Signs of the Times - November 2013 - (Page 6)

ST UPDATE By Steve Aus t News for a broader perspective Leaders of the Pac (12) For much of the Pac 12’s early history, when it was the Pac 8 or Pac 10, conference football championships seldom left Los Angeles – USC and UCLA ruled the league with an iron fist. That changed when Don James, the University of Washington’s legendary head coach from 1975 to 1992, brought the Huskies to prominence. His teams won six conference titles and a 1991 national championship. Today, passion for “U-Dub” football stands as James’ legacy, and it provided the impetus to complete a $280 million renovation for Husky Stadium, the 70,000-plusseat, on-campus stadium that’s been the football team’s home since 1920. New amenities include luxury and patio seating, stadium-plaza upgrades and, fittingly, enhancements to the Don James Center. Signage played a key role in the renovation. Wright Runstad, the developer that managed the renovation, hired CREO Industrial Arts to fabricate an array of signage and architectural graphics. The shop’s portfolio includes Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, and Hec Edmundson pavilion, U-Dub’s on-campus basketball arena. “Working directly with the developer helped the project’s communication and efficiency,” Patrick Angelel, Creo’s president, said. “However, numerous stakeholders – architectural firms, design firms, the school’s administration and athletic department, even the head football coach – had input to consider. It was a thorough process, but, with stadium projects, the season’s first game won’t change. There’s no firmer deadline than that.” The project’s diverse aspects include: • Various sizes of the school’s familiar, purple and gold “W” logo were fabricated with 0.090-in.-thick, tube- Letter We read “The Moving Message Who Provides What to Whom, Part 2” column in the September issue of Signs of the Times (see page 38), and we disagree with the assessment of the author on what constitutes Americanmade. So, we felt it would be beneficial to outline Vantage’s manufacturing process here in the U.S. Vantage LED has been manufacturing LED displays in California for more than 10 years. It employs more than 120 people throughout the entire United States in several departments: Hardware and software, design integration, sales, technical support, and R&D. Vantage’s design and development team works on various proprietaryhardware and custom-sign designs.  Vantage’s patent-pending Dragon Skin coating is an exclusive, designed as the next step in signcoating evolution, as scratch-resistant and flexible, to prevent cracks. It is free from VOCs, and it is a “green” alternative to typical paint applications.  Vantage recently collaborated with Spectacular Media with what we believe is the first iPad cloudware software solution for LED displays, SM Infinity software. Vantage offers a standard, five-year parts warranty, and an additional five-year, on-site, labor warranty because of the confidence in our U.S.-manufactured Series 51 product.  Vantage’s manufacturing process begins with professional drafting in AutoCAD. Then projects are cut on an in-house CNC machine. These parts progress to the welding department, where certified welders frame the LED cabinet and prepare it for fabrication, final hardware assembly and finishing. The finalization procedure includes a 55-point, quality-control check, color calibration and a minimum, 72-hour, burn-in time to ensure optimal performance. Vantage LED invites any current or new dealers to visit our plant to see for themselves. – Chris Ma, CEO, Vantage LED Ed. Note: We agree with Mr. Ma that the published statement – “only three corporations produce the majority of their display products in the U.S.” – should have been more specific. For example, although YESCO was identified as one of the three, it was also listed as one of the 80+ “Re-sellers and China-Direct LEDDisplay Providers.” Anyone with any knowledge of the automobile 6 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / NOVEMBER 2013 / industry understands the absolute murkiness of the term “Americanmade.” Essentially, the column said three companies all have the necessary equipment, in the U.S., to produce the actual LED technology. Each firm receives the LEDs in boxes and plants the individual LEDs onto printed circuit boards, and then molds the PCBs into proprietary, plastic enclosures. Bob Klausmeier has personally witnessed that process at all three factories. It is extensive, expensive and complicated, requiring specialized equipment. He remains confident that no other companies currently can do this in the U.S. However, there is great latitude in what U.S.-based, LED-display companies actually do. Perhaps the term “re-seller” denigrated companies that acquire the LED board itself, but then significantly labor to build the finished product, in contrast to companies that buy a completed product overseas and then indeed simply re-sell it. There is minimal black and white in this range of active involvement, but the shades of off-white and gray are innumerable. ST apologizes for any inconvenience the nebulous definitions may have caused.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - November 2013

Signs of the Times - November 2013
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review - Caldera Flow+ 2.0 software and its Version 9.20 RIP
Technology Review - KeyedIn™ Sign Edition software
New Products
Design Matters
Enter the ST Intl. Sign Contest!
Deep Thoughts
Temporary Vanity
LEDs: The Omnipresent Illuminators
Accessible Training
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - November 2013