we currently do."
Blackburn Manufacturing, a family-owned firm founded in 1953, has established itself as a leading supplier of marking flags and posting signs internationally. The company provides livelihoods for 50 employees in Neligh and five in Paso Robles, Calif. Its marking and safety products are distributed to a variety of industries all over the world to identify underground utility lines, delineate construction areas and post information about pesticides and other lawn care chemicals.
Blackburn Manufacturing sells more than 200 million flags every year. In 2004, the company added posting signs to its product portfolio. Printed in one and two colors on coated card stock, Blackburn Manufacturing's small posting signs are available in three sizes: 4 x 5 inches, 5 x 5 inches and 6 x 6 inches.
Originally intended to meet notification requirements in the lawn and garden industry, these so-called "turf signs" are becoming popular marketing vehicles.
"Customers had been requesting larger signs that catch people's eye when they are passing by," Blackburn-Nielsen said. "Customized signs are giving businesses a cost-effective marketing boost by including colorful photographs, branding, phone numbers and website addresses. In the past, our ability to handle complex printing had been limited. We decided to upgrade our process to accommodate this demand."
The Truepress Jet W3200UV features Screen's proprietary Truepress inks and comes standard with six colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light magenta and light cyan) plus white ink. It prints at a top speed of 914 square feet per hour on media up to 62.9 x 125.9 inches with a maximum thickness of 1.9 inches.
"We researched different printers," Blackburn-Nielsen said, "and discovered that the Truepress was the most highly recommended system, the easiest for our workforce to operate and maintain, and offered the best opportunities for expansion. It's a very versatile printer that can print on a wide range of material."
In commercial operation since September 2014, the Truepress Jet W3200UV already has proven itself to be a productive printer for Blackburn Manufacturing's standard-size and new large-sized signs. To produce accurate cuts, Blackburn Manufacturing also acquired a Zünd G3 digital cutter.
Meanwhile, the company is experimenting with different substrates and exploring new market segments for the flatbed printer.
"One customer, a professional photographer who prints his work on canvas, wants to use leather as a medium," Blackburn-Nielsen noted. "The color quality and ability to print sharp photographs will be beneficial for us and our customers."