The Big Picture - May 2013 - (Page 11)
graphics on the go
The Incredibly Important
By Jared Smith
n Arizona, our shop is fortunate enough to have pretty
nice weather all year long – but even with our near-perfect
climate, we can’t install outdoors. So we were forced to
build a functioning install bay to provide the space, the
tools, and the environment that suits the needs of our craft.
Over the years, we have deﬁnitely learned quite a great
deal about the details that make for an eﬃcient install area.
By no means do we have it perfect, and we still have quite a
few items on our wish list. But by taking the time to think
through some layout options (and by making a few mistakes in the process), we’ve seen our install bays improve
dramatically and produce favorable results.
Approach and enter
You might think a good install bay starts with a big rollup
door, but it actually begins a few hundred feet farther back
than the door: the approach area.
If your shop has the ability to design and produce graphics for larger vehicles like buses, motor coaches, race haulers, RVs, tractor trailers, and boats, you must think about
the approach and turning radius of these longer vehicles
when deciding on a building or roll-door location. After all,
if the driver can’t make a tight turn, has to accommodate a
steep hill, or deal with some other obstacle, it doesn’t matter if the door is big enough or not.
In many cases you’ll be working with professional drivers, and they’ll expect a little bit of professional thinking to
have occurred before you tell them to head on over. If the
approach to your install bay is easy to maneuver, you’ll gain
favor from these types of clients, all the while making for a
safer entrance and exit for their vehicles.
Which brings us to the actual entrance. At our shop,
we have a good approach and a massive rollup door. But
since our building has loading docks, our ﬂoor is approximately 4 feet higher than ground level. That means we
have a ramp. This ramp measures almost 60-feet long and
30-feet wide, and at ﬁrst glance it appears to be more than
adequate for even the largest trucks.
So, you might ask: When our ﬁrst race hauler pulled in,
why did we have six bluemedia staﬀers positioned at every
angle over the race hauler? Why were they watching the
rolldoor clearance, the lower clearance at the building’s entrance, and the front bumper of the tractor at ground level?
Because it was a scary close ﬁt. The ramp designers
knew what they were doing, but the angle of the ramp
brings the top of the trailer within 1 inch of the roll door
and the bottom of the trailer within 1 inch of the ﬂoor. If
these types of race haulers did not have the ability to raise
and lower the trailer, we simply would not be able to get
them into our building. We took speciﬁc measurements
of that ﬁrst hauler so we could compare future vehicles to
ensure we could clear everything. I cannot stress enough
how vital this ability is – so make sure you keep in mind
the angle of any ramps on the approach to your install bay.
Good rollup doors, by the way, are not cheap. For a door
to allow the correct access heights it must be big, and that
typically means expensive – and heavy. Because they’re
heavy, all of the mechanisms must integrate powerful motors and these must always be in good working order. Make
sure they’re maintained by a professional service. Also, be
aware that due to their weight, the doors should be operated with caution; educate your staﬀ on safety concerns and
Now let’s take a look at the ﬂoor. The install-bay ﬂoor will
need to withstand an environment comprising heavy vehicles, scaﬀolding, ladders, expired vinyl messes, and some
spills consisting of oil and adhesive removers, to name just
a few. We’ve found that polished concrete is a great way
to go. It’s easy to clean and it’s as tough as can be. >34
JARED SMITH is president of bluemedia
(bluemedia.com), a leading provider of
design and printing for use in vehicle,
large-format, and environmental applications,
in Tempe, Arizona.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Big Picture - May 2013
The Big Picture - May 2013
Graphics on the Go
Textile Printing’s Transformation
Advances in Rollfeds
Taking the Fine-Art Plunge
Ink Quest 2013
The Big Picture - May 2013