Retiring a product line that is over 70 years old is certainly not a decision to make on a whim. After finding the replacement technology there is a lot of planning that must go on to make a successful transition. Metalcraft currently faces this challenge as we introduce our new Signature Printed Nameplate product line. However, if there is one thing our customers know about us, it's that we thrive on challenges!
To get an idea of what the process was behind retiring "AUTOGRAPHS" Printed Nameplates and how to successfully integrate the new Signature Printed Nameplate product line, I sat down with Metalcraft's Vice President of Engineering, Jim Miller, and Metalcraft's Product Development Engineer, Mark Maliszewski, to get their thoughts.
JD (Julia Deets): Explain the benefits of digital inkjet technology.
JM (Jim Miller)/MM (Mark Maliszewski): Digitally printed images with CMYK process colors give us much more freedom in the types of images we can print. Because the color matching system is exact, there is no wasting ink or other supplies, allowing us to get it quickly to our customers while minimizing waste.
JD: Why did Metalcraft look at this technology?
JM/MM: We've been watching inkjet technology for a long time, waiting for it to fit the metal printing processes we have in place for our nameplate line. Over the past 10 years, there have been great strides made in print quality and we identified SwissQ Print as one of the leaders in the industry. In addition, technological advances in UV inkjet printing have closed the gap with traditional screen printing - performing better in durability and printability testing on a broader range of surfaces - ultimately providing a more consistent printing process.
JD: How is this better than previous technologies for Metalcraft's nameplate line?
JM/MM: Digital printing allows us to print directly on the metal. Because of this, we no longer have to make a positive or a screen which loses a little resolution with each step. In addition, digital printing improves both image quality and color to color resolution.
JD: What new opportunities will this allow Metalcraft to go after?
JM/MM: We now have the ability to add 1D and 2D barcodes to the printed image. We can also do raised images like brail or tactile images, so there may be some signage opportunities. In the future, we may be able to do membrane switches and panels.
JD: What new markets will this allow Metalcraft to serve?
JM/MM: The new printing process should appeal to more OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Other opportunities include any industry looking for dramatic graphics on metal. There may be other additional opportunities with existing customers.
JD: What's next after the press is fully implemented?
JM/MM: We will start testing additional materials and expand our printing expertise beyond what we currently do now that we have additional capabilities.
JD: How does this change fit into Metalcraft's overall vision as a company?
JM/MM: As a company, Metalcraft thrives on challenges to provide a better overall product to our customers. In addition, digitally printed inkjet technology fits right with our company values of constantly pursuing operational excellence.
For more information about Metalcraft products or to talk to one of our ID Specialists about a potential application, please contact us at 800-437-5283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Julia Deets
Julia Deets joined Metalcraft in 1999 as the Marketing/New Product Director. Julia has held numerous roles during her career with Metalcraft, all related to marketing and customer support. Her current position is as the VP of Marketing and Customer Experience. She has both an undergrad and a Master's degree in Organizational Communications from Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Northern Iowa, respectively.