By Andrew Muir, CEO, Muir Omni Graphics
Decades of change have revolutionized the industrial graphics industry. Gone are traditional job shops that followed a simple “quote-order-produce-ship” business model. In their place are highly technical, process-driven operations—including many Six Sigma and ISO-certified firms—focused on production quality, environmental safety, and craftsmanship.
Quick and inexpensive, digital printing is now the production method of choice for most marketing and sales literature (replacing offset printing) and billboards and point-of-purchase materials (replacing screen printing). Digital technology does have its limitations, however, particularly when it comes to quality, longevity, and color-matching capabilities.
That’s why screen-printing is still at the heart of the industrial graphics business. The only viable solution for a number of applications, screen printing’s unique combination of highly pigmented ink and coating withstands direct sunlight and weather conditions for many years. No other solution matches its weather-ability and only very limited technologies enable printing on thick materials or aluminum. It likely will be many years before a cost-effective alternative is developed.
Still, digital and screen-printing technologies are on a collision course, since OEMs today expect the best attributes of both—quality, longevity, speed, and price—and prefer to work with fewer suppliers who can deliver on all these requirements. That’s why many industrial graphics manufacturers have purchased and are testing various types of digital output equipment, direct-to-screen printers, and other cutting-edge technologies, integrating what works into the production process.
Manufacturers will have plenty of new options to choose from in the coming years, all of which are designed to deliver more flexibility while keeping costs low.
As the industry continues to evolve, and as OEMs continue to push for more global, brand-friendly, and leaner solutions, industrial graphics manufacturers will need to remain vigilant about analyzing materials, technologies, and processes and eliminating waste—ensuring production of the highest-quality, longest-lasting, and most cost-effective materials.
Andrew Muir is a second-generation business owner and president of Muir Omni Graphics, an expert in industrial and fleet graphics. Muir has more than 50 years of experience providing turnkey production and management solutions for OEM markings and decals, fleet and corporate vehicle markings, corporate identity, control panels and fascias, warning labels and signage, and specialty graphics. The company serves the off-highway, construction, transportation, and farm equipment markets. More information is available at www.muirgraphics.com.
Visit us at this year’s Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association’s Spring Supply Summit & Showcase happening March 21st through 23rd in Sandestin, FL.
Client Relations Representative Trainee
Responsibilities at Muir Omni Graphics:
I collaborate with clients ensuring their orders are entered and shipped to their satisfaction. By adjusting their orders based on their needs, we can guarantee they are receiving the best quality.
Favorite Part of the Job:
My favorite part of my job is there’s always something new to learn, and something that I can improve on. There is a lot to learn in a new position, and my drive comes from perceiving every small success as a huge win.
“You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep weighing you down.” -Ziad K. Abdelnour
Hobbies Outside of Work:
In my free time I enjoy long scenic rides on my motorcycle, playing fetch with my 2 puppies (Bailey and Rosie), and keeping up on true crime podcasts and documentaries.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
As a kid, you could’ve thought my house was a zoo. The max number of pets we had in our house at one time was 38! We had cats, dogs, rabbits, turtles, a potty-mouth parrot with a beautiful singing voice, an albino king snake I used to wear around my neck, iguanas, ferrets, we even had baby raccoons for a short time… It was like a fun little welcome home party every time you walked in the door!