The Polarization Express
An installation trend that has been developing over the past few years is end-user installation. Especially for POP and retail displays, ease of installation is becoming a necessity as store staff are more likely to be the ones doing the installation, which should put limits on the complexity of the process, lest displays be put up incorrectly or unaesthetically (or not at all), which can blunt the impact the display was supposed to have.
At the same time, displays need to be swapped out with greater frequency, which also makes simplifying the process highly desirable.
One of the popular and growing self-installation techniques uses magnetic substrates.
Magnetic substrates fall into two basic categories: media that are themselves magnetic and will stick to a metal surface, and media that are unmagnetized but after printing are run through a magnetizing device which then makes them magnetic. The latter option is a better solution for basic runnability, as opposed to running a big magnet through a printer or press, which can cause mechanical problems for the media and the printer.
However, one sticking point is that most display surfaces are not metallic, nor do retail locations have lots of refrigerators sitting around. So providers of magnetic media also offer magnetically-receptive media.
Magnum Magnetics (Booth 2723) has long been a manufacturer of magnetic substrates, and offers RubberSteel and PaperSteel magnetically-receptive materials. These are flexible rubber-magnet-like materials that, via an adhesive, can be applied to or wrapped around surfaces. Thus they provide a base that will then be receptive to magnetic graphics — so virtually any surface can be made magnetically-receptive. This week, the company is showcasing its new DigiMaxx Latex, direct-printable magnetic media that runs fully magnetized on latex printers. The media come in standard or high energy (the higher the energy, the “stickier” it is), and offers latex printers a full suite of printable magnet configurations. DigiMaxx Latex runs well on many commercial latex printers, such as those from Mimaki (Booths 1231 and 1345) and Ricoh (Booth 1351), and is certified for use on the Latex 300 Series printers from HP (Booths 1029 and 1045). The media feature a semi-gloss backcoating for easy feeding, prints fully magnetized and is outdoor-rated for one year.
Visual Magnetics (Booth 3127) takes a different approach to magnetic substrates. The VM-Graphic System (pictured above) starts with a layer of ActiveWall paint, which is applied to a wall or other surface. This is a kind of “primer” that contains iron particles which make the surface magnetically receptive. Then, an InvisiLock magnetic sheet is applied on top of the ActiveWall and the final display graphics — printed on the company’s MagnaMedia — stick to the InvisiLock. MagnaMedia graphics can be swapped out, layered and arrayed to create highly modular designs. MagnaMedia comprise an expanding collection of surfaces, such as chalkboard, dry-erase and other textures and effects.
Visual Magnetics has also launched a new line of InvisiLock-enabled three-dimensional objects. These objects — such as magnetic shelving — can be applied to a magnetically receptive surface and these fixtures themselves “skinned” with magnetic media.
Magnetic media can provide an easy to install and swap in and out, creatively modular display graphics solution.