Big Picture - September 2019 - 31

AGE OLD QUESTION
"Bottleneck." It's a word we hear often surrounding the
post-production process, as printers are producing high-quality
graphics at faster and faster speeds. And it's a question Big
Picture has asked readers for the last 10-plus years. But is
finishing still the bottleneck?
"Yes and no," Kaufman says. "It's situational. Today the
equipment is doing what needs to be done, but projects are
becoming more expensive. Turn times are getting a little
shorter and the time it takes to complete is longer because
they can become complicated projects."
It really depends on the intricacy of the project, she
continues. If a client asks for wall graphics to be contour cut
into shape versus printing same-size vertical panels, finishing
can become the bottleneck. "The finishing equipment
available today is good, there's just sometimes a lot of extra
work that takes longer on the back end," Kaufman says.
For the staff at Thysse, it's all about planning ahead.
"Post-production can be a significant challenge in our
industry, but we have chosen to take steps recognizing the
amount of time and labor it takes and plan accordingly," says
Dean Bott, general manager, Thysse. "A big part of that is
staffing. Our post-production staff is skilled and trained. It's a
dedicated, permanent position that's just as important as any
other role in our organization."
The staff at Cushing agrees. The shop's in-house design
team consists of eight prepress operators/designers who have
training on materials, the finishing process, and end products.
"It's been so helpful to have the people who are setting up
the files know what the end result will be." Kaufman mentions
a rigid sign outside of a business, as an example. Cushing's
team understands there will be hardware in the top corners of
the sign, so they design accordingly, which removes any back
and forth with the client during installation.
When artwork comes in the door from outside sources,
Kaufman doesn't hesitate to ask questions or make suggestions. Outsourced design firms aren't necessarily privy to
asking finishing questions upfront on topics like hardware,
lamination, and installation. "Many, many times we get our
work from outside designers, companies with premade
artwork, and we have to ask, 'Did you think about this?
How's it going to hang?' The artwork is just not set up
that way."

AUTOMATION

In June, Cushing completed a job for Syngenta, a global company that
produces agrochemicals and seeds, based in Basel, Switzerland. The
business opened a Global and North America Seeds office in Downers
Grove, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago and a major US corn and soy
growing region. The new location required wall and window graphics that
spread their brand's message in a corporate, professional way. Seems
simple enough, but the project ended up requiring some out-of-the-box
thinking from Cushing's finishing department. "The customer was intent on
the graphics working together in the space, but also adding an extra
element of texture," Kaufman says.
StagHill, a UK-based graphic design agency, assisted with the artwork.
After some long-distance calls and a few suggestions from Kaufman, the
team was ready to go. Fifteen to 20 printed pieces of Magic GFCVM Satin
Canvas were wrapped around wooden stretcher bars in multiple depths to
create an overall visual mural once put together. Ten to 15 wall graphics and
window graphics were printed on the shop's Epson SureColor S80600 onto
3M Controltac Graphic Film IJ180. Because of the request for texture,
Cushing used 3M D├ęcor Overlaminate 8600 with a riverbed finish and its
Seal 65 Pro laminator. "We're very comfortable with laminating," Kaufman
says about her team's daily use of the process. The textured wall graphic
and frosted, privacy film - 3M Crystal Dusted and Frosted window film that
was contour cut with the shop's Zund G3 digital cutter - together gave the
office extra depth.
Cushing clients typically ask for a canvas wall with one layer. "While
multiple depths is a unique application request, we're familiar with this
process," Kaufman adds. "It brings an interesting twist to the overall
artwork elevation, and while it's a more complicated post-production
process, the graphic needs to be consistent. The materials and message all
must line up in the end, allowing the artwork or text to line up, flow, and
make for an easy install. It's a nice challenge we don't see frequently and it
paid off in the final product." Once the project was completed, "they were
thrilled," says Kaufman about her overseas client.

"We take advantage of automation," says Bott. To do so
accurately, Thysse has implemented automated workflows
for preflighting and proofing. "The biggest impact of
automation comes from imposition, where we use AI to
organize and assemble the printing and cutting to properly
feed the pack-out."

BIGPICTURE.NET

Kaufman says there are too many things to do by hand in
terms of fully automating post production. "A finishing
operator has to man the laminator or cutter." But Cushing is
consistently looking to streamline the process so projects flow
easily from printing to finishing.
"We're always trying to be as efficient as possible,"
Kaufman says. The shop recently added a new MIS production workflow platform that replaced the system they had used
for years. "We're hopeful this new workflow will help us revise
our workflow, tailor to the system, learn a little more about
costs, and how long they take to do by timing them."
Kaufman, most importantly, is looking forward to jobs being
quoted the right way the first time.

Planting the Seed

31


http://www.BIGPICTURE.NET

Big Picture - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - September 2019

Big Picture - September 2019
Contents
Insight
Wide Angle
Upfront
Print Takes Over
Finishing Touch
R+D
Explorer
Big Picture - September 2019 - Intro
Big Picture - September 2019 - Big Picture - September 2019
Big Picture - September 2019 - Cover2
Big Picture - September 2019 - Contents
Big Picture - September 2019 - Insight
Big Picture - September 2019 - 3
Big Picture - September 2019 - Wide Angle
Big Picture - September 2019 - 5
Big Picture - September 2019 - 6
Big Picture - September 2019 - 7
Big Picture - September 2019 - Upfront
Big Picture - September 2019 - 9
Big Picture - September 2019 - 10
Big Picture - September 2019 - 11
Big Picture - September 2019 - 12
Big Picture - September 2019 - 13
Big Picture - September 2019 - 14
Big Picture - September 2019 - 15
Big Picture - September 2019 - 16
Big Picture - September 2019 - 17
Big Picture - September 2019 - 18
Big Picture - September 2019 - 19
Big Picture - September 2019 - 20
Big Picture - September 2019 - 21
Big Picture - September 2019 - Print Takes Over
Big Picture - September 2019 - 23
Big Picture - September 2019 - 24
Big Picture - September 2019 - 25
Big Picture - September 2019 - 26
Big Picture - September 2019 - 27
Big Picture - September 2019 - 28
Big Picture - September 2019 - 29
Big Picture - September 2019 - Finishing Touch
Big Picture - September 2019 - 31
Big Picture - September 2019 - 32
Big Picture - September 2019 - 33
Big Picture - September 2019 - 34
Big Picture - September 2019 - 35
Big Picture - September 2019 - R+D
Big Picture - September 2019 - 37
Big Picture - September 2019 - 38
Big Picture - September 2019 - 39
Big Picture - September 2019 - 40
Big Picture - September 2019 - 41
Big Picture - September 2019 - 42
Big Picture - September 2019 - 43
Big Picture - September 2019 - Explorer
Big Picture - September 2019 - Cover3
Big Picture - September 2019 - Cover4
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