In the printing and sign building business, the most commonly thought of use of magnets is in the flexible form to create magnetic vehicle signs, calendars, menus, business cards and more. The process has evolved from a two-step process of printing on vinyl or another substrate and laminating to the magnet, to the simpler and faster process of printing direct to the magnet. This is, and always will be, a profitable and valuable service that you can provide your customers.
However, in addition to flexible material for signs and graphic displays, magnets have other forms and functions that you can take advantage of. From flexible magnetic sheeting to rare-earth discs, to magnetic hooks and sign holders, magnets are easily repositionable, reusable, have permanent power and are available in a wide selection of styles and pull-strengths.
In all forms, magnets can be the most efficient and effective solution for graphics, holding and fastening or for tools to help you do your work.
Flexible Magnet and Magnetic Receptive
Print direct for speed and efficiency
Offering magnetic products can expand or open up new channels of business. Professional contractors, realtors, restaurants, medical offices, schools, sports clubs and organizations, all can use magnetic vehicle signs, menus, sports schedules, business cards, and more.
You can print direct to flexible magnetic sheeting material with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-cure, latex and aqueous ink systems.
Different manufacturers of magnetic sheeting offer different formulas for their printable surfaces. Your magnetic material selection for printing and thickness will depend on the ink system of your printer and the intended application such as for indoor, outdoor or on a vehicle. It is always best to test on a sample roll to be sure of how the job will print.
Printing onto magnetic sheeting requires different settings on your printer to adjust for the weight and thickness. One potential obstacle is if you have a metal platen on your printer. This can be easily overcome by covering the platen with styrene, chipboard, vinyl or almost anything to create an air gap between the metal and the magnet, which then allows the magnetic sheeting to feed smoothly through the printer.
When considering the quality of today's printable magnetic sheeting together with the capabilities of today's wide-format printers and digital die-cutters, a myriad of applications for printed magnetics can become a lucrative year-round channel of business.
Magnetic Graphics Systems
For printers and retail merchandising designers, magnetic graphics systems have been a primary focus in recent years. The main reason for using magnet and magnetic-receptive sheeting for retail P.O.P. displays is the ability to easily change out variable information or graphic elements without having to change the entire sign. A magnetic graphic system is durable, easily changeable and can provide the same high resolution graphics with brilliant color as printing on other substrates. The frequent changing of categories in a grocery store aisle directory, for example, make magnet and magnetic-receptive materials an ideal signage solution.
Technological advancements have resulted in wider and thinner materials, all with continually improving performance characteristics such as:
- Increased width results for more efficient and profitable press runs,
- Thinner materials that weigh less, which translates to easier handling, printing, and lower shipping costs, and
- Continuing development of printable surfaces to ensure the overall high-quality appearance of the graphics.
Another use for a magnetic graphic system is in coffee, ice cream or frozen yogurt shops for labeling flavors. There’s always a large number of carafes or ice cream/frozen yogurt dispensers with changing flavors. Since the dispensers are stainless steel (a non-ferrous metal), a magnet base with adhesive and labels printed on magnetic-receptive material provides a durable, colorful, reusable and easily changeable system for daily changing of flavors.
Magnet and magnetic-receptive materials allow for colorful printing that can be easily cut to interesting shapes to fit whatever interior décor theme is needed. While flavor labels seem like a small printing project, the opportunity to produce magnetic graphics systems for labels, menu boards, and full wall graphics for national chains with hundreds of locations can make this a worthwhile venture.
Holding and Fastening
Magnetic assemblies with hooks, carabiners or other sign holding attachments are extremely versatile in their use for attaching instore signs and graphics. Large vinyl banners are a standard printing staple of most sign shops, and vinyl banners go together with magnetic carabiners and hooks like peanut butter and jelly. Magnetic strip has long been the ideal material for mounting and changing graphic displays. With holding strengths ranging from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds, magnetic strip and assemblies are a great choice for reusable, repositionable holding of graphics, with no drilling or extra fastening required.
Speed and efficiency determine the profitability of most production work, and magnetic tools can be a great asset for getting things done around the shop quickly and conveniently. Here are a few magnet-based tools worth considering.
- Vehicle Wrap Magnets—During a vehicle wrap installation, using magnets instead of tape to hold graphics in place makes each job easier, faster and more profitable. It’s important to use magnets that have the features you need to do the job right. Be sure to look for these desirable attributes:
* Strength—The magnet should be strong enough to hold graphics in position without slipping, while still allowing repositioning movement when pulling gently on the graphic.
* Non-scratch—Magnets for vehicle graphic installation should have a protective covering such as plastic, rubber or felt to prevent scratching of the graphics or vehicle during installation. Be sure to always wipe the contact side of the magnet before each use so that collected debris doesn’t cause scratches.
* Storage system—It is helpful to have a good way to block the magnetism when storing so the magnet doesn’t attract all the loose metal shavings, tools and small parts in your toolbox. A storage system such as a cover, a case or magnet shield that blocks the magnetism when not in use is important.
- Magnetic Heat Gun Holder—Here is another handy tool that makes wrap installation work faster and more convenient—a magnetic "holster" to hold your heat gun securely, and also be easily moved around the vehicle as needed to keep your heat gun always within reach. The strength of the magnet and a non-scratch surface on the magnet are essential factors to consider for this tool. They’re also great for holding a water spray bottle or other small tools, keeping them up off the floor and easily within reach.
- Channel Letter Trim Cap Holding Magnets—Just like vehicle wraps, there are a number of different steps to the process of channel letter production that you have to master to be successful. Magnets once again can add speed and efficiency to your production process. Save time with handle magnets that firmly anchor channel letter trim caps during assembly on metal tables.
Most channel letter magnets feature solid steel construction, nickel plating, and welded handles for quick and easy repositioning.
Whether used to create the sign, graphic or display itself, to hold and fasten, or as an efficient tool to do the work, the versatility of magnets can be valuable for your business.