In an interview with signweb.com, posted 8-13-2012, Casey Brookbush (Account Executive at Rainier) discusses how Rainier has adapted to maintain its success:
What applications for digital printing are currently trending as the most popular?
Anything new and unusual! Any mom-and-pop signshop can print a banner or vehicle wrap these days. So, we try to do much more. We’re doing a lot of direct print to reclaimed wood, direct to fabric on our new Durst RhoTex 320 printer, and direct to metal and acrylic/Lexan polycarbonate. Curiously, many of our retail customers have been seeking dimensional displays, and many of our environmental-graphics customers have been looking to use more large-format (2D) displays on different substrates. The most popular trend I have observed recently would be direct print to acrylics, with both first- and second-surface graphics, with precision, contour-cut shapes. We have also seen a lot of direct printing to corrugated and non-uniform (flat) materials. The more unusual it is, the more fun we have with the project!
What developments in ink formulations are having the most impact for your business?
Durst inks have always had great adhesion characteristics – and they just keep getting better. Additionally, being 100% solvent-free definitely helps our eco-friendly initiatives – no stinky printing!
To what extent are “green” considerations impacting your business?
We always strive to be environmentally sustainable – thus our ISO 14000 certification. Now buyers are asking for green alternatives that don’t blow their budgets. The cost efficiency/green balance has been catching up recently, but there is still much room for growth in the realm of PVC-free vinyl and fire-retardant sheet/fabric materials. Because this is part of everything we do, it’s not a shock to our system to incorporate these requests, and we’re a step ahead. We love that more buyers are asking for it.
What substrate developments are the most important to your business?
Green materials that are cost competitive with traditional substrates.
How much does a Presidential election year boost your sales?
I don’t think it affects us at all.
What other technological innovations have helped improve your business the most?
Automated cutting. Our new Zund 10-ft.-wide cutter is amazing in what it can do. It’s a great fabric cutter, and it can produce braille signs. This ability helps our unique position in both the retail and high-volume, large-format printing market, and with code-required architectural signage and environmental graphics.
How important is vehicle wrapping for your business, compared to a couple years ago?
We do vehicle wraps on a regular basis for our existing customers and some larger fleet jobs. The market is a little saturated here, and, therefore, it is sometimes tough to be competitive.
How has the availability of credit impacted any desired capital investments?
We have been extremely lucky to have a very solid financial situation, so we have been able to acquire new equipment as needed. In fact, we’re setting up our new Durst Rho P-10 this week. We have certainly had customers who require specific payment terms, but, for the most part, we haven’t had too much trouble here.
I feel that our diversity is what really sets us apart from most of our competitors. Not many companies can print our quality and volume, while also fabricating in wood, metal, plastics, fabric, illumination, etc. Our ability to manufacture everything in-house definitely helps us to provide solutions that not many others can provide. Everything we do is custom!