We just returned from the Fort Worth NBM show and, as usual, people have begun asking, “what’s new?” The interest in sign shows is always in the new “gee whiz” devices on display. There’s a good reason for that. Technological advances open new markets and enrich those smart enough, talented enough, and brave enough to put it to good use.
One of the most exciting new technologies seen at NBM Fort Worth was the Direct Jet 1324. The Direct Jet is a unique product that uses a combination of innovative printing technology and solid engineering to allow sign makers and engravers find new ways to turn creativity into profit.
What is a Direct Jet and what does it do?
The Direct Jet is a line of three small format flatbed printers by Direct color Systems. They print using a unique dye-based solvent ink that images directly to a delightful variety of rigid substrates; with no pretreatment required. You can produce high resolution (up to 5760 dpi), full color photographic quality images on glass, brass, acrylic, wood, PVC, gold plated pendants, golf balls, baseballs, pens, CDs and more.
The white ink option adds non-white substrates like silver and gold brass, and the clear coat option makes prints smear resistant. The result is a platform that produces vivid, durable prints that can be sold to traditional sign industry customers like restaurants and retailers, or to typical awards & engraving customers, or to commercial buyers of ad specialties and promotional items. This kind of versatility is increasingly important as digital technologies erase the old barriers between related industries.
What makes it unique?
There are similar products to the Direct Jet. There are certainly other flatbed printers on the market. But most of those are designed for large format board printing and handle media with a maximum thickness of about 2”. The Direct Jet 1324 will imprint objects up to 6” thick. Certainly some of these objects can be sublimated, but the Direct Jet’s solvent based ink produces superior UV and solvent resistance and the white ink option produces more vivid color on metallic surfaces than dye sublimation.
Plus with a Direct Jet, you don’t have to cure the image at 400° F, so your substrate options are broader. And finally, printing directly to the substrate eliminates the color shifts that occur with sublimation between the print on transfer paper and the sublimated image.
So the Direct Jet offers a unique set of features and benefits for those with the talent and creativity to produce sellable, full color graphics and the marketing know-how to find ways to give customers new reasons to spend money.
How can I make money with it?
One application we’ve seen that holds lots of promise is the use of digital photography to turn photographs of student athletes into keepsakes for proud parents and relatives. You might use your connections with an athletic booster club to get permission to photograph the local little leaguers and print team photos on commemorative plaques and mirrors for sale to “Nanna” and “Mammaw”.
Whatever your market, we’re certain you’ll find exciting and profitable ways to put Direct Jet technology to good use in your trophy and award, or signs and graphics business. And you’ll find more useful information on our website here.