Embracing a New Dimension
At Romo Durable Graphics, we pride ourselves on viewing the durable graphics process as our clients do. By using this simple question as a litmus test when developing recommendations: If we were decorating the product, is this the way we would do it?
There are times when the answer to that question leads to areas of expertise that don’t reside at Romo. If the project calls for something clearly outside the boundaries of what Romo can or would do well, we utilize our partnerships in the industry to locate the best landing spot for our customer. That happens frequently with In-mold decorating. Recently an engineer in the container industry inquired about using in mold in place of hot stamping. We felt the application was best served with a high resolution, semi-durable graphic and referred the engineer to sources that were more well-equipped to execute it.
The challenge comes when our client’s desired outcome involves technology that fits Romo well but doesn’t reside in the walls of the building–if at all. These are wonderful Discovery opportunities for our team. Sales, service, art, research/development, procurement, ink technicians, and operations work together to create a durable graphic tailored to fit the exact needs of the application. This happens continuously at Romo. Some projects involve small tweaks to current products (using a new metallic flake to impart a different sparkle), while others represent a more radical departure (embedded electronics that make the graphic ‘come alive’).
A few ideas get “parked.” These are great opportunities that we just aren’t ready to implement. Such is the case with dimensional graphics.
Dimensional graphics go by multiple names, but share one thing in common–they aren’t flat. Think car emblems. Dimensional graphics certainly fit into the durable category. It’s a common way to add class and substance to a brand.
Many of our clients use domes. Domes are standard decals with a thick lens on the top. The method used to create the domes involves strategically placing a two part urethane in liquid form on the top of a graphic. Over the course of about an hour, the urethane hardens to form the clear lens.
The finished parts are very nice looking! Romo has sold domes for years. We do everything in house, except the urethane process which involves solvents that go against our desire to drive all solvents out of our manufacturing process. Tempting as it has been, when we bounce such an opportunity off our values, the values always win. In addition, we found the technology to be too limiting in terms of design. We attempted a variety of work arounds but were not able to bring something to market we thought worthy of our customers’ products.
About a year ago we came across a technology that fits exactly what we had been looking for–the ability to create a dimensional part without the problems inherent to the various processes used to produce them. There are few design limitations. We have the freedom to create graphics that look like metal, can be formed in a variety of shapes without huge startup costs, and offer unlimited color/ink options – just like our graphics today.
We are very excited about offering our clients the ability to create high-end dimensional graphics at a great value. We will be in full Discovery mode over the next few months with a goal is to be in full production for the 2nd half of the year.
Romo Durable Graphics is among only a handful of companies that offer this technology in the United States. As exciting as the technology is, we realize it’s only as good as the hands that put it to use. The best art supplies in the world don’t make one a great artist. Applying natural curiosity to build our skills will be focus–all in the name of assisting our customers in creating the masterpieces that are their products.