Pedicab wrap

Pedicab wraps bring attention to Phoenix graphics company

Fast-Trac Designs is no stranger to high-profile clients, but a recent job for Bud Light put the sign company in the driver’s seat during the Super Bowl.

The Phoenix-based company had the opportunity to wrap 65 pedicabs that were part of Phoenix’s downtown Super Bowl experience. An experienced vehicle wrap company, Fast-Trac Designs was no stranger to wrapping the small bicycle-drawn conveyances, so it jumped at the chance.

There were four types of pedicabs that needed to be wrapped with Bud Light advertisements, some were round and others had flat panels.

“We wrapped them in a single panel for a complete seamless install, left to right all the way around,” says Jody Frego, director of operations at Fast-Trac.

It was a tricky process because Fast-Trac had to manipulate the art that was provided by Bud Light so that when it wrapped around the pedicab’s rounded corners, the logo would stay at the proper angle, Frego says.

“We actually laid everything out so specifically that we had an overlay of green where the taillights would be. After we printed and laminated the prints, we cut out where the taillights were. There are no points on [the pedicabs] to measure to keep [the artwork] straight. We used the taillights as our layout to make sure everything was square,” he says.

Fast-Trac wrapped 51 of the yellow, rounded pedicabs and 14 with a different configuration.

Originally, the company had two weeks to do the project, but “as always, with big projects, we ended up cramming this into five days,” Frego says. “We basically set up a miniature assembly line with four installers and wrapped all 65 in five days.”

Once the assembly line was set up, things moved quickly.

“The installers enjoyed it at first then it became a little bit redundant,” he says. But the project as a whole was fun because pedicabs are not the normal types of vehicles the installers wrap on a daily basis.

“We do things a bit different here. We’re on the quality side,” Frego says. “We take a different stance than a lot of shops. We’re not trying to turn 60 vehicles a month. We got ourselves set to where we try to do 20 to 27 wraps a month, but we focus on the quality side of it.”

Fast-Trac attempts to do every wrap in a seamless fashion. “If we do have seams, we keep them minimal,” he says.

The company also runs its printer at a slower speed.

“We don’t try to spit out vinyl as fast as we can. We try to get a good quality solid print.”

Because Anheuser Busch is very particular about its color scheme for Bud Light, Fast-Trac had to be within 2 percent of their colors to do the job.

“We color calibrate constantly. We’re more focused on not getting everything out fast. We focus on customer service, quality and making sure everything is done right the first time,” Frego says.

The company uses a Mutoh 1624 ValueJet 64-inch printer, an Epson GS 6000 printer, a Graphtec 8000 vinyl plotter and a Royal Sovereign laminator.

“The Mutoh is our preferred one for vehicle wraps. It is like our workhorse. You do a little maintenance and it keeps running and running and running,” Frego says.

Fast-Trac is a certified 3M installer and it uses Knifeless Tech Systems knifeless tape on most of its vinyl wrap installs.

“That system changed the way installation happens now,” he adds. “We used to rely on knives to cut everything.”

Knives increase the chance that an installer will nick the paint.

“Using knifeless tape ensures there are no cuts on the vehicle,” he says. “That’s a newer product. It’s been around since 2010, but we use that a lot to ensure that our customers don’t have cut paint, and we make sure our installers are very up to date on new technology, new rollers and new techniques.”

Fast-Trac started out selling promotional products and screen printed apparel. After a few years in the business, the company’s owners, Sean and Judy Dale, realized there was a need for digital graphics so they took over the space next door to their screen printing and apparel business to begin offering digital printing.

One of the company’s best and most high-profile clients is Discount Tire Company, which has Fast-Trac wrap all of the cars for its racecar program. The company just finished wrapping seven trailers, four trucks and six racecars for the new NASCAR season.

Fast-Trac exclusively uses 3M material. It uses 3M IJ180cv3 with matching 3M 8518 over laminate. For the Ballistic Bronco wrap, the company used 3M 8520 matte laminate.

Arizona is hard on vehicle roofs and hoods because of the area’s high UV index. Fast-Trac uses 3M material because it lasts longer, five to six years, even in the high temperatures and beating sun.

The company wraps many fleet vehicles. It has 87 wrapped vehicles on the road currently that are five years old and still looking good, he says.

If there’s a problem with the film, 3M helps out immediately, Frego says. “I can’t say enough about 3M’s local support here. I don’t get it from any other manufacturer we’ve tried.”

The company wraps many vehicles, but one of the newest trends is wrapping rocker panels.

Companies ask to have just the rocker panels on their vehicles wrapped with their company name.

“We are doing at least two a week. That’s something that is not highly expensive for the customer and is profitable for us. It is something we can turn in in a quick manner and is something that works with the client’s budget and the shop,” Frego says. “We’ve seen an increase in that in the last six months.”

Fast-Trac wraps many unique objects. It wrapped bug sprayers for a bug company and an IGLOO lunchbox for a client who was trying to get into beer distribution. He wanted to bring cold beer into the meetings with him but he didn’t want to bring it in a plain cooler.