The Big Picture - May 2013 - (Page 11)

graphics on the go The Incredibly Important Install Bay By Jared Smith I 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 open-and-shut procedures. Floor show 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 (, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona. 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Big Picture - May 2013

The Big Picture - May 2013
Wide Angle
Graphics on the Go
Textile Printing’s Transformation
Advances in Rollfeds
Taking the Fine-Art Plunge
Ink Quest 2013

The Big Picture - May 2013