Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2012 - (Page 6)

2011: Staying the Course The recession lingers on. By Wade Swormstedt and Darek Johnson Year in Review There wasn’tlackluster economyinlingered on, with much difference 2011 versus 2010 or 2009. The no definitive signs of improvement or decline. This contributed to the foreclosure of Cummings Inc., which had been a prominent electric-sign company since 1946. Perhaps it also impacted Gerber Scientific, which had completely revolutionized the sign industry in 1982 with its Signmaker vinyl-cutting equipment. The Connecticut company was purchased by Vector Capital, a private-equity firm. On a celebratory note, Columbus (OH) Sign Co. and Ramsay Sign (Portland, OR) both enjoyed centennials in 2011. Crane certification The biggest news last year for electric-sign companies was a new OSHA rule: the Crane and Derricks in Construction Standards 1926.1400 through 1926.1442. This standard was really designed (as its title suggests) as a countermeasure to accidents in the construction business. But, as so often happens, the sign industry was swept up in the regulations that pertain to cranes with a 2,000-lb. lifting capacity, despite its minuscule role. This partially benefited the sign industry by forcing less-skilled operators to either acquire the requisite skills or quit. But for the majority of companies that already follow appropriate standards, it was simply an added expense and time away from the job. Most of the training was conducted by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), and educational sessions were a standard at industry tradeshows. In reaction, some manufacturers quickly reconfigured their trucks to fall just-under the 2,000-lb. level and thus be exempt. More regulations Elsewhere, in terms of potential regulations, the converse occurred. The sign industry, primarily through the efforts of the Intl. Sign Assn. (ISA), took a proactive stance with regard to the mysterious “harmonic resonance” problem that was causing some poles (conspicuously on some billboards) to fail. ISA began efforts to research the problem four years ago with the University of California, San Diego, and found some causes and potential solutions as 2011 drew to a close. Similarly, through its work with Dr. Ian Lewin, a former president of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, ISA presented brightness standards for electronic message centers (EMCs). Although EMCs are tremendously popular with end users, they are likewise 6 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / MID-MARCH 2012 / the most heavily scrutinized and regulated of all types of signs. Fortunately, (YESCO’s) Mike Freeborg’s “Finding Common Ground” presentation about EMCs’ overall value to communities was well received by both the sign industry and numerous municipalities. Also, in September, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) published the 15th edition of its UL 48 Standard for Electric Signs. Subsections were much more easily identified. Much more important, however, was the sign industry’s input into the standard. A majority (22) of the 39 members of the UL Standards Technical Panel represented the sign industry. Finally, new ADA regulations took effect in March following a consensus between the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Building Code and the ADA Advisory Council. Key changes impacted the sign height, typeface height and width, and the specific spaces between characters. ISA reorganizes ISA was quite busy internally as well. Two summit meetings were held with 50 key stakeholders in 2011 (primarily executive directors from state and regional sign associations), and ISA held a “town hall” meeting at the Sign Expo tradeshow in Las Vegas. By year end, ISA was announcing its biggest reorganization since the regionalization plan of 1980. The majority of details are yet to be determined, and final implementation isn’t slated until 2014, but a few key elements were established. • ISA would only host one tradeshow a year, although it would gladly assist an “affiliated” association with any event assistance. • All members of affiliated sign associations would automatically become ISA members. • All affiliated sign associations would remain autonomous. • The ISA board would be reduced from 27 to 15, and board members would subsequently be chosen based on “competency.” Digital printing Instead of thinking outside the box, B+N Industries (NYC) prints the box. Well, they actually print wood panels, and expensive ones – mahogany infused with digitally inked prints -- to create wall plates that offer room ambience reminiscent of kings’ palaces -- or cow-barn hoedowns (see www.bnind. com) and various environments in-between. Mostly, B+N has proven the digital-printing field expands in BUYERS’ GUIDE 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2012

Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2012
Year in Review: 2011, Staying the Course
2012 Lighting Equipment and Materials Survey
Manufacturers and Distributors
Equipment and Supplies Index
Equipment and Supplies
Advertising Index

Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2012