Miamisburg, OH (USA), February 2015 – With the purchase of an Esko Kongsberg i-XP24 digital finishing table, Kelly Signs’ business is being transformed, and the company is taking on more and different jobs than it ever imagined.
Creating any kind of non-electric sign
Kelly Signs is one of the largest sign companies of its kind in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario and an integral part of a major sign organization that has been operating successfully since 1947. Creating high impact, cost-effective signs what Kelly Signs is all about. They produce just about any kind of sign imaginable: real estate and construction signs, trade show displays, banners and vehicle graphics to storefront and building signs, pylon signs and channel letters. Kelly Signs even has a business unit dedicated solely for large, electrical signs. The company has built its sign business by delivering exceptional customer service, working with the latest technologies, and assuring attention to detail, superior products and competitive pricing. The company operates two silkscreen presses and two digital flatbed inkjet printers, along with a roll-fed digital printer. “This is why Kelly Signs has grown into one of the largest real estate sign and full service sign companies around,” asserts Mark Steinberg, General Manager, Kelly Signs.
In the past, when Kelly Signs needed to cut materials, they either outsourced the work or did it by hand. “We had been thinking about investing in a digital finishing table for about three or four years,” remembers Steinberg. “Many years ago, when we were exclusively printing with silkscreen presses, we had purchased a large guillotine cutting table. The majority of our work required square cuts on coroplast, and we could cut that material with no problem at all. Other jobs with different shapes or materials were either outsourced, or we used a band saw, jigsaw or other tools. Cutting a 4x8-foot plywood starburst could take as long as an hour. We could not necessarily justify the cost of a digital finishing table based on the other tools and work we had, but over time we felt that in order to grow our business and take it to the next level, it was time to move forward”.
Kelly Signs decided to look for a digital finishing table that would have the versatility from using different tools as well as working on a variety of cutting materials—along with speed and quality. “We wanted something that would do everything we threw at it, from vinyl to basically all substrates,” says Steinberg.
The Kongsberg i-XP 24: Transforming Kelly Signs’ business
After a thorough search, they decided on a Kongsberg i-XP24 table, based on the quality and the versatility and options it had. In the two months they have owned the Kongsberg i-XP 24 table, it has transformed Kelly Signs’ business. The contour cuts that used to take them 45 minutes by hand now take 45 seconds—and it gives them a much nicer finish. “We have been most surprised by the speed,” says Steinberg. “I knew it was fast, but I did not really understand how fast until I really saw it cutting. Often, someone on the floor will tell us to stop by quickly to see how well the machine works on a particular job. Many times, when we get to the machine, they say, ‘Sorry, you're too late!’ When asked to make a full size figure of Mike Holmes, Canada’s residential home improvement contractor and television show host for a trade show display needed in two days, we had it cut out within minutes, whereas before we would have had to cut the image by hand with a knife, and it would have taken hours to complete.”
Not only is the Kongsberg i-XP 24 having a considerable effect on productivity; it’s also having a big effect on new business because of the breadth of work the Kongsberg table will do. There are many diverse projects for which the Kongsberg table has been a useful tool for Kelly Signs. For example, they often produce advertising rink boards for the NHL, which are printed two-up. They use the table’s router to make a quality cut in half on the digitally printable material endorsed by the NHL. “We also produce signs in the shape of a shield or other shapes for real estate companies. What used to take us a couple of hours now takes minutes on the Kongsberg table,” adds Steinberg.
“The Kongsberg i-XP24 table is an unbelievable tool that is taking our business to the next level,” wraps up Steinberg. “Our cutting is so much faster and we’ve got pretty much every option. Having a router along with all our other tools opens markets we never would have dreamed of.”