Roller banners are pretty exciting things to print. They don’t use your normal, paper based substrate for a start, and then, somehow, after printing, they are fitted into a metal case, ready to be assembled at a moment’s notice.
Come with us as we take a look at the journey roller banners take through our factory to become a fully formed roller banner!
As with all artwork that comes through to us, first stop is with our studio team. Our 10 second proofing tool does automate the majority of artwork checking but some files still need looking over manually.
The team will ensure that your artwork is okay to print. They’ll pick up on things like transparency issues, the use of RGB colours or resolution issues (remember that we require artwork at 150 DPI for large format products). If they’re satisfied that the file is ready for print, they quickly upload it onto our internal workflow management system and our production staff will take it from there.
Our roller banners are printed on our wonderful HP Scitex 11,000. We use this press for all of our large format printing thanks to its ability to print on a wide range of substrates. As well as being able to print on 220mic PVC for our roller banners, the Scitex can print on our more unusual substrates like dibond and correx. We could even put a wooden door through if we wanted as the Scitex can handle anything up to 30mm thick.
We recently changed our roller banner substrate from 300mic polypropylene to 220mic PVC. The polypropylene had an inconsistent surface which could sometimes result in poor quality print. By moving to the smoother substrate of PVC, we hope to reduce the number of reprints we have to produce – last year we wasted 3,500 roller banners in reprints.
PVC is also less ‘shatterable’, meaning that your roller banners should now be more durable. We do still advise you to take care, however, when retracting the banner into its casing.
The Scitex is an ink jet printer meaning that it doesn’t use toner and, instead, it applies ink drops onto the substrate. The print heads used to apply the ink can adjust in size as necessary to produce your print to the highest quality. Large ink drops help to create smooth block colours but the Scitex can also apply highly precise drops for finer details.
After printing, your roller banner will move straight onto guillotining and, for roller banners, that means our Cauhé 260. We will normally trim between 25 and 50 roller banners at a time for efficiency.
The guillotine is actually capable of cutting much more than that but handling such a large number of banners can be complicated and can lead to accidental damage. In order to ensure the quality of your banner, we keep the number down to a manageable level.
Our guillotine is pre-programmed with settings for all the different sized products that we produce. The back wall of the guillotine automatically moves to the next position after each cut so that your banners can be pushed against it and be in the correct position to be cut. This automation means that our operator simply has to select to right program and rotate your roller banners when needed.
Once trimmed, your roller banners need to be assembled. They will be taken to our packaging area where our production staff attach the printed banner to the retracting mechanism within the case.
We do this process manually so that a human eye can assess the precision of the fitting. But even by doing it manually, our packagers only take 3 minutes to assemble a banner.
Learn more about the pieces of kit we have in our production facility with our factory overview post. If you’re interested in seeing the journey that products take through our factory, don’t forget to check out our post on the production lifecycle of flyers!